5. WORLD: Ronaldinho prepares for Barca's stretch run

This weekend should be Barcelona's chance to stretch its lead in Spain's La Liga, but form has rarely held this season.

The two-time defending champion hosts Real Mallorca on Sunday (TV: WorldSport HD, live, 1 pm ET) and its two nearest rivals, Sevilla and Real Madrid, play on the road. But Barcelona has won only two of its last five games and seen its lead drop to one point over Sevilla and two over Real Madrid.

The Barcelona media have accused the Catalan club's stars of failing to pull their weight this season. Preparations for the Real Mallorca game were disrupted by the absence of Deco, Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o. Ronaldinho has been working with his own personal trainer to prepare for the stretch run in La Liga race.

Second-place Sevilla must play at Valencia, which will be looking to recover from its exit from the Champions League, on Sunday (TV: GolTV, live, 3 pm ET), while Real Madrid is at Racing Santander, which is unbeaten in its last seven games, on Saturday (TV: GolTV, live, 2 pm ET).

FRANCE. Lyon can clinch a record sixth consecutive title if it beats Sedan at home on Sunday (TV: Setanta Sports USA, live, 2:55 pm ET) and Lens and Toulouse fail to win against Nantes and Auxerre, respectively. Lyon leads Lens and Toulouse by 17 points with seven games to play in Ligue 1.

GERMANY. Brazilian playmaker Lincoln returns after a five-game suspension to lead Schalke 04 at Mainz on Saturday (TV: GolTV, live, 9:30 am ET). Schalke managed to hold on to ts lead at the top of the Bundesliga, taking a two-point advantage over Werder Bremen into weekend action. Schalke has never won a Bundesliga title since Germany's professional league began in 1963.

ITALY. Early in the season, Palermo was battling Inter Milan for the Serie A lead, but when it travels to the San Siro on Sunday (TV: GolTV, delay, 5 pm ET), it will be battling to hold on to fourth place. Palermo has earned just 10 points in its last 12 games to fall 32 points behind leader Inter. Palermo is just one point ahead of fifth-place AC Milan, which could leapfrog the Sicilian club into the fourth and final Champions League berth by winning at Messina on Sunday (GolTV, live, 9 am ET).
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