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Cities of goals

March sees some of European football’s great rivals go head-to-head. Whether it’s Milan, London, Rome, Barcelona, Brussels or Moscow, Matt Barker has all the info you need on this season’s hot-ticket derby days

Inter Milan vs AC Milan

When: March 11
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Via Piccolomini 5, Milan The derby della Madonnina (derby of the Little Madonna) is one of European football’s great city-dividing fixtures.

There’s no real geographical distinction between the two Milanese clubs, although the Nerazzurri (’black and blues’, meaning Inter) have always had a slightly more aristocratic air, probably because their first stadium was located in one of the posher parts of the city. They also retain a touch of rebellion. Having originally been set up as a breakaway club in 1908, Internazionale grew to eclipse their cousins in terms of support and – initially, at least – trophies.

Catching a game at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium (known to most as the San Siro because of the district it’s in) is always a treat, with the sight of those distinctive turrets guaranteed to get hearts racing. The stadium is a short hop on the metro from Piazza del Duomo to the Lotto MM1 station, from where you can catch a bus or take a 10-minute walk to the ground.

This being Milan, pre-match drinking tends to be of the caffeinated variety. Anyone looking for something stronger should stay in the centre. Nip over to Via Fiori Chiari in the heart of Brera for the best of the city’s bars, from Anglo-style boozers such as El Tombon de San Marc (Via San Marco 20), to more sophisticated spots like Sans Egal (Via Fiori Chiari 2) for an al fresco negroni or two.

Hotels

No budget Grand Hotel Brun (Via Caldera 21, tel. +39 02 452711). A four-star hotel just a corner kick away from the Giuseppe Meazza stadium.

Budget Montebianco (Via Monte Rosa 90, tel. +39 02 4801 2130). A stroll from the ground and close to the Lotto metro station.

See www.inter.it for ticket details.

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid

When: March 11
Where: Camp Nou, Avinguda Aristides Maillol, Barcelona There’s no denying the romance and glamour of the Camp Nou side, but the atmosphere at Barça games can be a little wanting. All that changes when Real Madrid come to town.

El Clasico brings a much-needed edge to proceedings: echoes of the Spanish Civil War still ring down from history, but with so much migration between the two cities, things have become a little more complicated.

Or perhaps they haven’t; Louis Figo’s transfer to los Blancos and his subsequent treatment on returning to his old club in October 2000 (a severed pig’s head was thrown onto the pitch) heralded a return to good old-fashioned footballing partisanship, with the politics left to one side.

Soak up the pre-game atmosphere on the Travessera de les Corts, opposite the stadium and home to a smattering of busy bars – Grupeto, at number 274, comes highly recommended. Or you can enjoy a wider choice back on Las Ramblas and catch the metro (Line Three, stops Maria Cristina or Les Corts; Line Five, Collblanc or Badal).

Hotels

No budget Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel (Plaza Pio XII 4, tel. +34 93 508 1000). Suitably sporty, and the city centre is a 10-minute taxi ride away.

Budget Hotel L’Alguer (Passatge Pere Rodríguez 20, tel. +34 93 334 6050). A bright but basic stop-over.

See www.fcbarcelona.com for ticket details.

RSC Anderlecht vs Standard Liège

When: April 7
Where: Constant Vanden Stock Stadion, avenue Théo Verbeecklaan 2, Brussels This is Belgium’s very own Classique, contested by les Rouges of Liège and les Mauves of Anderlecht in Brussels.

While not a city derby, this is a tale of two cities and of different cultures and playing styles. Working-class Liège are big on passion. Anderlecht, a team of the bourgeoisie, think themselves altogether more elegant (their stadium restaurant, the Saint-Guidon, actually boasts a Michelin star).

The Brussels side comfortably top their rivals when it comes to silverware (including 28 Belgian championships), but Standard are hugely popular in their heartland of Wallonia and will be desperate to defeat their old foes.

If you can’t get a ticket, stay in Brussels centre for pre-match drinks before jumping on the tram to Saint-Guidon (it’s a five-minute walk from the station). Bar hop along the Grand’Place or try l’Archiduc (6 Rue Antoine-Dansaert), an art deco gem where you’re bound to find a few mauve scarves.

