After crashing out of the Champions League last week, perennial European underachievers Paris St-Germain hosts Marseille, the only French club to win Europe’s top tournament.
With a 17-point lead atop the French league, PSG have no real rival on the domestic stage and is poised to seal a sixth Ligue 1 title in seven years. But despite the huge amount of money invested by their Qatari owners, the Parisian side has never been able to match thier southern rival’s European record.
Known as “Le Classique,” the match between PSG and Marseille became popular during the 1990s. With Marseille no longer among the favourites for the title, that matchup has lost most of its interest in recent years. But with PSG still reeling from their shock elimination at the hands of Manchester United and Mario Balotelli back to his best, Sunday’s night match at the Parc des Princes has more spice.
Balotelli has scored five goals in seven games to help Marseille get back in contention for the European places.
“As far as I’m concerned, Marseille is the biggest club in France,” Balotelli said.
In other matches, Monaco travel to second-place Lille and third-place Lyon hosts Montpellier in the wake of thier 5-1 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League.
Bayern Munich are back on top of the Bundesliga, but club bosses plan to clean out their ageing squad whose shortcomings were brutally exposed by Liverpool in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds dumped Bayern out of Europe on Wednesday with a deserved 3-1 aggregate win. “Bayern urgently need radical change to still challenge for titles,” Germany’s daily Bild said — the line-up which lost to Liverpool had an average age of 30.
A clean-out is coming anyway as wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, both 35, plus Brazilian right back Rafinha, 33, are out of contract in June.
“So it’s only right that Bayern attack again with Hernandez, Pavard, Hudson-Odoi and Werner,” continued Bild, specifying the players it feels Bayern need.
France’s World Cup-winning defender Benjamin Pavard, 22, has already signed to join Bayern from Stuttgart next season.
Bayern face Mainz on Sunday and may find themselves back in second place by then. Dortmund, who play Hertha Berlin away on Saturday without key midfielder Axel Witsel, are level with Bayern on 57 points, and behind in the title race only on goal difference.
Lucien Favre’s Dortmund face a showdown at the Allianz Arena on April 6, but for Bayern a seventh straight Bundesliga crown would be a consolation prize after flopping in Europe.
The two Milan clubs haven’t been in the Champions League together for seven years. The chances of that happening for the first time since the 2011-12 season would be boosted if Inter Milan beat their city rivals in Sunday’s Derby Della Madonnina.
AC’s five-match winning run has seen them move up to third, a point above Inter, who have won one of their past three league matches.
Mauro Icardi scored an injury time winner when Inter beat Milan 1-0 back in October but there is little chance he will repeat that feat on Sunday.
Icardi has not played in more than a month, since being stripped of his captaincy amid protracted contract negotiations. The 26-year-old Icardi has said he has a knee injury, although the club has said that tests have not revealed any particular problem.
A loss for Inter on Sunday, coupled with a victory for Roma at relegation-threatened SPAL earlier in the day, would leave the two teams level on points.
Juventus can extend their lead to 21 points with a victory over Genoa on Sunday, with second-place Napoli not playing Udinese until the evening.
Zinedine Zidane’s second stint as Real Madrid coach begins on Saturday with a home match against a Celta Vigo team who have dropped into the relegation zone after nine losses in their last 11 matches.
Zidane is back at the helm nine months after he led Madrid to a third straight Champions League title. The former player returned this week to replace Santiago Solari, who was released after the team were eliminated from the Copa del Rey and the Champions League and saw their Spanish league title hopes virtually end.
Madrid are 12 points behind league leaders Barcelona and five points behind second-place Atletico Madrid.
Barca visit Real Betis on Sunday. Atletico, trying to regroup from their loss to Juventus in the Champions League, play at Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Atletico’s only shot at a trophy is in the league, a competition they last won in 2014.
Ligue 1: Saturday Angers v Amiens, Nimes v Strasbourg, Lyon v Montpellier, Guingamp v Dijon, Caen v St-Etienne (all 11pm); Sunday Lyon v Montpellier (5.30pm), Reims v Nantes, Bordeaux v Rennes (both 6pm), PSG v Marseille (midnight)
Bundesliga: Friday Borussia v Freiburg, 11.30pm; Saturday Schalke v RB Leipzig, Stuttgart v Hoffenheim, Augsburg v Hannover, Wolfsburg v Fortuna Duesseldorf, Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund (all 9.30pm); Sunday Bayer Leverkusen v Werder Bremen (4.30pm), Eintracht Frankfurt v Nuremberg, Bayern Munich v Mainz (both 9pm)
Serie A: Saturday Sassuolo v Sampdoria (6pm), SPAL V Roma (9pm), Torino v Bologna (11.30pm); Sunday Genoa v Juventus (3.30pm), Atalanta v Chievo, Empoli v Frosinone, Lazio v Parma (all 6pm), Napoli v Udinese (9pm), AC Milan v Inter Milan (11.30pm)
La Liga: Saturday Huesca v Alaves (4pm), Real Madrid v Celta Vigo (7.15pm), Athletic Bilbao v Atletico Madrid (9.30pm), Leganes v Girona (11.45pm);
Sunday Eibar v Real Valladolid (3pm), Espanyol v Sevilla (7.15pm), Valencia v Getafe (9.30pm), Villarreal v Rayo Vallecano (9.30pm), Real Betis v Barcelona (11.45pm)