Derbies of the Week: The Milan Derby, 'Mineiro Classic' and the 'Rhônealpin' Derby
The derbies this weekend are steeped in historical significance and supporter conflict. Rather unusually we kick off the list with a match that takes place tonight at 20:30 in Portugal between northern rivals Vitória Guimarães and Sporting Braga. With no derbies on Saturday (don't worry though, Chelsea play Man United in the Premier League and there's the FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Reading), we hop straight to Sunday where we're treated to a derby trifecta that is sure to entertain even the most pessimistic of viewers. The Milan derby, the 'Mineiro Classic' and the 'Rhônealpin' derby all kick off within 15 minutes of each other, so be sure to choose wisely (or get three different streams up if you've got a good internet connection)!
Vitória Guimarães v Sporting Braga, 17 April 2015, 20:30 GMT+1, Estádio Dom Alfonso Henriques, Primeira Liga
The result of this match between Vitória Guimarães and Sporting Braga is the key to the bragging rights of northern Portugal. It has always been a fierce rivalry, but this match should have more tension than usual with Sporting Braga and Vitória sitting fourth and fifth in the league respectively. Not only this, but due to their goalless stalemate in the league in December, fans and players have been waiting for this particular match to resolve who gets to be the pride of the North for the rest of the season.
Inter Milan v AC Milan, 19th April 2015, 19:45 GMT+1, San Siro, Serie A
The first derby of Sunday takes place in the historic San Siro ground. Inter will host their city rivals AC Milan, in the traditionally tense 'Derbi della Madonnina'. It is a rivalry that is as historically signifcant as it is dramatically enticing - both sides have played it each other for over a hundred years, and are two of the most successful sides ever, both domestically and in Europe. The Milanese derby has provided us with some of the most memorable football matches in football history, one example being their incredible Champions League quarter final in 2005. The 1-1 draw earlier this season was comparatively undramatic and, with both sides currently wallowing mid-table, they will both be looking to get one over their rival. In case you haven't watched one of these matches before and don't know what to expect, watch our Derby Days video on the Derbi Della Madonnina!
Olympique Lyonnais v AS Saint-Étienne, 19th April 2015, 20:00 GMT+1, Stade Gerland, Ligue 1
In the first of the 8pm kick offs, we have the biggest derby of the weekend (and arguably of France) between Lyon and Saint Étienne. Considered the most authentic and traditional of the footballing derbies in France, the 'Rhônealpin' derby is a true local rivalry, with fans of the two sides holding each other in genuine contempt. The fiery nature of the rivalry in part stems from their geographical proximity, as Lyon and Saint Étienne are only 50 kilometres away from each other. However, the main factor that fuels this derby is the divergent cultural and sporting history of both cities. As well as having different eras of impressive domestic success in France, both clubs have different social perceptions that reflect that of their cities; Lyon is widely considered to be much richer and more white collar, whereas Saint Étienne is considered more working class and blue collar. The last time these two met, the current league leaders Lyon were smashed 3-0 by Saint Étienne at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard. Let's see whether this time around Lyon can exact revenge for that embarrassing defeat.
Cruzeiro v Atlético Mineiro, 19th April 2015, 20:00 GMT+1, Belo Horizonte, Mineiro 1
For our final derby of the weekend, we hop over the Atlantic Ocean to Belo Horizonte, Brazil.The ‘Mineiro Classic’ is the biggest derby in Belo Horizonte, in which Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro battle it out for footballing superiority in the state of Minas Gerais. Holding a total of 70 trophies each, both clubs are incredibly popular in Minas Gerais and their record against each other is very balanced – in just over 450 matches, both sides have yet to reach 200 wins. Brazilian football is full of passion and excitement, but the ‘Mineiro Classic’ is an intensified version of this. They drew 1-1 the last time they met each other in the league (only last week!), so it's all to play for on Sunday.