Hotels

No budget Hotel le Prince de Liège (Chaussée de Ninove 662, tel. +32 (0)2 255 1600). Centrally located with a restaurant big on Brabantine cuisine. Budget Scandinavia Hotel Brussels (Chaussée de Mons 115, tel. +32 (0)2 221 0200). The well-stocked Blue Elephant bar is a patriotic flag-waver for local beers.

See www.rsca.be for ticket information.

AS Roma vs SS Lazio

When: April 29
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Via Foro Italico, Rome The two main clubs of the Eternal City have long been sworn enemies, with the Giallorossi (Roma, the ‘yellow and reds’) dismissing their Biancocelesti (Lazio, the ‘white and sky blues’) rivals as suburban hicks. Lazio, meanwhile, take issue with Roma’s supposed migrant roots.

Roma, playing attacking football with a mainly Italian spine have won over plenty of neutrals of late, and will be looking for revenge after their 3–0 drubbing earlier in the season.

Lazio have struggled after their last Scudetto victory in 2000 and, with an 11-point deduction for their part in Italy’s corruption scandal, have pretty much written this season off. However, doing the double on the Romanisti would ensure that Laziali look back on 2006– 07 with huge affection.

Fans congregate in the city centre before heading out en masse to the Olimpico. They also tend to leave early to set up their choreographed spettacoli. Join them at the top of Piazza del Popolo before jumping on the Tram 2. But be warned: trouble is a common problem, so wear something neutral. In the absence of bars around the stadium, stick to the usual suspects on Via del Corso or down on Campo dei Fiori.

Hotels

No budget Grand Hotel Hermitage (Via E Vajna 12, tel +39 06 807 0454). An elegant bolt-hole near the Olimpico. Budget Hotel Flaminius (Via Frassineto 21, tel. +39 06 332 1204). With La Celsa metro stop just outside, this is handy for getting into the city centre.

See www.asromacalcio.it for ticket details.

Arsenal vs Chelsea

When: May 5
Where: The Emirates Stadium, 75 Drayton Park, London While every Gooner (Arsenal fan) looks forward to the big north London derby against neigbours Tottenham, Chelsea’s desire to ‘own London’ has done little to endear them to fans of the English capital’s most successful side.

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger will be keen to remind the rouble-rich West Londoners that splashing the cash isn’t the only way to build a winning team. For Chelsea manager José Mourinho’s men, it’s all about local bragging rights.

On match days, the streets around Highbury are filled with red and white and every pub is packed. Head to the Highbury end of trendy Upper Street in Angel, about a 25-minute walk from the ground, to soak up the atmosphere with a few pints of match-day lager. Try The Alwyne near Highbury Corner (83 St Paul’s Road) for the full experience.

Hotels

No budget Hilton London Islington (53 Upper Street, tel. +44 (0)20 7354 7700). Deep in the heart of Arsenal country with the brand new Emirates Stadium a short hop away.

Budget Arlington Avenue Hotel (Arlington Avenue, tel. +44 (0)7711 265183). Smart Islington townhouse with a nice boho air.

See www.arsenal.com for ticket details.

Spartak Moscow vs CSKA Moscow

When: TBC
Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Luzhnetskaya nab 24, Moscow The ‘Meat’ against the ‘Horses’ is the biggest game in Russian football. Spartak are the Meat, so-called because of their previous associations with food companies, CSKA the Horses, a legacy of the days when members of the Russian cavalry would turn out to play.

CSKA are the current champions and, with a cash injection from oil company Sibneft (previously owned by Chelsea’s Roman Abramovich), have been attracting some high-profile players. Spartak, with its roots in Soviet trade unions, are seen very much as the people’s club. Game on.

Spartak’s Luzhniki Stadium is in the Khamovniki district, best known as Leo Tolstoy’s birthplace. The nearest metro stop is Sportivnaya. The Khamovniki Beer Factory has its own bar, which is very popular with locals for its cheap ale (Lev Tolstogo St). For post-match fun, Keks (Ul Timura Frunze 11) is a hip nightclub that – rare for Moscow – is both cheap and cheerful.

Hotels

No budget Hotel Baltschug Kempinski (1 Ulitsa Baltschug, tel. +7 495 230 5500). Home to an excellent restaurant. Budget Izmailovo Gamma-Delta Hotel (71 Izmailovskoye, tel. +7 095 737 7070). Large complex with English-speaking staff.

