Germany: FC Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund (Saturday 15.30)
After getting to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, Dortmund’s attention switched immediately to this 142nd Ruhr derby. “We’ve got to make up for last time against Schalke,” said midfielder Kevin Grosskreutz, remembering Dortmund’s 2-1 home loss to Schalke in October. “We will give our all to get a result.” Goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller promised that BVB – second in the Bundesliga – are “motivated right down to the bones”, yet the same should apply to sixth-placed Schalke, whose own UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie concludes next week.
Schalke have lost their last two home games against Dortmund, so Julian Draxler is eager to make amends. “Even in my family, everyone is talking about the Dortmund match,” said the 19-year-old midfielder. “We are really excited. We have to take the positive attitude from our recent wins into the derby.”
Russia: FC Rubin Kazan v FC Zenit St Petersburg (Sunday 13.00)
Rubin, in seventh position, will host their fellow UEFA Europa League contenders at the Ahmat Arena in Grozny in order to preserve the young grass at their home stadium for July’s World Student Games. Third-placed Zenit are without two key men, with playmaker Danny suspended and left-back Domenico Criscito a long-term absentee with a torn cruciate.
Meanwhile, Rubin’s big winter signing from Stade Rennais FC, Yann M’Vila, is yet to make his Premier-Liga debut because of a knee problem. Fellow midfielder Aleksandr Ryazantsev is also sidelined, with coach Kurban Berdyev explaining: “Having come on for five minutes in the [UEFA Europa League round of 32] second leg against Atlético he sustained an injury that does not allow him to train.”
England: Liverpool FC v Tottenham Hotspur FC (Sunday 17.00)
In-form Tottenham round off a week in which they have beaten north London rivals Arsenal FC and UEFA Europa League last-16 opponents FC Internazionale Milano with another heavyweight contest. Safely ensconced in the top four of the Premier League, André Villas-Boas’s side will hope to close on second-placed Manchester City FC, who are in FA Cup quarter-final action on Saturday.
However, seventh-ranked Liverpool have struck 12 times in their last three matches, Luis Suárez taking his tally to a Premier League-leading 21 goals with a hat-trick at Wigan Athletic FC last Saturday. “Luis is a great all-round striker but it’s not just about the goals, it’s about what he gives to the team – it’s about his attitude,” said Anfield team-mate José Enrique. “He’s the same in training as you see in games. He gives 100% all the time.”