5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶 | OneFootball

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Padraig Whelan·13 May 2022

5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

As leagues across the continent begin to wind down, there is plenty up for grabs as several seasons reach crunch time.

Slavia Prague v Sparta Prague

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Mild 🌶

There may be nothing but pride to play for in the Prague city derby on the final weekend of the Czech First League but when it comes to derby fixtures, that can be worth even more than points.

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Ahead of the final game, Slavia sit eight points ahead of their rivals with both having secured European football for next season (and finished behind champions Viktoria Plzen).

It is the most prestigious fixture in the Czech footballing calendar and although no silverware is on the line this time, something of a rarity in the history of this fixture, it will still be captivating viewing.

However, Sparta are left with a dilemma on team selection and whether to rest some bigger names ahead of their cup final showdown with Slovácko on Wednesday evening.

But given that they haven’t won away from home in this fixture in the league since 2014, the pressure will still be on to deliver.

Anderlecht v Union Saint-Gilloise

Spice rating: Medium 🌶 🌶

Having led the league for so much of the season going into the final phase, Union Saint-Gilloise’s title challenge was dealt a major blow in midweek.

Bidding to win their first league title in 87 years, they were beaten by new leaders Club Brugge last time out and now see their hopes hinging on others.

But to have any hope of winning their 12th league title, they must overcome Anderlecht on Sunday.

Failure to do so could see the fairytale bid for glory come to an end at the final hurdle.

Sheffield United v Nottingham Forest

Article image:5️⃣ spicy fixtures you must watch this weekend 🌶

Spice rating: Hot 🌶 🌶 🌶

On Saturday afternoon, Bramall Lane plays host to a huge Championship play-off semi-final first leg as Sheffield United welcome Nottingham Forest.

It sees two of English football’s most traditional clubs competing for a place in ‘the richest game in football’ at Wembley, where Luton Town or Huddersfield Town will await.

But it is this semi-final which captures the attention, featuring a Blades outfit who have rebounded remarkably from their disastrous showing in relegation and they take on one of the game’s great sleeping giants in two-time European Cup winners Forest who haven’t graced the top flight since 1999.

However, if Steve Cooper’s side are to return, they will have to see of the play-off curse which seems to have hindered them, having won just one of their eight games in the Football League play-offs (drawing two and losing five) and have never reached the final in any of their four attempts.

It is also the second time these clubs have met in the play-offs, with the Blades winning 5-4 on aggregate in 2002/03. Will history repeat itself?

Bundesliga’s fourth place race

Spice rating: Fire 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶

Speaking of fairytales, many across both Germany and beyond will be hoping that Freiburg overcome the unlikely odds on the final matchday and secure a Champions League place for the first time in their history.

Following their 4-1 loss at home to Union Berlin last weekend, it means that a lot must go their way on the final day for the popular Christian Streich’s side, run on a shoestring budget compared to the teams around them, to clinch fourth place.

They must win at Bayer Leverkusen, who may already be thinking of the beach after wrapping up third place last week, and hope that Arminia Bielefeld (who are all but relegated) do them a favour by signing off with a home win against RB Leipzig, who currently occupy fourth.

Nothing less than a Freiburg win and Leipzig loss will see them pull off something that seemed impossible at the start of the season.

But even if they don’t manage to pull it off, they will have a quick shot at revenge and to end an incredible campaign on a high when they meet Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin next weekend.

Milan v Atalanta

Spice rating: Insane 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶 🌶

A huge Lombardy derby takes place at San Siro on Sunday evening as Milan aim to take another huge step towards the title against Atalanta.

The Rossoneri currently sit two points ahead of reigning champions and city rivals Inter with two games remaining but must overcome one last big threat to their title credentials.

La Dea still have European football to fight for next season and have been a very big thorn in the side of Milan in recent years.

Although Stefano Pioli’s side have won the last two league meetings between the clubs, they won just one of the previous 11 before that, while Atalanta are unbeaten on their last seven successive trips to San Siro to face Milan.

However, a home victory would mean that nothing less than a win would be enough for Inter later on Sunday night at Cagliari – or Milan could be crowned champions for the first time since 2011 by the close of business this weekend.