Salzburg have dominated the Austrian league for nine seasons in a row, usually winning the league long before the end of the competition. Last year, they held a 15-point gap over Sturm Graz in the table, however this time the same team is causing them a lot more trouble.
With three rounds to go, Salzburg lead by just three points and the league is likely to go down to the wire.
Sturm's performance and presence at the top of the table are not down to luck, the data shows that they have been Salzburg's equal for a long time. According to the expected points metric, which looks at the quality of the goal scoring opportunities created and allowed and then calculates how likely a team is to win, lose or draw a match, the current position of both teams is equal. Indeed, Sturm should only be three points behind its title rival.
Both opponents stand out above the rest of the league not only offensively, but especially in their defensive play. They are allowing their opponents an average of 0.80 expected goals (xG) per game, while the third best defensive record, held by LASK, is at 1.23.
Salzburg will be missing long-term injured central midfielder Luka Sucic (20) for this weekend's match, who was joined by striker Noah Okafor (22) on the injury list in late April. Around the same time, experienced captain Andreas Ulmer (37) is one of two 30-somethings in a squad full of young and talented players, is on paterntity leavea and his place on the side for the duel is uncertain. But, none of the other key players should be missing.
The first time the two teams met was in July, when Sturm won narrowly 2-1, and the second time was at the end of April, when Salzburg won 2-0. Each time it was a cautious and very balanced spectacle that did not offer much beauty to the impartial football fan.
The defending champion was better on expected goals in both cases, albeit only slightly, at 0.76 and 0.74 in the first match and 0.83 - 0.42 in the second. If the visitors are to surprise, now is the time. They may not have a similar opportunity for league glory for a long time.
The order of the top three places in the Fortuna Liga table has most likely been decided, but the question of who, together with the two most famous Prague clubs and Viktoria Plzen, will secure their participation in next season's European Cups remains to be decided. The coveted fourth place currently belongs to Bohemians, but Slovacko is one point behind them in fifth place.
Although Olomouc's chances, given their five-point deficit and three remaining matches, are only theoretical, that doesn't mean that the Hanaks couldn't still give their remaining opponents a good run for their money. They did it last time in Plzen and next up could be Slovacko on Saturday.
The team from Uherske Hradiste have been praised for its well-functioning defence at certain stages of the season, but Olomouc has been unfairly forgotten. Sigma has the third best defence in the league behind Slavia Prague and Sparta Prague. According to the expected goals metric, they allow their opponents a very low volume of dangerous chances, averaging only 0.92 xGa, which is less than Plzen, Slovacko or Mlada Boleslav.
While both teams are similar in terms of the quality of chances created, Olomouc will have the opportunity to exploit several of their opponents' weaknesses.
Martin Svedik's charges have visible difficulties with defending standard situations. Only the trio of Pardubice, Teplice and Ceske Budejovice allowed more dangerous chances. Vaclav Jilek's team created a good amount of chances from standard situations and scored the lowest number of goals in the whole league when defending them. Even if Bohemians lose to Sparta this weekend, Slovacko will not have it easy in this long-distance clash.
Although the home side have a promising-looking five-point buffer on the relegation places with three rounds to go in the Ligue 1 season, they face the toughest lot of all the teams still threatened by dropping down to Ligue 2.
A team that, under coach Pascal Gastien (59), hasn't lost in the league since mid-March and since then has managed to climb to eighth place.
Although Brest is the bookmakers' favourite in the match (probably because of the importance of the game on their side and also the home advantage), beating Clermont will not be easy. In terms of chances allowed, only Marseille, Lille and Rennes have better defences in their last seven games.
Such a low sample of duels is also largely due to the luck of the draw, which has thrown Clermont into the path of below-average Troyes, Ajaccio or Angers during this run of results, but they have managed to win against Nice, Reims and most recently Lyon.
In a sample of the whole season, Clermont have allowed their opponents an average of 1.35 expected goals per game and are therefore slightly better than Brest (1.43). There will be a duel between two balanced goalkeepers and the same goes for the attacks, which are almost identical in terms of the quality of chances created and goals scored.
From an analytical point of view, it won't be a surprise if Clermont extends its streak without a loss by another game.