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  1. Bundesliga: Wolfsburg next for bullocking Bayern


    Bayern Munich's canter towards the Bundesliga title takes them to Wolfsburg on Saturday, while Hannover host Bayer Leverkusen.

    Pep Guardiola's side are 20 points clear atop the league table with 15 matches to play, having won 21 of 23 fixtures this season in a dominant performance.

    Wolfsburg sit fifth in the table, just two points outside of a UEFA Champions League spot, however, they would be concerned at shipping six goals to mid-table Hoffenheim at their last start ahead of a date with the ever-strong Bayern.

    Leverkusen are third in the table, 22 points behind Bayern, but have severe concerns after dropping their past three matches ahead of their trip to Hannover.

    Sami Hyypia's men have the chance to steady their form, though, as Hannover are winless in four, including three losses.

    Schalke, fourth, host the in-form Hoffenheim on Saturday, which should prove to be an entertaining contest.

    Despite their standing in 10th, Hoffenheim have been one of the most aggressive sides in the league, scoring 52 goals - the third highest tally in the German top flight.

    In their past five matches, Markus Gridol's men have scored 16 goals, and will further test the defence of Schalke, who had five put past them last time out against Bayern.

    In other Saturday fixtures, Borussia Monchengladbach host Augsburg, while Stuttgart - on a seven-match losing streak - are at home to bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig and Hamburg welcome Eintracht Frankfurt.

    The late kick-off sees Nuremburg at home to Werder Bremen.

    On Sunday, second side Borussia Dortmund travel to relegation-placed Freiburg.

    Dortmund, who bounced back from a 3-0 loss to Hamburg by beating Nuremburg by the same margin last week, have beaten Freiburg seven times in a row, averaging over 3.5 goals in that run.

    Later on Sunday, Hertha Berlin - who remain well in the race for European honours in their promotion season - are away at Mainz.

    Hertha sit two points behind the sixth-placed Mainz, and a win could catapult Jos Luhukay's men into a Europa League spot.

  2. Premier League Preview: Chelsea v Tottenham

    Chelsea v Tottenham

    Chelsea can send a clear signal of intent by beating Tottenham on Saturday to move seven points clear at the top of the Premier League.

    With Arsenal and Manchester City in FA Cup action this weekend, and second-placed Liverpool not playing in the league again until next Sunday, Jose Mourinho's side have the opportunity to build a strong lead at the summit.

    The omens are certainly on the hosts' side, as Tottenham have not won at Stamford Bridge in any competition since February 1990 - a run that stretches over 26 matches.

    Chelsea, who are unbeaten in 74 home league games under Mourinho, also boast the best home record in the Premier League this season, with 38 points from a possible 42, but Spurs can point to having taken more points (29) on the road than any of their rivals

    That fact made last month's 1-0 loss away to struggling Norwich City all the more surprising, but Tim Sherwood's side have since progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League and beaten Cardiff City to retain fifth spot.

    The spoils were shared in September's meeting at White Hart Lane when John Terry cancelled out Gylfi Sigurdsson's first-half opener before Fernando Torres saw red late on.

    Sigurdsson was also on target in Tottenham's last trip to Stamford Bridge, netting a late leveller in a 2-2 draw.

    Emmanuel Adebayor scored the visitors' other goal in that contest in May and the Togolese striker is in excellent form at present, having netted seven times in his last six league appearances away from home.

    Adebayor has also scored in three of his last four top-flight starts against this weekend's opponents and will now aim to become the first Spurs player since Gary Lineker to fire home a winner for the club at Chelsea.

    Danny Rose (knee), Etienne Capoue (ankle) and Kyle Walker (thigh) remain doubts for Tottenham, with Ezekiel Fryers likely to continue at left-back.

    Influential midfielder Eden Hazard suffered an ankle injury in Belgium's 2-2 draw with Ivory Coast on Wednesday, but has declared himself fit and raring to go.

    "I'm in super form," he told Het Laatste Nieuws. "Something you see in the stats and in my consistency. I see similarities with my last season in Lille."

    Hazard scored 20 goals in 38 Ligue 1 appearances during his final campaign with Lille in 2011-12.

  3. FA Cup Preview: Arsenal v Everton

    Arsenal v Everton

    The prospect of silverware draws ever closer for success-starved Arsenal as the London club welcome Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

    It is getting on for nine years since Arsene Wenger's men lifted a trophy and, with Arsenal's Premier League title hopes hanging by a thread, a repeat of their 2005 FA Cup triumph looks to be the most likely route to glory.

    But Everton's wait has been even longer after the much-lauded David Moyes' era passed without a major honour, although 2009 did bring a Wembley trip that ended in a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in the final of this competition.

    While Moyes toiled fruitlessly to add to Everton's trophy collection, successor Roberto Martinez led Wigan Athletic to FA Cup victory with a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City last May.

    The Spaniard can carve out a unique piece of history if he can repeat the feat with Everton as he will become the first manager to win back-to-back FA Cups with different clubs.

    But he must mastermind a rare Everton win on Arsenal's home soil if he is to continue the Merseysiders' progress without the need for a replay.

    Everton have not won at Arsenal in their last 19 visits in all competitions, but they have managed draws in the last two trips.

    Martinez's personal recollections of facing Wenger's men in their own back yard will not fill him with much confidence, having seen Wigan relegated at the Emirates Stadium only three days after that famous Wembley win against City.

    The hosts' record at this stage of the competition is almost perfect, with Arsenal having won 10 of their 11 FA Cup last-eight ties, the only defeat coming at the last attempt in 2011, when Manchester United won 2-0.

