Preview: Champions League hopefuls clash in a monumental weekend in the CSL

League football is back after the midweek cup games and boy there are some mouth-watering clashes to look forward to.

The games this weekend kick off with bottom placed Yanbian Funde welcoming fellow relegation threatened Jiangsu Suning. Yanbian have had a slight increase in fortunes with 4 points in their last two games putting them just two points of safety. Jiangsu lost their first game in four matches last weekend after two draws and two wins before that. They sit in 13th place with 18 points but a defeat today could pull them right back into the relegation picture.

The league’s in-form side Guizhou Zhicheng take on second placed Shanghai SIPG. SIPG got a much-needed morale boosting victory over top placed Guangzhou Evergrande in their cup semi-final in midweek. Guizhou have won 4 games on the trot. A run that has helped them elevate themselves into 9th place outside the top half on head to head record only. A win over Shanghai would be the crowning jewel of a fairytale season for the impressive newcomers.

The first clash of significance in the Champions League races of this weekend sees Hebei China take on Beijing Guoan. Both teams sit level on points with Guangzhou R&F separating the two. The three teams are just two points behind Shandong Luneng in third. Beijing are on a seven-game unbeaten streak while Hebei have won two of their previous three games. The winner of this clash would get a much-needed morale boost.

Tianjin TEDA and Liaoning Whowin are separated by one point and one position in the table. They could swap places this Saturday should TEDA secure their first win after a run of four consecutive losses. The run has seen TEDA slip into the relegation spot. Whowin have lost their previous three fixtures after the surprise win over Changchun Yatai.

Guangzhou take on Shanghai Shenhua as they look to build on their five point advantage at the top of the table. They will be without the dominating force of Paulinho who completed his switch to Barcelona. Shenhua are having a poor season and they sit in 11th position.

Tianjin Quanjian travel to Changchun Yatai having dropped out of the top 3 last week after a third draw in four games. They remain just a point below Shandong in third but teams like R&F, Hebei and Beijing remain ready to fight for the points dropped by Tianjin. Changchun are unbeaten in three but were held to a surprise draw at bottom side Yanbian Funde last weekend.

In the match of the weekend, Guangzhou R&F take on Shandong Luneng. Luneng remain in third place two points ahead of Guangzhou. Even a win for Guangzhou won’t guarantee a place in the top 3, highlighting the competition for one of the most hotly and closely fought Champions League races. Guangzhou lost their first match after a run of 4 games with a win last weekend while Shandong have a draw, defeat and a win in their last three matches.

Henan Jianye welcome Changchun Yatai in the final match of the weekend on Sunday. Henan are winless in five matches while Yatai lost their third match in four games last weekend. Henan must be sweating with their form and separation with the relegation teams causing discomfort for fans and owners alike.