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 8 things to keep an eye on:
Bayern can clinch the Bundesliga
While it's mostly just ceremonial at this point, Bayern can lock up their fifth consecutive Bundesliga title over the weekend. The Bavarian giants only have the domestic trophy to add to their collection this year after crashing out of the Champions League and German cup. A win against Wolfsburg coupled with RB Leipzig being held without a win would give Bayern the trophy. If it doesn't happen Saturday, it's only a matter of time for Bayern.
Will the La Liga title come into focus?
The race for the La Liga title looks to go down to the wire as Barcelona and Real Madrid are still neck-and-neck. They're tied with 78 points, although Real Madrid still have a match in hand. Both face tricky matches this weekend, too. Real Madrid host Valencia early on Saturday, while Barca travel to Espanyol in a derby match. The two title-hopefuls are odds-on favorites to win their matches, but who knows what can happen? It's been a crazy La Liga season to this point, why stop now?
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Derby della Capitale
There's always fireworks (and not necessarily the good kind) when Roma and Lazio meet, which is why it makes sense the match has such an early scheduled kickoff time (6 a.m. ET). That allows less time for the vitriolic fan bases to get rowdy ahead of the match. There are Champions League implications in play here, but those will take a back seat to the derby atmosphere overall. As it stands, second-place Roma are four points ahead of Napoli, with Lazio behind Napoli by seven points in fourth. Roma have enjoyed the better run of recent success in the derby, but Lazio do have a win this year from their Coppa Italia meeting.
America and Atlas can boost their Liguilla hopes
Time is running out for teams to reach the Liga MX Liguilla. Club America and Atlas could put their best foot forward with a result when the two meet on Saturday. America sit in sixth place but took a loss last time out, while Atlas are unbeaten in their last five outings. With only a few weeks remaining to advance to the next round of the Mexican calendar, each match — and point — is precious.
Hamburg hanging on for dear life
Hamburg have never been relegated from the Bundesliga, but their luck might be running out. A win against fellow relegation-battlers Augsburg on Sunday (9:30 a.m. ET on FS1), would give Hamburg some much-needed breathing room. The same can be said of Augsburg, who trail Hamburg by just a point in 16th, which would see them in the relegation playoff if the season ended right now. There's a lot at stake down at the bottom of the German table, that's for sure.
Stars square off in MLS
Two of MLS's marquee players battle on Friday as Toronto FC host Houston Dynamo on Friday night. Sebastian Giovinco, the 2015 MLS MVP, will take on Erick "Cubo" Torres, who has been on fire for the Dynamo to start the season. Torres has seven goals already this season, including two game-winners, leading Dynamo to a 4-2-1 record. The 2016 MLS Cup runners-up haven't enjoyed quite as much success to start the season, posting a 2-1-4 record. The stars will be out on Friday, though.
Chelsea face a potential banana skin in Everton
The Blues are still favorites to take home the Premier League title, but Tottenham are nipping right at their heels. Chelsea's four-point cushion could be cut down to one by the end of the weekend, but a result against Everton would go a long way to sealing their trophy charge. That's easier said than done, especially at Goodison Park. The Blues will have to snap an eight-game winning streak for the Toffees at their home ground if they're to secure all three points. Everton can really shake up the title race if they keep their winning streak alive.
North London derby
It's not all smooth sailing for Spurs, though. They realistically can't afford to drop any points the rest of the way if they're going to leapfrog Chelsea for the title. One of their biggest challenges awaits Sunday, when Arsenal come to White Hart Lane. Chelsea play earlier in the day, so Spurs will already know if the Blues kept pace or left the door open. Arsenal, who still have the slimmest of shots at a Champions League spot, would certainly relish the opportunity to squash their rivals' title dreams.
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