The next seven days in European soccer will feature some of the fiercest rivalries in the game with Sunday set to be a particularly special day of action with no fewer than five major clashes. The eclectic selection of action runs all the way until next midweek and the coming week offers us a perfect mix of local derbies, prestigious meeting between bitter rivals and battles for regional supremacy. It might not boast the likes of El Clasico in Spain or Der Klassiker in Germany which are both coming up later this year but it does boast some of the best that the English, Spanish, French, Belgian, Dutch and Serbian scenes can offer. If you time it right, you could have a super Sunday of action with consecutive games from this list as you sample some of the continent's best clashes.
We take a look at how some of the games coming up this next week came to be recognized as part of the most important band of fixtures in European soccer.
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Friday: Monaco vs. Nice -- Derby de la Cote d'Azur
An underrated clash in the south of France sees AS Monaco welcoming OGC Nice to Stade Louis II for their Riviera rivalry game. With 12 Ligue 1 titles between the pair and their geographical proximity on the Cote d'Azur, this one is a fiery Mediterranean battle between two old foes which USMNT star Folarin Balogun is about to experience for the first time. It does not get much more glamourous than the principality and this edition will see first meet third with both sides unbeaten in Championnat play. Adding a little extra spice to this one will be Nice's Sofiane Diop who is the latest player to have played on both sides of the divide as part of a list which features Patrice Evra.
Sunday: Ajax vs. Feyenoord -- De Klassieker
One of Europe's fiercest rivalries is that between Dutch soccer giants Ajax of Amsterdam and Feyenoord of Rotterdam. Keenly contested both on and off the field, this season's first installment takes place at Johan Cruyff Arena with the hosts well off the pace in 12th with the visitors one point away from Eredivisie's top spot. With a staggering 52 Dutch titles between them, this is the meeting of two of the Netherlands' top three clubs with Feyenoord looking to pull off another away win after March's success. Ajax's Steven Berghuis crossed the divide back in 2021 -- a move actually done in reverse by the legendary Cruyff himself at the end of his career. Mexican hotshot Santiago Gimenez hopes to continue his strong early-season form with Feyenoord here.
Sunday: Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur -- North London Derby
Arguably this weekend's headline event comes in the Premier League where it is the North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. Possibly the most high-profile derby in the English top flight ahead of even the Manchester Derby, the Gunners vs. Spurs is one of the true derbies between two sets of passionate supporters. This weekend being fourth against second certainly adds to the occasion but the rivalry hardly needs any stoking which is illustrated by the few players to have played for both sides over the years. Harry Kane does not really count as having crossed the divide given that he was only on Arsenal's youth books for a year so William Gallas is probably the most recognizable name to have gone directly from one to the other in recent years. However, none of that compares with the Gunners' signing of Sol Campbell from Spurs back in 2001.
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Sunday: Anderlecht vs. Club Brugge -- The Topper
Belgian giants Anderlecht and Club Brugge meet this weekend in the battle between the Jupiler Pro League's two most successful sides with a combined 52 titles. Second against third heading into this clash in Brussels and although the hosts are traditionally the most successful club in all of Belgium, they have only won once in this fixture over the past five seasons. Things are looking more promising for Anderlecht of late while Club Brugge are also looking to improve after a difficult campaign so that should add some spice to this one which generally does not need much encouragement. Players to have played for both sides is a bit more commonplace in this one and Mats Rits did swap sides this summer so keep an eye on that as well as Canada's Tajon Buchanan.
Sunday: Marseille vs. PSG -- Le Classique
It is also the turn of France's most prestigious domestic matchup this weekend when Paris Saint-Germain host Olympique de Marseille at Parc des Princes. This one is usually crazy at the best of times so OM going into meltdown despite an unbeaten start to the season with Marcelino leaving the club should not be considered too much of a surprise. Le Classique has calmed down a bit since away supporters were banned from attending in both Paris and Marseille but it is still hugely passionate on the field with a bit more needle of late since Marseille have started to win the odd encounter despite PSG's dominance. There have been a few high-profile players over the years who have swapped sides but not too many who do it directly with Peguy Luyindula the most recent back in 2007 after a string of acrimonious departures from PSG to OM between 2004-06. Les Parisiens might be the dominant force now but these two boast a combined 20 Ligue 1 titles.
Sunday: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid -- El Derbi Madrileno
It is also the Madrid derby this weekend with Atletico hosting Real for the latest citywide bragging rights with Carlo Ancelotti's men shooting ahead at the summit of La Liga. One of Spain's most colorful derbies, Real's dominance does not stop Atleti from having contributed 11 of the 46 combined Spanish titles boasted by these two. Atleti's Marcos Llorente is the most recent player to have transferred directly between the two although Real legend Raul famously swapped Atleti for Los Blancos as a youth player and ultimately wrote his legend at Santiago Bernabeu and not Vicente Calderon.
Wednesday: Crvena zvezda vs. Partizan -- Eternal Derby
Few derbies are taken as seriously as Belgrade's Eternal Derby and that is coming up next Wednesday when Partizan host Crvena Zvezda for the latest installment of this explosive cross-sports rivalry. Such is the emotion on show that pyrotechnics are an absolute given and fanbases regularly clash with players rarely daring to move between clubs with Cleo the most recent example back in 2009 and even that was not a direct transfer to Partizan as he was only on loan with Red Star -- also the first move to even qualify for the criteria for 20 years. Not only is this a battle for Belgrade supremacy, but it is also a tussle between Serbia's two undisputed giants with a staggering 61 titles shared between them with Crvena zvezda currently leading Partizan 34-27 with no club even close to the pair.