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ViestiLähetetty: 18.02.2005, 19:43 
Status: JäsenLiittynyt: 02.03.2003, 13:00Viestit: 1681Paikkakunta: Turku
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Arsenal v Sheff Utd
Arsenal are expected to leave out Thierry Henry (Achilles) and rest captain Patrick Vieira but Freddie Ljungberg is set to return.

The Gunners already have left-back Ashley Cole (flu), Sol Campbell (ankle) and Edu (hamstring) out.

Sheffield United will be without defender Chris Morgan, who starts a two-match ban after being sent off against West Ham last week.

Paul Shaw and Phil Jagielka should both shake off knocks in time to play.

Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Almunia, Lauren, Eboue, Pires, Ljungberg, Reyes, Bergkamp, Van Persie, Fabregas, Flamini, Cygan, Clichy, Toure, Henry, Vieira, Senderos, Hoyte.

Bolton v Fulham
Bolton's Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te is pushing for a place while Khalilou Fadiga could be recalled.

Nicky Hunt is back in contention following an ankle ligament injury but Radhi Jaidi has been ruled out after suffering a knock in training.

Fulham's Claus Jensen will play some part after successfully negotiating his extra-time appearance against Derby after several weeks out injured.

Alain Goma played the second half of the 4-2 win and could start.

Bolton (from): Jaaskelainen, Barness, Ben Haim, N'Gotty, Gardner, Okocha, Campo, Speed, Giannakopoulos, Davies, Nolan, Diouf, Hunt, Vaz Te, Poole, Fadiga, Pedersen, Hierro, Candela.

Fulham (from): Van der Sar, Volz, Rosenior, Knight, Rehman, Bocanegra, Clark, Bouba Diop, Pembridge, Radzinski, Cole, Boa Morte, Crossley, Legwinski, McBride, John, Jensen, Goma.

Charlton v Leicester
Charlton hope to have Bryan Hughes, Jerome Thomas, Jonathan Fortune, Francis Jeffers and Mark Fish fit after a fortnight without a game.

However, striker Kevin Lisbie will not be available for selection as he starts the first game of a three-match ban.

Leicester are expected to recall Gareth Williams (hamstring), while defenders Matt Heath and Alan Maybury have both recovered from illness.

But Jason Wilcox, Lee Morris, Nathan Blake and Tommy Wright are all out.

Charlton (from): Kiely, Hreidarsson, Young, Perry, El Karkouri, Fish, Fortune, Holland, Murphy, Hughes, Konchesky, Kishishev, Rommedahl, Thomas, Jeffers, Bartlett, Andersen, Euell, Johansson, Sam.

Everton v Man Utd
Everton are without suspended duo James Beattie and Tim Cahill, while injured Steve Watson and Li Tie are still out.

There are doubts over Duncan Ferguson (back), James McFadden (thigh) and Leon Osman (knee), but Tony Hibbert returns.

Manchester United include Ruud van Nistelrooy in the squad for the first time in three months following the Dutchman's Achilles problem.

Alan Smith (ankle) and Louis Saha (hamstring) are included, with Wayne Rooney set to start.

Evertron (from): Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Yobo, Pistone, Naysmith, Kilbane, Carsley, McFadden, Osman, Bent, Ferguson, Arteta, Plessis, Wright, Gerrard, Fox.

Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard, G Neville, P Neville, Brown, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Saha, Smith, Bellion, Miller.

Southampton v Brentford
Southampton striker Kevin Phillips is fit again after an ankle injury and challenging Peter Crouch and Henri Camara for a starting place.

Cup-tied Nigel Quashie is set to be replaced by Matt Oakley, with Jamie Redknapp and Graeme Le Saux rested.

Stuart Nelson will continue in goal for Brentford in place of Ademole Bankole, who is cup-tied.

However, midfielders Jamie Lawrence (knee) and Kevin O'Connor (foot) are both doubtful for the Bees.

Southampton (from): Smith; Telfer, Davenport, Lundekvam, Bernard, Prutton, Oakley, Delap, Le Saux, Camara, Crouch, Phillips, Higginbotham, Le Saux, McCann, Jakobsson, Kenton, Cranie, Blayney.

Burnley v Blackburn
Burnley manager Steve Cotterill is expected to make a couple of changes for the Lancashire FA Cup derby.

Ian Moore and Gary Cahill are expected to return to the starting line-up after the pair were named on the bench for the midweek game against Crewe.

Blackburn are expected to field the same side which romped to a 3-0 win over Norwich at Ewood Park last week.

The only doubt is Dominic Matteo, who is struggling with a hamstring injury and missed the Norwich game.

Blackburn (from): Friedel, Enckelman, Todd, Johansson, Emerton, Thompson, Stead, Neill, Matteo, Savage, Pedersen, Gallagher, Tugay, Dickov, Douglas, Nelson, Amoruso, Mokoena, McEveley, Bothroyd, Flitcroft, Johnson.

Newcastle v Chelsea
Newcastle's Celestine Babayaro (knee) limped off during the Uefa Cup win in Heerenveen but is hopeful of being fit.

Jean-Alain Boumsong (back), Kieron Dyer (virus) and Nicky Butt (ankle) face late fitness checks, but Lee Bowyer and Amdy Faye are both suspended.

Chelsea's Didier Drogba (groin) is out and John Terry will also miss the game through suspension, with Ricardo Carvalho set to replace him.

Frank Lampard may be rested, while Jiri Jarosik could replace him.

Newcastle (from): Given,Caig, Carr, Babayaro, Hughes, Taylor, Boumsong, Bramble, O'Brien, Ramage, Dyer, Jenas, Robert, Butt, Ambrose, Milner, N'Zogbia, Shearer, Ameobi, Kluivert.

Chelsea (from): Cudicini, Cech, Pidgeley, Ferreira, Johnson, Bridge, Gallas, Carvalho, Watt, Nuno Morais, Makelele, Geremi, Smertin, Jarosik, Tiago, Duff, J Cole, Kezman, Gudjohnsen.

