A number of crunch league fixtures are pencilled in around the world this weekend with leaders, contenders and hopefuls squaring off in Argentina, Brazil and the USA. FIFA.com looks ahead to the action.
Brasileirao: Duo look to capitalise
With leaders Palmeiras not playing until Wednesday, against Cruzeiro, both Internacional and Sao Paulo have the opportunity to take top spot on their respective trips to Vitoria and Santo Andre.
Big game: Sixth place Corinthians, still without Ronaldo, and fifth-placed Goias will be looking to maintain their push for the top four and Copa Libertadores qualification. O Timão will be hoping to make amends for the recent draw with Cortiba that halted their ascent up the table, while their opponents arrive on a high having just qualified for the last 16 of the Copa Sudamericana.
Player to watch: Gremio's Jonas will be looking to move ahead of Adriano in the goalscoring charts (both currently stand on 12) when he comes up against a struggling Fluminense side seven points from safety at the foot of the table.
Argentinian Apertura: Frontrunners encounter
Round 5 involves a duel between two of the surprise early contenders, Rosario Central and Banfield. Elsewhere, San Lorenzo host Racing in a Buenos Aires derby and Independiente take on Velez Sarsfield, while, if Rosario fail to win, Estudiantes can go top with victory over Huracan.
Big game: First play third in Rosario. At the start of the season, Rosario Central coach Ariel Cuffaro Russo's bid was to avoid relegation. Now, with four wins from four, his young side lie two points clear at the top. Banfield, for their part, are unbeaten and, buoyed by last week's derby win over Lanus, will be looking for three points to stay in touch at the top.
Player to watch: Goalkeeper Pablo Migliore was one of Racing's key players during their impressive Clausura campaign, and the protracted saga of his move to San Lorenzo was big news in the close season. On Sunday he will face his former club for the first time and his reception from the visiting fans will add spice to a passionate encounter.
Chinese Super League: New leaders out to impress
Beijing Guoan will be looking to exorcise the ghosts of last weekend, when they fell from first to third, on their visit to second-from-bottom Shenzhen. Second-placed Changchun Yatai, meanwhile, aim to continue their impressive vein of form against Qingdao Jonoon. With only seven matches remaining the title race is hotting up and the run-in promises to be a hard-fought affair, with AFC Champions League places also up for grabs.
Big game: Fresh from victory over champions Shandong Luneng, new leaders Henan Jianye will be hoping for more of the same when they visit Shaanxi Zhongxin to continue their push for a maiden league title.
Player to watch: Henan's recent success is largely due to Emmanuel Olisadebe, who has hit nine goals in as many games. The former Poland international opened the scoring last week, but can he continue his goalscoring spree this matchday?
American Major League Soccer: Scramble for the play-offs
On paper at least, Western Conference leaders Houston Dynamo ought not to have too much trouble away to Real Salt Lake. By contrast, their closest challengers Los Angeles Galaxy and Seattle Sounders face tougher propositions as they host fellow play-off hopefuls Chivas USA and Toronto FC respectively.
Big game: Defeat for Columbus Crew on their visit to Chicago Fire would see their opponents leapfrog them at the top of the Eastern Conference, although they do have the advantage of a game in hand.
Player to watch: This same game will be the stage for two of the most in-form players in the country to showcase their talents. Crew's Argentinian striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto has chalked up ten goals so far this term. His opposite number on Sunday is Mexican marksman Cuauthemoc Blanco who, with five goals to his name, is enjoying something of an Indian summer with both club and country.
In the Australian A-League, new leaders Gold Coast United travel to fourth-placed Central Coast Mariners, who are unbeaten at home this season and boast the meanest defence. Ironically, the Mariners are also the league's lowest-scoring team with just five strikes to their name, a tally they will be hoping to improve on against the free-scoring United. Elsewhere, second-placed Sydney FC host Newcastle Jets, currently lying in sixth.
Toluca will be hoping to maintain their position at the summit of the Mexican Apertura when they play at home to Atlas. Hot on their heels are America and Monterrey, both just a point adrift, who travel to Queretaro and Pachuca respectively.
Having set a new K-League record with their 8-1 demolition of Jeju United on their last outing, Pohang Steelers play Jeonbuk Motors in a contest for second place. Leaders FC Seoul enjoy a break this weekend.