Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs do battle in a tasty DStv Premiership clash on Sunday, but the weekend is filled with other crucial games as each one has a bearing on both ends of the table or the fight for a top-eight place.
The mighty clash in Pretoria is between two of the traditional so-called “Big Three”, but these clubs find themselves in very different spaces at the moment.
Sundowns sit proudly on top of the Premiership and look to be marching onto a fourth successive title, even as they grow a little weary after the exertions of the season to date.
Chiefs are locked in a battle just to make the top eight and have won only five of their 22 league games so far this campaign, placing them in danger of a lowest-ever league finish (which is currently ninth).
They have seemingly managed to raise themselves for the big games lately though and this is another chance to make a major statement to fans after their Soweto Derby success against Orlando Pirates last month.
Only Swallows FC (13) and Golden Arrows (11) have endured more than Chiefs’ 10 draws this campaign though and they take on a Sundowns side who have gone a record 21 games unbeaten in this league season (W13 D8).
For Chiefs’ misfiring strikers, it will be tough to penetrate a defence that has let in only 11 goals in 21 games, and they will be reliant on Sundowns making some mistakes with their tired legs. For the Brazilians, this will be their eighth game in 23 days, a punishing schedule that has tested them physically and mentally.
The last four meetings between the sides have all seen a result, with three wins for Sundowns and one for Chiefs. Curiously, all of those wins for The Brazilians came away, with their last home success against Chiefs coming all the way back in 2016.
Leopards v SuperSport — 3 pm
Stellenbosch v Celtic — 3 pm
AmaZulu v TS Galaxy — 5 pm
CT City v Tshakhuma — 5 pm
Swallows v Pirates — 5 pm
Sundowns v Chiefs — 3 pm
Chippa v Arrows — 3 pm
Meanwhile, AmaZulu’s club record number of consecutive league wins (six) came to an end in midweek when they played to a 0-0 draw with Sundowns, but they will take plenty of heart from the performance as they went toe-to-toe with the champions-elect.
Usuthu have kept a clean sheet in their last six matches, which is also a club record, but the goals have dried up a little — they have only managed more than one in a game once (2-0 v TTM, home) in the last seven outings.