Tottenham v Nottm Forest
Tottenham striker Mido is set to make his FA Cup debut, but former Forest players Andy Reid and Michael Dawson are both Cup tied for the contest.

Anthony Gardner (knee) is out while Sean Davis (knee) is two weeks away.

Nottingham Forest are without banned keeper Paul Gerrard so on-loan Colin Doyle will deputise, while Adam Nowland (hamstring) is still out injured.

David Friio is Cup-tied and Shaun Derry has joined Leeds, but Darren Powell will play in central midfield.

Tottenham (from): Robinson, Cerny, Pamarot, Edman, King, Naybet, Atouba, Davies, Marney, Kelly, Brown, Carrick, Mido, Keane, Defoe, Kanoute, Mendes, Bunjevcevic.

Preston v Ipswich
Preston may recall Paul McKenna to the starting line-up after the midfielder came on as a second-half substitute in last week's 2-1 win at QPR.
But American winger Eddie Lewis must serve a one-match ban following his sending off at Loftus Road.

Ipswich's Kevin Horlock should be fit but is likely to start on the bench, while on-loan striker James Scowcroft will replace the injured Shefki Kuqi.

Out-of-favour Spanish striker Pablo Counago will again not be considered.

Brighton v Sunderland
Brighton captain Charlie Oatway completes a three-match ban so Alexis Nicolas is likely to deputise alongside Richard Carpenter.
Chris McPhee is not fit for this game, and Ben Roberts is out for eight weeks after an accident in training.

Sunderland are unchanged and have striker Michael Bridges back after illness but are expected to stick to Marcus Stewart and Stephen Elliott.

Carl Robinson has a sore foot but is expected to be available

Reading v Coventry
Martin Keown could return to the Reading squad after knee injury kept him out of the defeat at Leeds.
Dave Kitson is making progress in his recovery from the knee injury that has kept him out of the side since December but is unlikely to feature this time.

Coventry's new signings Trevor Benjamin and Ian Bennett are likely to make their debuts at Reading.

On-loan Christian Negouai has gone back to Manchester City for treatment on an injury and Stephen Hughes is a doubt.

Rotherham v Derby
Rotherham have no new injury worries to contend with ahead of Saturday's visit of Derby.
Martin McIntosh and Rob Scott remain the only absentees, but are close to returning to full training.

Chris Makin is expected to make his Derby debut, with Paul Boertien (knee), Richard Jackson (groin) and Jamie Vincent (calf) all absent.

Tom Huddlestone returns from a one-game ban and is likely to replace Michael Johnson who has a knee ligament injury

Wolves v Gillingham
Wolves captain Paul Ince is suspended and there are doubts over Mark Kennedy (Achilles) and Mark Clyde (knee).
Rob Edwards is likely to cover if Clyde is not fit, and Dean Sturridge and Joachim Bjorklund are available.

Gillingham will be without goalkeeper Jason Brown as he faces two weeks out with a thigh strain, so Steve Banks is likely to continue in his place.

Chris Hope and Mamady Sidibe are still not fit but Danny Spiller and Matthew Jarvis are on the comeback trail

Wigan v Leeds
Emerson Thome is Wigan's only injury doubt after being forced off against Crewe last week with what looked like a hamstring injury.
Former Everton defender Matt Jackson, who replaced him in that game, stands by to deputise for him.

Leeds are likely to name an unchanged line-up for the promotion clash with Wigan after beating Reading last week.

Midfielder Seth Johnson is available and Shaun Derry is included after joining from Crystal Palace.

Millwall v Stoke
Millwall's David Livermore is suspended and midfielders Paul Ifill (ankle) and Peter Sweeney (knee) are still out.
On-loan goalkeeper Graham Stack is out with a knee injury and boss Dennis Wise will have to decide whether to have a spare goalkeeper on the bench.

Stoke will be without Ade Akinbiyi, who is set to join Sheffield United, and John Halls, Wayne Thomas, Marcus Hall and John Eustace are all injured.

Clive Clarke, Gerry Taggart and Carl Asaba are suspended

West Ham v Plymouth
West Ham winger Luke Chadwick is out for a month after tearing a hamstring at Sheffield United but Matthew Etherington (groin) may return.
Gavin Williams is still out with an ankle problem, striker Sergei Rebrov could return and fellow striker Bobby Zamora is back after a foot injury.

Argyle skipper Paul Wotton is suspended but midfielder Steve Adams is back and Paul Connolly's ban has finished.

Lee Hodges and Steven Milne are making progress but are unlikely to play.

Barnsley v Bournemouth
Michael Chopra returns after serving his one-match ban to spearhead the Barnsely attack, while Stephen McPhail is also back from suspension
Skipper Tony Vaughan (hip) is nearing full fitness but Nicky Wroe is a doubt after taking a knock recently.

Bournemouth will be without captain Karl Broadhurst, who has had surgery on a hernia problem.

Meanwhile, defender Stephen Purches is doubtful for the trip to Oakwell because of a groin problem

Huddersfield v Blackpool
Huddersfield youngster John McAliskey is set to lead the line with injuries ruling outAndy Booth and Junior Mendes. Pawel Abbott is also suspended.
Lee Fowler is unlikely to feature after being placed on the transfer list, opening the door for Michael Collins, who has been named in the squad.

Blackpool's John Murphy could be back in action after a knee injury.

Keigan Parker, Zarko Grabovac and Simon Lynch are also available but Lynch's loan spell ends after Saturday's game

Bradford v Luton
Bradford midfielder Tierney, on loan from Manchester United, has been ruled out after suffering a hamstring injury.
Striker Michael Symes (hernia) is back in contention but defender Darren Holloway (calf) and midfielder Tom Kearney (hernia) remain sidelined.

Luton team news to follow later

Colchester v Bristol City
Leading scorer Craig Fagan returns from suspension to go straight back into the Colchester's injury-hit side.
Goalkeeper Aidan Davison (calf) and defender Sam Stockley (bruised leg) have started light training but are still unlikely to feature.

