|Real Madrid's French coach Zinedine Zidane leads a training session of his team at the Olympiyskiy stadium in Kiev on November 30, 2020 on the eve of the UEFA Champions League football match between Shakhtar Donetsk and Real Madrid.(Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP) |
AFP Sport previews the standout football action on the continent this weekend:
- Zidane in the firing line -
Sevilla v Real Madrid, Saturday 1515 GMT
The headline on the front of sports daily Marca on Thursday -- alongside a picture of Zidane -- read simply "9D", Spanish shorthand for December 9. That is when Real Madrid host Borussia Moenchengladbach with a place in the Champions League last 16 at stake, and Zidane may not survive if they are eliminated.
Real's European future is on the line after Tuesday's 2-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, their fifth defeat in 11 games.
Zidane's position will be even more fragile if Real fail to beat Sevilla. They have taken just one point from the last nine available in La Liga to fall seven points behind leaders Real Sociedad, albeit with a game in hand.
Madrid have lost on six of their last eight visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, although it will be a different experience with no fans present and fifth-placed Sevilla are reeling after losing 4-0 to Chelsea in midweek.
- Derby boost for Juve? -
Juventus v Torino, Saturday 1700 GMT
Reigning champions Juventus will look to extend their unbeaten start to the Serie A season under new coach Andrea Pirlo when they face Torino in the "Derby della Mole".
Juve are through to the Champions League last 16 but have not yet truly convinced. Last week Pirlo's side could only draw 1-1 at Benevento, but Torino could be the perfect next opponents.
After all, Torino are 18th after just one win in nine games so far. And they have beaten their city rivals just once in 25 years.
- Top two clash in Bundesliga -
Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig, Saturday 1730 GMT
Leipzig might have wished for an easy weekend before their decisive Champions League clash with Manchester United but instead Julian Nagelsmann's side must take on Bayern.
It is first against second in the Bundesliga with Bayern two points clear of Leipzig, who are one of only two teams to have avoided defeat at the Allianz Arena in the last year having drawn 0-0 there in February.
But while Bayern were able to rest players for their Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid, Leipzig needed a stoppage-time goal from Alexander Sorloth to beat Istanbul Basaksehir.
Given they will need to beat United on Tuesday to be sure of reaching the last 16, this game may have come at the worst possible time for Leipzig.
- Famous double for Cadiz? -
Cadiz v Barcelona, Saturday 2000 GMT
Newly-promoted Cadiz have already beaten Real Madrid this season, and now they are dreaming of getting the better of Barcelona.
The Catalans go to the Ramon de Carranza stadium with Lionel Messi set to return after being rested against Ferencvaros in the Champions League, although all the talk has still been about the Argentine with Neymar expressing his desire for the duo to play together again.
Right now that seems unlikely to be in Barcelona, who have struggled in La Liga since Messi was forced to stay.
They are seventh, 10 points behind leaders Real Sociedad and one behind Cadiz, albeit with two games in hand.
However, Cadiz have struggled to build on that win in Madrid and Barca may be facing them at the right time.
- PSG under pressure? -
Montpellier v Paris Saint-Germain, Saturday 2000 GMT
Paris Saint-Germain's 3-1 win at Manchester United, with two Neymar goals, rescued their Champions League campaign, but the French champions remain under some pressure in Ligue 1.
Having taken just one point from their last two games the leaders have allowed the chasing pack to close in, and Lille, Lyon, Monaco and Montpellier are all just two points behind.
Thomas Tuchel's team go to Montpellier hoping to make a statement to the rest of France rather than offer any more encouragement to their domestic rivals.