As the soccer seasons start to hit the home stretch, the fixtures becoming increasingly intriguing. There are rivalry clashes, relegation scraps and a whole lot more. Entering the weekend, what do you need to know?
Here are 7 things to keep an eye on:
Liguilla race heating up in Liga MX
With just three matchdays left, the room for spots in Liga MX's Liguilla is filling up. Atlas and Pachuca are currently the last two teams in the standings to make the cut, and, wouldn't you know it, they square off on Saturday. With three teams behind Atlas and Pachuca within two points, there's plenty of room for movement before the Clausura ends. But with three matchdays left, time is at a premium. Pachuca and Atlas could go a long way to securing their spot with a win.
Ligue 1 still up for grabs
It's a dead heat between Monaco and PSG for the Ligue 1 title, although Monaco boast a game in hand on the Parisians. Both sides have 77 points heading into the weekend and scraped out narrow win in their previous Ligue 1 contests. Monaco have a tougher test with their Sunday trip to Lyon, plus PSG could pile on pressure if they knocked off Montpellier the day before. Still alive in the Champions League, Monaco still have a chance at winning an unlikely double. They could also win neither title. It's crunch time in the soccer world.
EPL teams running out of time to avoid relegation
While it's never as exciting as a title race (which the Premier League certainly has now), the relegation fight is really coming into shape in the Premier League. Sunderland are dead last and won't have a chance to remedy that this weekend with their match postponed. The other three relegation candidates, Boro (19th), Swansea (18th) and Hull (17th) all feature this weekend. Any number of outcomes could shake up the relegation fight and all three of those teams will kick off their matches early on Saturday. There will be no opportunity to scoreboard-watch, they'll just have to handle business on their own.
Dortmund & Hoffenheim's battle for UCL spot
This season's Champions League dream might have just ended for BVB, but there's already next season to look forward to. Dortmund and Hoffenheim are locked in a battle to automatically qualify for the group stage, with Hoffenheim leading BVB by just a single point. Hoffenheim, currently the third-place team, visit Koln early on Friday, while Dortmund take on Gladbach on Saturday. The good news for the UCL-hopefuls, even the fourth-place team will qualify ... but they'll have to take the longer route through a playoff.
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Bastian Schweinsteiger's first away match with Fire
The German import has been better than anyone could have expected since his move from Man United to the Fire. He's notched two goals in his three games, from which the Fire have earned seven points out of a possible nine. It's still early, but his addition seems to have the Fire cooking at the moment. The question is, how will he perform on the road? His first away trip will be a doozy, visiting MLS Cup runners-up Toronto FC on Friday. It will be a good litmus test for Schweinsteiger.
Blue-bloods in the FA Cup semifinals
The Premier League loses a bit of luster this weekend with the FA Cup taking center stage and, along with it, four of the top six teams. Saturday's semifinal is the headliner, where Chelsea will host Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in a battle of the last realistic remaining EPL title challengers. The Blues are coming off of a humbling loss at Man United and Spurs would relish the chance to keep their rivals' psyches damaged. Arsenal and Man City feature in the other semifinal on Sunday. With both of them out of the title hunt, keeping their trophy hopes alive in the FA Cup takes on extra importance. Wembley Stadium will be popping.
The creme de la creme of club rivalries: El Clasico. Barcelona's Champions League dreams were dashed by Juventus, so the Blaugrana will have additional incentive when they visit the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday. The Merengues have a three-point cushion and a match in hand, but Barca could really turn the screws on their rivals with a result. That's easier said than done, of course, especially when it comes to El Clasico. Barcelona's task will be made even harder now that Neymar is almost certain to miss out after the Spanish FA rejected his suspension appeal. On the Madrid side, Gareth Bale returned to training on Thursday. If he plays, he could provide a big boost for Real.