Bristol City midfielder Joe Anyinsah is back from a month's loan.

Youngsters Dave Cotterill and Scott Golbourne are also in contention for a place but player-manager Brian Tinnion misses the game through suspension.

Chesterfield v Sheff Wed
Tcham N'Toya is likely to deputise for Wayne Allison who is ruled out for three weeks with the calf injury
Jordan Fowler returns from suspension, but winger Adam Smith will be out for several weeks following knee surgery.

Lee Peacock, Craig Rocastle and Chris Brunt all in contention to start for Sheffield Wednesday.

But midfielder Jon-Paul McGovern (back) will be given a late fitness test and Joey O'Brien is a major doubt after a suspected case of food poisoning

Peterborough v Doncaster
Peterborough midfielder Jamie McMaster (flu) is doubtful for the final game of his loan spell from Leeds while striker Calum Willock is suffering with a cold.
Winger Adam Newton will be given a late fitness test but midfielder Andy Legg is available after suspension

Doncaster hope to welcome back winger Jermaine McSporran from illness.

Defender Simon Marples (groin) is out for rest of the season, while Leo Fortune-West (knee) and goalkeeper Stuart Jones (ankle) remain sidelined.

Port Vale v Hartlepool
Port Vale could be without striker Nathan Lowndes, who is struggling with a hamstring problem.
Lee Matthews (calf strain)will play no part, while Simon Eldershaw and Levi Reid are slight doubts and winger Ian Armstrong is sidelined with mumps.

Hartlepool will be without Mark Tinkler (calf) and Chris Westwood (hamstring).

Defender Michael Nelson and midfielder Antony Sweeney face late fitness tests but Micky Barron and Hugh Robertson should return.

Hull v Wrexham
Hull City top scorer Stuart Elliott could be set for a return from a fractured cheekbone.
But Marc Joseph and Ryan France are still a week away from fitness, while Kevin Ellison completes a two-match ban and Michael Keane is still suspended.

Flu has ravaged the Wrexham squad with Juan Ugarte, Chris Llewellyn, Darren Ferguson and Steven Roberts among seven players rated as doubtful to play.

Jim Whitley is injured but Andy Holt and Chris Armstrong are fit to play.

Walsall v Milton Keynes
Player-manager Paul Merson may return to Walsall's starting XI and Michael Standing is also in contention after recovering from illness and injury.
Midfielder Mark Kinsella (ankle) and goalkeeper Richard McKinney (broken kneecap) remain sidelined.

MK Dons will be without tough-tackling midfielder Paul Mitchell (suspension).

Gareth Edds could be in line for a return having recovered from an ankle injury but Gary Smith, Mark Williams and Alex Tapp are still out.

Oldham v Stockport
Newly-signed Guy Branston looks set to bolster Oldham's backline after joining from Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.
Other new signing Stefan Stam could make his debut as cover for defender Danny Hall, while Chris Killen also comes in after returning from injury.

Stockport news to follow later.

Torquay v Swindon
Torquay are almost certain to be without central defender Steve Woods, who has a knee injury
On-loan Millwall signing Paul Robinson is likely to continue filling his place in the back four.

Swindon will add defender Andy Nicholas to the squad as he has recovered from an ankle injury.

Striker Christian Roberts returned to light training this week following a hernia operation but is not expected to feature for the first team.

FRANKFURT, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich would do well to beware a Borussia Dortmund side fighting tooth and nail for survival when they meet at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday (kickoff 1430 GMT).

Dortmund, Bundesliga champions in 2002 and European Cup winners in 1997, announced this week that they are on the brink of bankruptcy but the financial crisis has come just as Bert van Marwijk's team have finally got their act together on the field.

The Ruhr valley giants have won three and drawn one of their four games since the winter break to climb up to 11th, a comfortable 12 points away from the relegation places.

Jan Koller has scored in all four of those games and the Czech Republic striker will look forward to taking on a Bayern defence that looked wafer-thin in their 3-1 defeat by Arminia Bielefeld last weekend.

That surprise defeat against Bielefeld left Bayern holding on to the league leadership only on goal difference, with Schalke 04 once again breathing down their necks.

Midfield inspiration Michael Ballack has been unable to train all week with a thigh muscle strain but coach Felix Magath is determined to pick him if he can, even if it could put him at greater risk for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Arsenal.

"The Bundesliga is the priority for me," said Magath. "I'm not going to rest anyone ahead of a European game."
Bayern München
Aufstellung: 1 Kahn - 2 Sagnol, 3 Lucio, 5 R. Kovac, 69 Lizarazu - 8 Frings, 23 Hargreaves, 13 Ballack, 7 Scholl - 10 Makaay, 14 Pizarro

Borussia Dortmund
Aufstellung: 1 Weidenfeller - 21 C. Metzelder, 35 Brzenska, 4 Wörns, 17 Dede - 22 Kruska, 5 Kehl, 6 Kringe - 14 Smolarek, 9 Koller, 18 Ricken


A win for either side in this relegation battle would at least give them hope of starting a push to avoid the drop. Freiburg will start as marginal favourites, after having much the better of a goalless draw against Hanover 96 last weekend.

VfL Bochum
Aufstellung: 13 Vander - 5 Colding, 6 Kalla, 4 Maltritz, 24 P. Bönig - 17 Preuß, 8 Zdebel - 16 Misimovic - 7 Bechmann, 11 Lokvenc, 21 Trojan

SC Freiburg
Aufstellung: 1 Golz - 22 Riether, 4 Khizaneishvili, 3 Mohamad, 19 Ibertsberger - 6 Bajramovic, 7 Tskitishvili, 11 Kruppke - 8 Cairo, 9 Iashvili, 10 Coulibaly
- - - -


Hamburg remain in the battle for a European place after an outstanding 2-1 win over Stuttgart but they have an injury doubt over goalscoring midfielder Sergej Barbarez. His absence would be noted against a Kaiserslautern side improving all the time, although they will be without the suspended defender Lucien Mettomo on Saturday.

