Madrid look to open up gap before winter freeze

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The Independent Football

With Barcelona continuing their domination of the world over in Japan, Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid have the chance to go three points clear at the top of La Liga tonight when they travel to Sevilla.

The fixture is a game in hand over the Catalans and the final league game before the winter break.

In Italy, Napoli – Chelsea's opposition in the next round of the Champions League – have a tasty home game against Roma. But the game of the weekend comes in Rome itself as Lazio entertain Udinese. The home team sit fourth in Serie A and could leapfrog Celtic's Europa League conquerors in second place with a win.

Paris St Germain will hope to bounce back domestically after being knocked out of Europe this week. They entertain Lille in a crucial game at the summit of Ligue 1. The division is a four-horse race at the moment, with surprise leaders Montpellier playing Champions League hopefuls Toulouse.

Despite winning their last three in the league, Ajax are still well adrift of Dutch leaders AZ Alkmaar. They play ADO Den Haag at 11.30am tomorrow. Two hours later the real stuff starts with games between Feyenoord and Twente and Heerenveen and PSV.

It would make a much more interesting weekend in Germany if Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen's games had been switched. Bundesliga table-toppers Munich welcome Leverkusen's rivals Cologne to the Allianz Arena while Robin Dutt's team play Nurnberg at home.

A reversal in those games would both be local derbies but let us put it into context: Bolton fans travelling to Blackburn on Tuesday night could make three round trips to Ewood Park in the time it takes to travel between Munich and Nurnberg. And full marks to those Lecce supporters driving to Parma. Given they've only won once since September, an eight-hour drive for almost certain defeat is an effort.

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