Domestic football will be in full swing across the top European leagues this weekend. Here are five things to keep an eye out for.
Real seek redemption
Real Madrid will be looking to turn the corner in La Liga this weekend when they play Real Valladolid at the Bernabeu. A disastrous start to the season for the three-time defending European champions has seen them lose significant ground to Barcelona in the title race. A 5-1 defeat by their main rivals last weekend marked the end of the road for manager Julen Lopetegui, who had only been appointed over the summer.
Caretaker boss Santiago Solari released the shackles from the Real players as they romped to a 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Segunda B side Melilla on Wednesday night. A win over Valladolid is almost necessary if Los Blancos are to steady their season and regain some form.
Neymar on his best behaviour
The last few weeks have not been the best for Paris Saint Germain’s Brazilian superstar Neymar. After being rested for the Ligue 1 tie against Amiens two weeks ago, he has since failed to find the net in two games against Napoli and Marseille. While it would be a huge overstatement to call that a drought, he will be wary of going on a run without getting on the score sheet.
More pertinently, however, are the revelations in recent days that Spanish authorities could impose a prison sentence of up to six years on him following alleged irregularities in his 2013 transfer from Santos to Barcelona. PSG face Lille – their closest rivals in the league – this weekend and Neymar will attempt to keep all his attention on getting back among the goals.
Goal-fest in Berlin?
For punters who love their “Over” markets, there might be few better places to cast your eyes this weekend than the Bundesliga clash between Hertha Berlin and RB Leipzig. The last three matches between the two sides have produced a total of 18 goals, including the 6-2 thriller that ended in Leipzig’s favour back in May.
Beware Inter Milan
Inter Milan’s determined revival continued apace when they put in an impressive performance to beat a very strong Lazio side 3-0 in Serie A on Monday. That result lifted them to second place in the standings, just six points behind leaders Juventus. The Nerrazurri have also looked the part on their return to the Champions League for the first time in six years this season.
The appointment of Luciano Spalletti as manager at the beginning of last season appears to have galvanised the sleeping giant. The big sides in Italy and Europe at large will now have their eye on the developments taking place at the San Siro.
Henry to finally get going?
Thierry Henry has led Monaco to two consecutive draws since he was appointed as manager of the club. This is far from a perfect start, but he can at least take comfort from the fact that he has brought an end to what had been a demoralising five-game losing streak.
Les Monégasques take on Reims this weekend, as Henry looks to finally bag the first three points of his managerial career.