Hamburger SV
Aufstellung: 1 Pieckenhagen - 2 Schlicke, 21 Boulahrouz, 5 van Buyten, 16 Klingbeil - 7 Mahdavikia, 6 Wicky, 22 Beinlich - 14 Jarolim - 10 Barbarez, 32 Takahara -

FC Kaiserslautern
Aufstellung: 21 T. Ernst - 2 Lembi, 5 Hertzsch, 4 Wenzel, 16 Blank - 23 Riedl, 13 Sforza, 20 Engelhardt - 11 Amanatidis, 19 Halil Altintop, 17 Seitz
- - - -


Werder have fought their way back into the title race with three successive wins and last year's double winners will be strong favourites to make that four in a row against Hanover, who have lost both their home games since their rebuilt World Cup stadium was inaugurated in January.

Hannover 96
Aufstellung: 1 Enke - 6 Cherundolo, 2 Vinicius, 3 Zuraw, 35 Halfar - 5 Dabrowski, 8 Lala - 17 Krupnikovic - 27 Schröter, 15 Paunovic, 11 Stendel

Werder Bremen
Aufstellung: 1 Reinke - 7 Stalteri, 25 Ismaël, 3 Pasanen, 23 Magnin - 24 Borowski, 6 Baumann, 4 F. Ernst - 10 Micoud - 14 Hunt, 38 Valdez

- - - -


Bielefeld destroyed Bayern Munich on the counter-attack in last weekend's 3-1 win. They will not be able to employ that tactic against a more defence-minded Mainz side but if South African striker Delron Buckley maintains his form, after taking his tally for the season to 13 with a brace against Bayern, an away win must be on the cards.

FSV Mainz 05
Aufstellung: 1 Wache - 28 Abel, 10 M. Friedrich, 4 Noveski, 17 Rose - 6 Balitsch, 19 Babatz, 25 da Silva - 22 N. Weiland, 7 Auer, 27 Thurk

Arminia Bielefeld
Aufstellung: 1 Hain - 16 Lense, 2 Borges, 4 Gabriel, 15 Bogusz - 5 Kauf, 6 Dammeier - 22 Owomoyela, 21 Porcello, 7 Buckley - 10 Vata
- - - -


Leverkusen have been in excellent form this year, with only Bayern Munich able to stop them, but they will have Brazilian defender Juan suspended and may be distracted by next week's trip to face Liverpool in the Champions League.
1. FC Nürnberg
Aufstellung: 18 Klewer - 5 A. Wolf, 13 Cantaluppi, 20 Bosacki, 17 L. Müller - 26 Wagefeld, 16 Larsen - 11 Mintal, 6 S. Müller - 33 Vittek, 9 Daun -

Bayer Leverkusen
Aufstellung: 1 Butt - 25 B. Schneider, 29 Callsen-Bracker, 5 Nowotny, 35 Placente - 28 Ramelow - 10 Freier, 7 Ponte, 16 Krzynowek - 9 Berbatov, 12 Voronin -
- - - -


Wolfsburg have lost all four of their matches since the winter break. This clash with the bottom club must surely bring an end to that run, even if the former league leaders do have Hans Sarpei suspended.

Rostock, who already look doomed to relegation, are still without Sweden forward Marcus Allback, who has three more games of his suspension to run.
VfL Wolfsburg
Aufstellung: 1 Jentzsch - 2 Rytter, 18 Quiroga, 29 Hofland, 5 Schnoor - 27 Karhan, 6 Thiam - 10 D'Alessandro - 13 Brdaric, 9 Klimowicz, 21 M. Petrov -

Hansa Rostock
Aufstellung: 1 Schober - 23 Lapaczinski, 3 Möhrle, 20 Hill, 33 Hartmann - 8 D. Rasmussen, 14 Persson, 28 Litmanen, 27 T. Rasmussen - 15 Arvidsson, 19 di Salvo
- - - -

Playing on Sunday (kickoffs 1630 GMT):


Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick believes his side have put the fun back into their game after a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg that took them up on to the shoulders of Bayern Munich.

Wednesday's 1-1 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Cup will have been less enjoyable but Rangnick can expect his side to be smiling again against Moenchengladbach, who played poorly in their 2-0 defeat by Werder Bremen last time.

- - - -


Stuttgart's title challenge has come unstuck after a poor run but they will take heart from a draw with Parma that keeps them well placed to advance in the UEFA Cup. Croatian Defender Boris Zivkovic is suspended for Matthias Sammer's side after his red card in last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Hamburg SV.

Hertha are back in the title race after their last-gasp win over FC Nuremberg last weekend but they will have to cope without two suspended players, midfielder Andreas Neuendorf and defender Arne Friedrich.

VfB Stuttgart
Aufstellung: 1 Hildebrand - 3 Stranzl, 6 Fernando Meira, 5 Babbel - 2 Hinkel, 20 Soldo, 7 Meißner, 12 H. Gerber - 10 A. Hleb - 22 Kuranyi, 18 Cacau

Hertha BSC
Aufstellung: 12 Fiedler - 22 O. Schröder, 4 van Burik, 17 Madlung, 29 Fathi - 5 N. Kovac - 32 T. Marx, 7 Bastürk, 11 Gilberto - 10 Marcelinho - 24 Rafael

MADRID, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Ambitious Athletic Bilbao head to the Bernabeu on Saturday (kickoff 1900 GMT) in the belief that they can end Real Madrid's seven-match winning streak by outgunning the home side up front.

"We are going to approach the game as we have done every one this season and that is by going all out in attack when we have the ball," said inspirational midfielder Fran Yeste.

"To win you have to be brave and go for the victory from the very first minute."

The Basque side have played some outstanding attacking football this term and have been involved in two spectacular games in recent weeks.

They fought their way back from three goals down after an hour to snatch a last-gasp 4-3 win over Osasuna in January and appeared to have repeated the trick against Real Betis last time out only for the Andalucians to score a late equaliser.

