Slovan Liberec vs Viktoria Plzeň, Czech Gambrinus liga, Saturday 12th May, 16:30.
This is the weekend’s big game across the enter region of eastern Europe. Allow us to set the scene – this is the final game of the season, where the league leaders, Liberec, take on the team in second, Plzeň. The game is sure to be a battle of nerve as both sides must win in order to lift the coveted trophy – as the league is decided on their head to head record, as opposed to goal difference. A draw would force the league to enter a historic ‘golden match’ where both sides would have to again face off in a final. Liberec are painfully close to clinching their third league title – and first since 2006 – but will there be one final twist?
NK Karlovac vs HNK Rijeka, Croatian 1.HNL, Saturday 12th May, 18:00.
Relegation dog fights can be as tense and nerve racking as the opposite end of the table where teams are battling for the league title. The fate of Rijeka rests largely upon this result. Karlovec may have already been forced to accept that relegation is a certainty this season however for the visitors on Saturday, there remains a glimmer of hope that they can remain in the Croatian top flight for another year. Rijeka’s narrow lead over Inter Zaprešic, which is only by goal difference, means that a victory is a necessity should they hope to have a chance of avoiding relegation. The problem lies in the fact that Rijeka have gone some 6 games without victory and look absolutely bereft of any attacking confidence – so you would assume that a narrow victory would be their only means of gaining the 3 points.
Gomel vs BATE Borisov, Belarusian Vysheyshaya Liga, Saturday 12th May, 15:00
The season may still be young in the Belarusian top flight however this fixture remains certain to be a clash of two of the nation’s title contenders. Both sides have made particularly impressive starts to the campaign, with BATE having lost only 1 in 8 games while their opponents have dropped a mere 4 points. BATE may remain the favourites to again lift the league title come the season’s end – thanks to their successive victories over the past couple of seasons – however it finally looks as though Gomel will be able to build upon their 3rd placed finish last year and mount a challenge. Gomel will need to find a solution to their goalscoring issues – as they’ve yet to look entirely convincing in front of goal – especially against a side as defensively solid as BATE. However their home advantage should provide for some added spice to the fixture.
*Thanks to Chris for the heads up about Liberec vs Plzen being decided on head to head, as opposed to goal difference.