League standing: 18-3-5 Last week's ranking: Seventh. Manchester City squeezed out a 1-0 win over stingy Stoke last weekend to stay on Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s heels in the Premier League race. It’ll be the closest they’ll be for a few weeks due to scheduling. The Citizens will now postpone the league campaign and turn their attention to three straight cup ties; the League Cup final against Sunderland, an FA Cup rematch against Wigan, and the trip to Camp Nou for the return leg against Barcelona.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
League standing: 18-5-4. Last week's rankings: Ninth. The Gunners bounced back from the Bayern loss by trouncing lowly Sunderland, 4-1, with noted extrovert Olivier Giroud striking twice. A trip to Stoke is next on the docket, and Arsenal must beware of letting it become a trap game. They’ll need to keep the foot on the gas as the next murderer’s row of fixtures await: Everton, Bayern, Spurs, Chelsea, Man City, and Everton again. Oh boy.
Arsenal FC via Getty ImagesStuart MacFarlane
League standing: 13-3-6. Last week's ranking: Tenth. It seems like Dortmund just needed the Champions League to return before it could play like last year’s side again. Okay, so the loss to crisis club Hamburg was seriously weird. But the way BVB jumped all over Zenit in the Russian cold on Tuesday more than made up for that anomaly. Besides, it’s not as if the Bundesliga is still up for grabs. Time for Jurgen Klopp’s men to go on another deep run in the Champions League and to make sure they qualify for next year’s competition.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlex Grimm
League standing: 23-3-1. Last week's ranking: Eighth. The Serie A title seems a forgone conclusion at this point, and the road to a home final in the Europa League also seems well within Juve’s reach. However, in the Round of 16, they’ll face formidable Fiorentina, who beat them 4-2 in their first meeting this season. In fact, as fortune would have it, Juve now play La Viola three times in the next three weeks.
League standing: 18-6-3. Last week's ranking: Fifth. It was a tumultuous week for Chelsea, to say the least. John Terry kept the Blues atop the Premier League with a last-minute winner against Everton last weekend, but the good feelings subsided when Jose Mourinho’s media gaffe triggered a mini controversy regarding Samuel Eto’o’s real age. That’s never good. On Wednesday, despite scoring a vital away goal in Istanbul, Chelsea let Galatasaray off the hook with a draw to set up an intriguing second leg on Didier Drogba’s return to Stamford Bridge.
Getty ImagesJohn Berry
League standing: 19-3-3. Last week's ranking: Sixth. The Rojiblancos followed up their win at AC Milan with a stunning 3-0 loss at Osasuna. Now losers of four in their past six, Atletico find themselves in their worst stretch of the season. But there’s no rest for the weary: Real Madrid strolls into the Vicente Calderon this weekend riding a 27-game unbeaten streak. A home win over their city rivals could avenge a pair of one-sided losses in the Copa del Rey and serve as a much-needed confidence booster for the rest of the year.
Getty ImagesGonzalo Arroyo Moreno
League standing: 18-7-1. Last week's ranking: Fourth. PSG put up another four-spot on the scoreboard against Toulouse last weekend, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring another hat trick – his fourth of the season. Ibra now has six goals in his past three games. Two of PSG’s next three games in France are against Marseille and Saint-Etienne, providing perhaps the last hurdle en route to back-to-back Ligue 1 titles.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesDennis Grombkowski
League standing: 19-3-3. Last week's ranking: Second. Barcelona conceded control of La Liga with a 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad last weekend, and perhaps it was a bit self-inflicted. Why rest the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Xavi, Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves for Alex Song, Adriano, Marc Bartra, and Martin Montoya against a club that featured in the Champions League this season? Now three points behind red-hot Real Madrid, the Blaugrana will be rooting hard for Atletico -- who also slipped last weekend -- on Sunday.
Getty ImagesJuan Manuel Serrano Arce
League standing: 20-3-2. Last week's ranking: Third. After taking sole control in La Liga, Real made their case to be Bayern Munich’s number one rival in Europe this season with a 6-1 demolition over Schalke -- only their second win in Germany in 26 visits. Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all scored twice, and when those three are in such torrid form, it seems impossible to contain them all. Real have now won 17 of their past 18 and are undefeated in their past 27. Can Atletico put a halt to the streak this weekend?
League standing: 20-2-0. Last week's ranking: First. Here are Bayern’s numbers since the return of the Bundesliga in late January: Eight games, Eight wins, 26 goals for, one goal against. Any questions? While a visit from Schalke will hardly have Bayern shaking in their boots this weekend, the following three games could be potential stumbling blocks. A trip to Wolfsburg precedes home games against Arsenal and Bayer Leverkusen. You may laugh, but the last time Bayern lost in league play was at home to Leverkusen, in Oct. 2012.