Real, in contrast, have developed a new-found effectiveness in defence since the arrival of coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

Together with Barcelona, they have the best defensive record in the league and have only conceded four league goals since the Brazilian took charge at the end of last year.

They have, however, been less impressive up front. With an off-form Ronaldo picking up a minor injury to his big toe during his engagement party on Monday and unable to train properly this week, Michael Owen is likely to be given a rare chance to shine in the starting line-up.

The England striker came off the bench to spark last week's 2-1 comeback win against Osasuna with his eighth league goal of the season.

Brazilian international Roberto Carlos will miss out because of a one-match suspension with Raul Bravo likely to fill in at left back.

Other matches being played this weekend (league positions in brackets, kickoff times 1600 GMT unless stated):



Barca bounced back from their first home defeat of the season against Atletico with an authoritative 4-1 win away to Zaragoza but cannot afford another slip up with Real Madrid just four points behind in the standings.

Centre back Oleguer Presas is injured so coach Frank Rijkaard is likely to drop Rafael Marquez back into defence and give new signing Demetrio Albertini his first start in midfield.

Mallorca moved up a place after last week's win at Albacete, but still need points in their battle to stave off relegation.

- - - -


Sevilla moved into third spot in the table after their 2-1 victory over Villarreal last week and will be optimistic about their chances of a win against an inconsistent Real Sociedad at Anoeta.

- - - -



After four straight defeats, there appears to be no escape from relegation for basement side Numancia, who have taken just one point from 12 away games this season.

Albacete are hovering just above the drop zone and will see this game as a chance to distance themselves from their rivals.

- - - -

GETAFE (14) v OSASUNA (11)

Getafe have lost keeper Francisco Sanchez Broto for two months because of a knee problem. The Navarrans are also without their keeper Ricardo Sanzol and striker Pierre Webo, while centre forward Savo Milosevic is doubtful.

- - - -


An inconsistent Zaragoza will have been boosted by a 1-0 victory away to Fenerbahce in the UEFA Cup in midweek. Levante are desperate for points after winning just one of their last 13 games.

- - - -


Espanyol put an end to their recent dip in form with a 2-0 win against Getafe, their first victory in five games, but influential playmaker Ivan de la Pena is doubtful for this one against a Malaga side who have lost just one match in the last five under new coach Antonio Tapia.

- - - -


Valencia coach Claudio Ranieri was given a brief respite after his side's winning start to the defence of their UEFA Cup crown in midweek, but after five games without a victory in the league the Italian will come under further pressure if his side fail to beat Racing.

- - - -


Depor face a stern test against in-form Betis who have lost just one in seven and are in explosive form up front.

Betis striker Ricardo Oliveira took his tally for the season to 15 with his hat-trick in last week's 4-4 draw at Athletic Bilbao and the Depor defence will have their work cut out with the Brazilian.

- - - -


Villarreal were dealt their first defeat in 10 games when they went down 2-1 to Sevilla last week but they have only lost at home once this season. After their impressive 2-0 win over Barcelona two weeks ago, opponents Atletico resumed normal service with a 0-0 draw against Levante last time out.

Bastia - Marseille

Marseille have had a weekend off due to their early elimination from the Coupe de France, yet amazingly they still managed to make the headlines this week.

Coach Philippe Troussier chose to take his players to Morocco for a friendly against WAC Casablanca, only for the game to be abandoned with ten minutes to go after a fight broke out between players.

Fabien Barthez has been accused of spitting at the referee, but the France ‘keeper will be present in the Marseille goal at the Furiani.

Troussier will hope his players maintain their focus and secure a sixth win in seven matches, while 19th-placed Bastia need to sustain their impressive home record against Marseille in their continued bid to avoid the drop

Caen - Ajaccio
Caen boss Patrick Remy has been given the dreaded vote of confidence from his President Jean-François Fortin, but defeat at home to relegation rivals Ajaccio could change all that.

A 5-0 reverse at Strasbourg left the Normandy club precariously placed in Ligue 1, 17th in the table, just a point above Saturday’s opponents from Corsica.

Ajaccio could have jumped out of the relegation zone on Tuesday night were it not for a heavy snowfall that saw their match against Saint-Etienne postponed.

They failed to take the three points in their last match at home to bottom-placed Istres and will be hoping for more like at Caen

Istres - Auxerre
Istres’ recently-appointed coaching duo of Xavier Gravelaine Jean-Louis Gasset have struggled to build on their impressive start last month and face a tough task at home to fifth-placed Auxerre.

Ligue 1’s basement club secured their second win of the season against Lens in Week 22 but have not won in four attempts since then and remain six points adrift of a position of safety.

Auxerre, meanwhile, need to get back to winning ways and Coach Guy Roux will hope his players are not feeling the affects of a difficult trip to Ajax in the UEFA Cup on Wednesday.

Lens - Nantes
Lens and Nantes have both enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since they opted to change Coaches after Christmas.

The northern club have won their last two matches following the appointment of Francis Gillot as Joel Muller’s replacement, including a 2-0 success away to Paris Saint-Germain.

Meanwhile, Nantes have lost just one match in six under their new tactician Serge Le Dizet and go into the game on the back of an encouraging goalless draw with Monaco.

Le Sang et Or have a poor home record against les Canaris, with just seven wins, 14 draws and 12 defeats in 33 meetings.

Metz - Lille
Title-chasing Lille could have done without a match against Metz, one of their bogey teams, as they look for their first win in four matches.

Claude Puel’s side, who are second in Ligue 1, seven points behind Lyon, have drawn their last three matches following the heroic 2-1 win over the champions in Week 22.

They desperately need to beat 13th-placed Metz on Sunday but have won just five times in 33 attempts at the Stade Saint-Symphorien.

Monaco - Lyon
When Lyon extended their lead over Monaco to 11 points before Christmas, few gave Didier Deschamps’ team any hope of mounting a serious title challenge.

The Monaco players, however, refused to give up hope and they will be in with more than a fighting chance if they beat the three-times champions at the Stade Louis II on Friday.

