Club football returns with a bang this weekend, though, with huge football derbies in England, Italy, and Spain involving some of Europe’s best teams.
The final international break of 2017 brought with it plenty of action – if not plenty of goals – as the remaining World Cup places were filled up to complete the list of 32 teams who will be competing in Russia next year.
Here, we pick out the biggest and best football derbies across Europe this weekend.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Saturday, 12.30pm)
The first North London derby of the season takes place this Saturday as Arsenal host local rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium knowing that defeat is not really an option if they are to cling on in the title race.
Defeat to Premier League leaders Manchester City before the international break means that Arsenal are now 12 points behind Pep Guardiola’s side – a gap which could grow to 15 should result go against them this weekend.
Top four remains the primary target this season, but Arsenal currently sits down in sixth place with three points separating them from fourth-place Chelsea, so even at this stage of the season, this could be a make-or-break derby for Arsene Wenger’s side.
Spurs are faring better than their North London neighbours, sitting level on points with Manchester United as City’s closest challengers, but the relentless form of Man City means that anything other than victory could also have a big impact on their title hopes.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side has won five of their last six Premier League outings and four of their five on the road this season, although their most recent away game saw them beaten by fellow title hopefuls Manchester United.
Arsenal have not beaten Tottenham in the league in their last six attempts, and this match should have a little extra spice as it will be their first meeting since Spurs ended their 22-year wait to finish above the Gunners in the table last season.
Roma vs. Lazio (Saturday, 5pm)
Roma will host local rivals Lazio in the Derby della Capitale this weekend as one of Europe’s most fiercely-contested derby matches enters its latest chapter.
Just one point and one place separate the two sides in the Serie A table as things stand, with Lazio currently occupying the final Champions League spot and Roma hot on their heels.
Both teams have a game in hand over the three above them in the table, though, and they will go into this match at the shared Stadio Olimpico in fine form.
Roma have won their last five matches across all competitions and nine of their 11 outings in Serie A this season, also boasting the best defensive record in the division with seven clean sheets.
Lazio, meanwhile, are on a nine-match winning streak – their best run of form this century – and have dropped only five points all season.
Roma have won four of the last five Serie A meetings and only lost one of the last nine, although that did come in the corresponding fixture last season when Lazio ran out 3-1 winners.
Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid (Saturday, 7.45pm)
One of the biggest and most thrilling football derby in the Spanish Primera division
There is nothing to separate Atletico and Real heading into Saturday’s Madrid derby, with the two sides sitting level on points in La Liga after 11 matches of the season.
Real Madrid are in the unfamiliar position of third place, though, and with eight points already separating them from arch-rivals Barcelona, there is no margin for error on their first visit to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Barca’s only dropped points so far this season came away to Atletico, though, so Zinedine Zidane’s side will not need telling how tough it will be to come away from their home of their city rivals with maximum spoils.
The visitors have lost two of their last three games but returned to winning ways before the international break with a 3-0 triumph over Las Palmas.
Atletico, meanwhile, are unbeaten in eight and have lost just once in their 16 outings across all competitions this season, although nine of those matches have ended in stalemates – a result which would not do either side any favours on Saturday.
Real won the corresponding fixture last season on their final league visit to the Vicente Calderon, but that is their only triumph in their past eight away games against Atletico.