THE WEEK AHEAD: MAIN EVENTS

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TOMORROW

Athletics: The final big-money grand prix of the season in Berlin with a share of a $1m (pounds 650,000) jackpot up for grabs between Denmark's Wilson Kipketer in the 800 metres and Gabriela Szabo of Romania in the 3,000 meters.

WEDNESDAY

Football: Euro 2000 qualifying matches dominate. England travel to Poland needing a win to secure second place in Group Five. Non-qualification does not bear thinking about but you can be sure that it has crossed the minds of those closest to the England set-up. That thought must also figure large in the mind of Craig Brown whose Scotland team follow up Saturday's win in Bosnia with a trip to Estonia in search of second spot in Group Nine behind the unbeaten Czech Republic. Mick McCarthy's Republic of Ireland should have no difficulty disposing of Malta, while Northern Ireland travel to Germany hoping to avoid a thrashing.

SATURDAY

Football: A week of top-class football ends with the return of Premiership action. Manchester United visit Anfield where rejuvenated Liverpool will be given a serious test, albeit at the ungodly hour of 11.30am. In the afternoon, interest will focus on Stamford Bridge, where Bobby "I bleed black and white" Robson stakes his claim for the throne of the Geordie nation by bringing Newcastle to Chelsea for a nice, gentle introduction to his Premiership management career. In Scotland, Rangers will have to be seriously out of form not to beat once-proud Aberdeen, who are already odds-on favourites for the drop.

Racing: The season's final Classic, the St Leger, is run at Doncaster and Henry Cecil's outstanding filly Ramruna has been the hot favourite for weeks. But there may be more fun to be had with Tchaikovsky, who was in the original entries for the race only to be taken out. Now the owners have paid pounds 20,000 to have him re-entered. Is that a tip or what?

Golf: The Walker Cup tees off at Nairn, near Inverness, with the United States defending the trophy they retained in New York in 1997.

SUNDAY

Motor racing: The Italian Grand Prix at Monza should have seen the return of Michael Schumacher, guaranteed to lift the decibel level of the tifosi. His leg injury is not healing as quickly as was hoped, however, and it is left to Eddie Irvine to fly the Ferrari flag before he departs for a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Football: The Premiership features Bradford City v Tottenham. The newly- promoted Yorkshiremen are, as predicted, having a tough time, though their shortcomings in the flair department are compensated for by an abundance of effort. It is unlikely to be enough by the season's end but they may scare a few on the way. In Scotland, Celtic, complete with coach John Barnes' 4-2-2-2 formation, travel to Kilmarnock.

Len Gould

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