A positive result would see last season's Champions' League finalists close to within six points of Lyon with a game in hand.

The events of last year have been a key factor in sustaining Monaco’s belief. For 12 months ago, they were the side pulling away at the top, ten points clear of the chasing pack.

Lyon hauled them in, however, and Monaco are now seeking revenge.

Unbeaten since mid-November, the Côte d’Azur outfit are on a charge and have star striker Javier Saviola back in top gear.

The diminutive Argentine scored a hat-trick in Monaco’s 4-2 Coupe de France win over Libourne Saint-Seurin on Saturday and is set to start in attack alongside Emmanuel Adebayor against Lyon.

Ernesto Chevanton, Deschamps’ other first-choice forward, is unavailable, however, after picking up another ankle injury.

Lyon will be looking to respond to one of their biggest tests of the season and have been boosted by the return to two key, experienced players.

Sylvain Wiltord was back in the side – and on target – in the 2-1 Coupe de France success over Toulouse having shaken off a thigh injury, while skipper Claudio Caçapa made his first appearance for three months in the reserves last weekend.

Rennes - Nice
Nice are searching for their first Ligue 1 win since December 11 but face a tough task against a Rennes team that has been in superb form at home this season.

Buoyed by a Coupe de France win over Reims last week, Gernot Rohr’s side need to pick up points at the Stade de la Route de Lorient if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation dogfight.

Nice, 14th in the table and just six points clear of the drop zone, can draw level with ninth-placed Rennes with a victory but have won just seven of their 31 games away to the Brittany club.

Saint-Etienne - Sochaux
Sochaux have not won at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard since the 1989/90 season and could struggle against a Saint-Etienne side unbeaten in 12 Ligue 1 games.

The two clubs both have European aspirations and Les Verts know that a victory could elevate them from 10th position to eighth, just a point behind sixth-placed Sochaux.

Saint-Etienne will be fresh after their midweek game with Ajaccio was abandoned due to heavy snow, while Sochaux travelled to Greece to play Olympiacos in the UEFA Cup on Thursday.

After the pressure of Sunday's Coupe de France tie with Bordeaux, new Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Fournier will be relieved to be making his Ligue 1 debut at a stadium as accommodating to the capital club as Strasbourg's Stade de la Meinau has proved to be down the years.

PSG have plundered all three points in five of their last seven excursions east, with Strasbourg last asserting themselves on their own turf back in 1996. An ideal place, then, for former player Fournier to try and mastermind PSG's first League win of 2005.

The Parisians have drawn four times and lost twice since the turn of the year, and not even Sunday's dramatic extra-time victory over Bordeaux could disguise yet another unconvincing performance, despite the departure of much-maligned Coach Vahid Halilhodzic last week.

The player's seem to be responding well to Fournier's more hands-off approach, though, with France international Jérôme Rothen commenting: "He gives us more freedom in training. We don't need someone on our backs all the time telling us what to do."

Absent for the last four months, Rothen looks like he will have to wait even longer before making his return, despite initial hopes he would feature on Saturday. Fabrice Pancrate is also doubtful after picking up a groin injury.

In the Strasbourg camp, Coach Jacky Duguépéroux has injury concerns of his own, with Malian midfielder Sidi Keita set to miss out. Salim Arrache and Mamadou Niang look to have won their race to be fit, however, and the team as a whole ought to be fresh after two weeks without a competitive fixture.

"It was just what we needed," said Duguépéroux. "We played eight games in under 30 days and I think everyone needed a break." Nevertheless, he will be hoping they can carry on exactly where they left off – with a crushing 5-0 triumph over Caen.

Toulouse - Bordeaux
The winner of Saturday’s clash between Toulouse and Bordeaux will fancy their chances of going on to claim a European spot at the end of the season, while the loser will be in danger of disappearing into the mire of mid-table.

Toulouse go into the weekend in seventh, three points ahead of eighth-placed Bordeaux, but their confidence has taken a blow after suffering four defeats in the their last four matches.

In their defence the last two losses have been at the hands of France’s impressive champions, Lyon. Les Violets went down 4-0 at the Stade Gerland, then lost 2-1 despite a more spirited performance at the Municipal Stadium in the Coupe de France last weekend.

The good news for Coach Erick Mombaerts is that midfielder Stéphane Dalmat, who celebrated his 26th birthday on Wednesday, is back after a three-month injury lay-off. The former Inter playmaker was in impressive form last weekend against Lyon and scored Toulouse’s only goal.

Bordeaux must lift their spirits after losing 3-1 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France fourth round last week. Maraoune Chamakh faces a suspension after he was sent off just seconds after scoring at the Parc des Princes. The Moroccan received a second yellow card for taking off his shirt during his goal celebration.

To cap a miserable night for Les Girondins, it was their former striker Pedro Pauleta who scored an all-important brace in extra-time.

The first derby of ‘La Garonne’ this season finished 2-2 at the Stade Chaban-Delmas, but Toulouse will be keen to improve their poor record of just eight wins in 27 home clashes with Bordeaux.
Atalanta - Bologna

Bologna hope to continue their fine form away to bottom of the table Atalanta.

Carlo Mazzone’s men are unbeaten in nine and did well to fight back for a draw against Palermo despite playing with 10 men for over an hour. Andrea Sussi and Claudio Bellucci are suspended for this match, while Mourad Meghni and Christian Amoroso are injured. There’s a chance Giacomo Cipriani could return to full fitness, but in the meantime Igli Tare should start upfront with support from Tomas Locatelli.

Atalanta were leading at Lazio last week before finally succumbing to a late Fabio Liverani winner. Massimo Taibi suffered a thigh injury during that game and is replaced by Alex Calderoni in goal, while Stefano Lorenzi, Igor Budan, Lampros Choutos and Cesare Natali are still sidelined.