See www.cskafootball.ru and www.eng.spartak.com for more information.

Villes au but

Le ‘derby de la petite Madonna’ aura lieu ce 11 mars lors de la rencontre entre l’Inter et l’AC Milan au stade Giuseppe Meazza. Pour une boisson un peu plus corsée que le petit café serré milanais, allez direction la Via Fiori Chiari.

Le 11 mars verra aussi le face à face Barcelona et Real Madrid au Camp Nou. Commencez à vous plonger dans l’atmosphère de l’avant match sur la Travessera de les Corts.

Le RSC Anderlecht et le Standard de Liège se rencontreront au stade Constant Vanden Stock à Bruxelles, le 7 avril. Les passions convergent toujours vers Liège même si le sporting d’Anderlecht se distingue par sa position confortable en coupe. Un petit verre avant le match? Rendez-vous sur la Grand Place ou au bar chic l’Archiduc.

Fin avril, l’AS Rome et la Lazio seront en compétition au stade Olympique de Rome. La composition majoritairement italienne et talentueuse de l’équipe marque son empreinte au club de Rome tandis que Lazio se bat durement pour rattraper le retrait de ses 11-points. Vous serez prévenu: ne portez que des couleurs neutres. Et pour vous désaltérer, préférez les endroits de perdition habituels sur la Via del Corso ou au Campo dei Fiori.

A Londres, l’Emirates Stadium accueillera l’Arsenal contre le Chelsea, le 5 mai. Arsene Wenger, le manager de l’Arsenal a apporté au club son lot de jeunes euro-talents, tandis que les hommes de Jose Mourinho revendiquent leur ancrage local. Essayez le Junction à Highbury Corner, le lieu traditionnellement réservé à la chope les jours de match.

Le match Spartak contre CSKA Moscou se déroulera au stade Luzhniki à Moscou. Les gens de l’endroit le désignent comme ‘la viande contre les chevaux’, en raison de l’association par le passé de Spartak avec des industries alimentaires et en référence aussi à l’époque où les membres de la cavalerie russe jouaient au CSKA. Pour passer un moment agréable après le match, on vous recommande le Keks, un nightclub chaleureux et pas cher.

Steden die scoren!

Op 11 maart geven Inter en AC Milaan elkaar partij in het Giuseppe Meazzastadion. Wie in de aanloop naar deze klapper iets sterkers wil dan een typisch Milanese koffie, kan terecht op de Via Fiori Chiari. Op 11 maart kruisen Barcelona en Real Madrid de degens in het Nou Camp-stadion. Sfeer vind je op de Travessera de les Corts. Op 7 april is het de beurt aan Anderlecht en Standard Luik in het Constant Vanden Stock Stadion in Brussel. Het gedistingeerde Anderlecht tegen het vurige Luik… Een drankje vooraf kan in de buurt van de Grote Markt of in de trendy Archiduc. Eind april volgt de clash tussen Roma en Lazio in het Stadio Olimpico. Roma doet het erg goed met zijn voornamelijk Italiaanse kern, terwijl Lazio worstelt met een handicap van 11 punten. Neutrale kleuren dragen is de boodschap! Voor drinks ben je op de Via del Corso of Campo dei Fiori aan het juiste adres. Het Emirates Stadium wordt op 5 mei het toneel voor de topper Arsenal-Chelsea. Arsenal-coach Arsene Wenger verzamelde rond zich een resem jonge Europese talenten, terwijl Jose Mourinho zijn mannen het nodige superioriteitsgevoel inpompt. Dorst voor de match wordt gelest in de Junction op Highbury Corner. Spartak en CSKA Moskou nemen het tegen elkaar op in het Luzhniki stadion in Moskou. Locals hebben het over de strijd tussen het Vlees en de Paarden: Spartak werd oorspronkelijk gesponsord door een vleesfabriek, CSKA ontstond als de club van de Russische cavalerie. Achteraf trek je naar Keks, een bruisende en betaalbare nachtclub.

b.there!

Brussels Airlines flies to more than 50 premium European destinations, including Rome, Milan, Moscow and London.

Book now at www.brusselsairlines.com

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