    Everton fell at this hurdle last season when Wigan scored three times in as many first-half minutes to claim a 3-0 victory at Goodison Park.

    Arsenal will be looking for a response to last Saturday's 1-0 loss at Stoke City and Martinez is wary of the threat the hosts will pose.

    "There's never a good or bad time to face a top team," he said.

    "We admire them immensely, they had a disappointing result at the weekend but that doesn't change anything.

    "They're as good as anyone when they get on the ball and we'll have to be at our best, but if you want to win a competition like the FA Cup you have to find a way to be effective against a team like Arsenal."

    Martinez's compatriot Joel Robles has started every round in goal for Everton in their run to the last eight, replacing regular first choice Tim Howard, but Martinez refused to be drawn on whether that trend would continue on Saturday.

    "When you've got a strong squad you have huge belief in every member," he said.

    "Tim Howard has been outstanding this season, Joel is growing and benefiting from working with Tim and both keepers have been reliable with very good performances.

    "The whole squad is always needed. The whole squad is ready, it's a glamorous tie and we're looking forward to it."

    Defender Phil Jagielka is likely to miss out with a hamstring injury, while Antolin Alcaraz (groin) is back after a five-week absence.

    Jack Wilshere took a heavy blow to the foot in England's 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday, but insisted afterwards that he had only suffered bruising after having a scan.

    Fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has not played this year, remains sidelined with a thigh injury.

  4. International Friendly: England v Denmark

    Roy Hodgson

    England manager Roy Hodgson maintains there are spaces available in his FIFA World Cup squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Denmark.

    The Danes' visit to Wembley is the first of four matches Hodgson's side will negotiate before opening their World Cup campaign against Italy in Manaus.

    Having overseen home friendly defeats to Chile and Germany since England qualified for the global showpiece as winners of UEFA Group H, Hodgson has opted to hand Southampton defender Luke Shaw a maiden call-up as well as rewarding Raheem Sterling for his fine recent form at Liverpool.

    Steven Caulker is another young player given a chance to prove his worth in the final match before Hodgson names his 30-man provisional squad on May 13.

    England's subsequent friendlies against Peru, Ecuador and Honduras all take place after that squad is named.

    While established seniors such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard are all but guaranteed to feature in Brazil, Hodgson has urged the likes of Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson, who have missed out on selection for the Denmark game, not to give up hope of selection.

    "It would be very foolish of me in March to give a definitive 30-man squad (for the World Cup)," Hodgson said.

    "This is the squad I have chosen for now.

    "Andy Carroll has hardly played (after returning from injury). Adam Johnson is a player we know and because of the competition we have decided not to include him in this squad."

    Tottenham defender Kyle Walker is unlikely to play in Wednesday's game according to club manager Tim Sherwood while Caulker, Andros Townsend, John Ruddy and Adam Lallana all sat out training on Monday morning.

    Denmark also have injury concerns, with Sherwood stating on Sunday that Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen will not be able to feature.

    Martin Braithwaite has been confirmed as an absentee after picking up an injury in Toulouse's 2-0 win over Nice on Saturday.

    On the agenda for Morten Olsen's side is qualification for the UEFA European Championships in 2016 after they narrowly missed out on a place in the play-offs during World Cup qualifying.

    Having finished as runners-up in Group B, Denmark were ranked the lowest of the second-placed teams and will therefore watch the action in Brazil from afar before aiming to reach the European Championship for the eighth time in nine attempts.

    Denmark rounded off their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 hammering off Malta before edging Norway 2-1 in a November friendly, meaning Olsen's side will be protecting an unbeaten run that stands at five games.

  5. International Friendly: Spain v Italy

    Diego Costa

    Diego Costa could make a second international debut against Italy when Spain host Cesare Prandelli's men in Madrid on Wednesday.

    Having previously come on as a substitute in two friendlies for Brazil last March - the first against Italy - Costa received Spanish nationality and made the controversial decision to switch allegiances.

    The Atletico Madrid striker, who boasts 21 La Liga goals this season, is now in line to represent Spain for the first time, having been included in the defending world champions' squad to face Italy.

    Coach Vicente del Bosque said of Costa: "He's an unusual case, because he had never been called up before and because he was born in Brazil.

    "But he's a player who has been called up on the back of what he has achieved with his club and because we believe that he can help us. That's why we've called him up; for no other reason."

    Italy can be expected to pose a stern test of Spain's FIFA World Cup credentials and the two sides are familiar with each other, having met four times inside the last three years.

    Spain's only defeat during that time came in a friendly in August 2011.

    Del Bosque's men then drew with Italy in Group C of the UEFA European Championships a year later before running out 4-0 winners against the same opponents in the final of the competition.

    Spain needed penalties to see off Italy again in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals last year following a goalless draw.

    With Del Bosque set to name his squad for the 2014 World Cup on May 25 - four days ahead of a friendly with Bolivia - this week's game against Italy could represent the last chance for Spain's fringe players to nail down a place.

    Italy, meanwhile, have drawn both of their friendlies - against Germany and Nigeria - since qualifying for the finals and have fixtures with the Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg pencilled in before a World Cup opener against England in Manaus.

    Roma midfielder Danielle De Rossi has been left out by national coach Prandelli after throwing a punch at Mauro Icardi during Saturday's goalless draw with Inter.

    Striker Mario Balotelli is also absent with a shoulder problem, but uncapped Torino striker Ciro Immobile could feature after scoring 13 Serie A goals this season.

    Both sides were unbeaten in qualifying and topped their respective groups, although Spain's last two outings have been less than convincing.

    Spain narrowly beat Equitorial Guinea 2-1 in November before going down 1-0 to South Africa three days later.

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