Atalanta (probable): Calderoni; Rivalta, Capelli, Sala; Motta, Mingazzini, Bernardini, Marcolini, Bellini; Lazzari, Makinwa

Bologna (probable): Pagliuca; Legrottaglie, Petruzzi, Gamberini; Daino, Zagorakis, Colucci, Giunti, Capuano; Locatelli; Tare

Chievo - Lazio

Lazio finally got back on track with a hard-fought victory last week, but come face to face with troubled Chievo.

Giuseppe Papadopulo was under real pressure after picking up just one point from their last five games, but the 2-1 win over Atalanta last Saturday has taken them away from the relegation zone. They are now just one point adrift of Chievo and a victory will take them over the Flying Donkeys. Cesar, Paolo Di Canio and Matias Lequi are still sidelined, while Angelo Peruzzi is a major doubt after limping off with a thigh problem.

Chievo were thrashed 3-0 at Lecce last week and will have to do without the suspended Lorenzo D’Anna. Federico Cossato, Amauri and Andrea Zanchetta are all likely to miss this tie, while goalkeeper Luca Marchegiani and midfielder Roberto Baronio are facing their former club.

Chievo (probable): Marchegiani; Moro, Mandelli, Malago, Lanna; Semioli, Brighi, Baronio; Franceschini, Tiribocchi, Pellissier

Lazio (probable): Sereni; Couto, Giannichedda, E Filippini; Oddo, Dabo, Liverani, A Filippini, Seric; Bazzani, Rocchi

Messina - Juventus

Juventus are back on track following their win over Udinese, but will they use the new tactical system in Sicily?

Fabio Capello gambled with a 3-4-3 formation in Turin last week and emerged with a 2-1 victory that eased the pressure on the Bianconeri. Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic might be considered too much of a risk away to Messina, where the home side has only lost twice this season. Olivier Kapo and Alessio Tacchinardi are likely to miss out with injury, while Pavel Nedved is close to a comeback after a month out with a knee problem.

Messina’s away form is very poor, but few teams have emerged from the Stadio San Filippo with anything. Midfielder Coppola is suspended, while Jorge Mamede, Luca Fusco and ex-Juve player Nicola Amoruso are doubts. Arturo Di Napoli looks set to start after his controversial goal in the 2-2 draw at Siena last Sunday.

Messina (probable): Storari; Zoro, Rezaei, Zanchi, Parisi; Iliev, Giampa, Donati, Sullo; Zampagna, Di Napoli

Juventus (probable): Buffon; Zebina, Thuram, Cannavaro, Pessotto; Camoranesi, Emerson, Blasi, Zambrotta; Trezeguet, Ibrahimovic

Milan - Cagliari

The Rossoneri rode their luck at Reggina, but kept the gap from leaders Juventus at two points and now welcome high-flying Cagliari.

Milan needed an own goal to get the better of the Amaranto last Sunday evening and really missed the creative input of Andrea Pirlo. The midfielder is likely to remain sidelined with a knee ligament injury, so Carlo Ancelotti could change his whole tactical set-up as there are no real replacements for the Italian international. We could even see a three-man defence with Marcos Cafu and Serginho pushed up on to the wings, or Manuel Rui Costa in Pirlo’s deep midfield role.

Cagliari’s away form is a real weakness this season thanks to just one win, three draws and eight defeats. Coach Daniele Arrigoni admits this is a "psychological block", so it remains to be seen how they will fare at the San Siro. Alessandro Budel is out with a one-match ban, but Italian international Antonio Langella returns from suspension to complete the starry trident attack with Mauro Esposito and the legendary Gianfranco Zola. Massimo Brambilla and Marcello Albino are out injured, so Maltagliati and Del Nevo step into the breach.

Milan (probable): Dida; Nesta, Maldini, Stam; Cafu, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Serginho; Kaka; Crespo, Shevchenko

Cagliari (probable): Iezzo; Lopez, Loria, Maltagliati, Agostini; Abeijon, Del Nevo, Gobbi; Esposito, Zola, Langella

Palermo - Lecce

Lecce are full of confidence after crushing Chievo 3-0, while Palermo are still ruing missed chances in their 1-1 draw at Bologna.

Despite that slip up at the Stadio Dall’Ara, the Sicilians still moved into sixth place and are on fine form. Stefano Morrone and Cristian Raimondi are suspended in midfield, so Mario Alberto Santana should again start on the flank. Salvatore Accardi, Davide Possanzini and Massimo Mutarelli are sidelined for this encounter.

Zdenek Zeman spent many years in Sicily and will relish the opportunity to return. Babu and Eremenko are injured, but Mirko Vucinic and Jaime Valdes should start thanks to great goals scored against Chievo. Vincenzo Sicignano returns from suspension to take over from the impressive 21-year-old Antonio Rosati in goal.

Palermo (probable): Guardalben; Zaccardo, Barzagli, Biava; Santana, Corini, Barone, Grosso; Zauli, Brienza; Toni

Lecce (probable): Sicignano; Cassetti, Diamoutene, Stovini, Rullo; Giacomazzi, Ledesma, Dalla Bona; Valdes, Vucinic, Pinardi

Parma - Brescia

The Stadio Tardini hosts a tie that could potentially prove crucial in who stays up and who is relegated this season. Parma - Brescia is what many will term a classic six-pointer given that both sides are in the relegation zone with 23 points. In fact if the season ended today, these two outfits would have to play-off against each other to decide on who would be playing Serie A and B football next term.

There were signs of a renascence at Parma after Pietro Carmignani was brought in as boss but they’ve struggled of late, having picked up just one point in their last three games. They slipped back into trouble on Sunday following a 2-1 loss at Fiorentina where another Alberto Gilardino goal proved useless. The home boys have no suspensions to deal with but Cesare Bovo is a doubt.

Brescia received a much needed boost with a rare victory at the weekend. The arrival of Alberto Cavasin as new boss was just what was needed as they disposed of Cagliari 2-0 thanks to some good football and favourable refereeing.

The former Lecce tactician may have some selection problems for Week 25 though. Milanetto is suspended, while Schopp is definitely out with a twisted knee. There are also fears that Guana, Martinez and Del Nero won’t recover in time from their minor ailments.

