Beckham returns as Real aim to re-assert home rule

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The Independent Football

The pressure is on the championship leaders in Italy and Spain to re-assert their domestic superiority after the shocks served up by the Champions' League in midweek.

The pressure is on the championship leaders in Italy and Spain to re-assert their domestic superiority after the shocks served up by the Champions' League in midweek.

In Spain Real Madrid, who are just one point ahead of Valencia, have some difficult matches looming, none more than the visit of Barcelona in a fortnight. Osasuna should offer tough opposition at the Bernabeu tomorrow, but Madrid have England skipper David Beckham back from suspension.

AC Milan take on Empoli today, unsure of the damage inflicted by their defeat to Deportivo la Coruña. Roma are in second place nine points behind. However, having been banned from the Stadio Olimpico for two matches following the disturbances at last month's Rome derby, Roma must face Chievo in the Sicilian capital, Palermo.

Monaco, meanwhile, look to round off a memorable week by beating Lens and staying ahead in the three-horse race for the French title. But Lyon still entertain hopes of winning a third consecutive title and tomorrow visit Strasbourg.

German leaders Werder Bremen, seven points ahead of Bayern Munich, visit lowly Eintracht Frankfurt while Bayern face a tough match with fifth-placed Schalke.

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