Parma (probable): Frey; Cannavaro, Bonera, Contini, Bettarini; Marchionni, Simplicio, Bolano, Bresciano; Morfeo, Gilardino

Brescia (probable): Castellazzi; Zoboli, Adani, Domizzi; Stankevicius, Sculli, Di Biagio, Mannini, Wome; Delvecchio, Caracciolo

Roma - Livorno

Roma must get back to winning ways in Week 25 against Livorno or miss the Champions’ League train altogether. There were signs that the Giallorossi’s troubles were coming to an end after a nightmare start to the season. But just when they were on the verge of getting back into the top-four, results have suffered a worrying dip in form.

Gigi Del Neri’s side have collected just two points from their last three games, falling to a 2-0 defeat at Inter last week. Goalkeeper Ivan Pelizzoli was recalled to the side but he may be dropped yet again after another far from impressive display. The Coach has more issues to resolve too as the dismissed Philippe Mexes is suspended along with Antonio Cassano.

That may force the tactician to play with a 4-4-2 or keep faith with a 3-4-3, by inserting Mancini in a more advanced position. Tommasi and Chivu are still sidelined with injury, even if the latter is just weeks away from a return.

Livorno’s incredible season continues after Roberto Donadoni’s men beat high-flying Sampdoria 1-0 on Sunday. Given Roma’s form and their own – three wins and a draw in their last six – they may fancy their chances of an upset at the Stadio Olimpico.

Roma (probable): Pelizzoli; Panucci, Dellas, Ferrari, Cufre; De Rossi, Dacourt, Perrotta; Mancini, Montella, Totti

Livorno (probable): Amelia; Melara, A Lucarelli, Galante; Balleri, Grauso, Passoni, Vidigal, Doga; Vigiani, C Lucarelli

Sampdoria - Reggina

High-flying Sampdoria will be looking to rekindle their Champions’ League hopes when they entertain Reggina in Week 25. Doria were threatening to mount a serious top-four challenge until they came crashing back to earth following a 1-0 loss at Livorno.

Doria boss Walter Novellino is fortunate enough to have potential star player Cristiano Doni back from injury but there are a number of key players unavailable for the weekend clash. Sacchetti, Falcone and Diana are all doubts with one injury or another. Despite the absences, January signing Simone Inzaghi is likely to again start on the bench as Novellino will opt for Rossini in attack alongside Francesco Flachi.

Reggina also suffered a narrow defeat on Sunday when they were on the wrong end of a 1-0 against champions Milan. But the southern minnows were far from happy with the result given that Marco Zamboni’s entertaining own goal robbed them of at least a point which their performance deserved. Boss Walter Mazzari should have a full squad at his disposal.

Sampdoria (probable): Antonioli; Zenoni, Castellini, Pavan, Pisano; Kutuzov, Palombo, Volpi, Tonetto; Flachi, Rossini

Reggina (probable): Pavarini; Zamboni, De Rosa, Francschini; Mesto, Paredes, Mozart, Balestri, Colucci; Nakamura, Bonazzoli

Siena - Fiorentina

It’s derby time in Tuscany as little Siena entertain Fiorentina in what is surprisingly a relegation clash. While many expected the Bianconeri to struggle, most neutrals believed that the Viola would be pushing for European qualification given their signings since last summer’s promotion to the top-flight.

Fiorentina collected a much needed victory at the weekend when they beat fellow strugglers Parma 2-1. Fabrizio Miccoli was the star man as Dino Zoff collected his first victory on the Viola bench following four straight losses. The tactician will be hoping that his pint-sized magician can repeat the trick at the Franchi.

Zoff has just one player unavailable in the shape of Ujfalusi. January’s £10m signing from Lecce, Valeri Bojinov, is available again after suspension. Enzo Maresca should also be fit again after his recent injury worries.

Siena are unbeaten in six games but they’ve also drawn all of those ties leaving new boss Gigi De Canio still waiting for his first maximum. They drew 2-2 with Messina last week in a game that they perhaps should have won. Portanova is suspended, while Ardito, Cozza, Taddei and Pecchia are on the treatment table.

Siena (probable): Manninger; Cirillo, Tudor, Colonnese, Pasquale; Alberto, D’Aversa, Vergassola, Falsini; Chiesa, Flo

Fiorentina (probable): Lupatelli; Maggio, Viali, Dainelli, Chiellini; Ariatti, Maresca, Donadel, Jorgensen; Miccoli, Bojinov

Udinese - Inter

Inter have a great opportunity to consolidate their hopes of a top-four finish when they travel to Udinese. The Nerazzurri could move five points clear of the fourth-placed Bianconeri with what would be an impressive victory at the Stadio Friuli in Week 25.

Roberto Mancini’s boys are certainly impressing after finally getting rid of their draw addiction. Still unbeaten this season, the San Siro giants have won three of their last four games, the latest a 2-0 win over rivals Roma. Mancio insists that his side are still in the Scudetto race – despite the 11 point gap between themselves and leaders Juventus.

It’s unclear what side the Coach will field given their Champions’ League game next week, but Christian Vieri could return after he was rested against the Giallorossi. Sinisa Mihajlovic will be confident of another game after he scored a brace of free-kicks on Saturday night.

Udinese were rightly considered as the revelation of the championship before Christmas. But they don’t seem to be the same side since the season resumed in 2005. They’ve lost four out of the last six games, including a 2-1 reverse at Juve in the last round. Boss Luciano Spalletti will be without the suspended Muntari but Vincenzo Iaquinta should be back after he missed the Delle Alpi defeat with the flu.

Udinese (probable): De Sanctis; Bertotto, Sensini, Kroldrup; Zenoni, Pizarro, Pinzi, Jankulovski; Iaquinta, Di Michele, Di Natale

Inter (probable): Toldo; J Zanetti, Cordoba, Mihajlovic, Favalli; Veron, C Zanetti, Cambiasso, Stankovic; Adriano, Vieri (BBC, Channel 4, Reuters, Sky-Sport)
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