Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns set to light up PSL weekend
There will be many 'crucial' weekends before the end of the Premier Soccer League season, but this one coming feels particularly important for a number of reasons.
The showpiece fixture is no doubt the clash between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on Saturday night, a game that has the potential to be a real thriller.
Sundowns come into the game with three defeats in their last five matches, the reason why they have not already run away with the league title.
There is an odd vulnerability about their star-studded side, and another defeat would see the AmaKhosi move to within two points of Pitso Mosimane's men.
In contrast to Sundowns, Chiefs have taken 13 points from the last 15 available, and having at one stage looked well off the pace in the league title race, are now very much in it.
It has led to Mosimane suggesting this week he would "park the bus" in the game, though he is likely to do anything but that, instead pushing for a victory in the knowledge that it could effectively end Chiefs' title charge.
Mosimane is often dry and sarcastic in press conferences, enjoying sparring with journalists at times, so you never know his intentions or whether he truly believes what he is saying.
"Maybe we do five at the back‚" he told reporters this week, as per The Times Live. "I'm responding to what the table says. We don't want to lose at FNB. We have to be smart. We don't want to lose.
"You might not win but we are not losing. We have to be conservative‚ probably‚ why not. Maybe it's always the first time.
"We are playing away‚ so somebody [Chiefs] must attack. We will take it nice and easy in that match. They must also attack us. We will be very conservative.
"Give you the ball also. You must also come to us."
Mosimane then appeared to contradict himself and said he would go on the attack.
"They [Chiefs] have three centre-backs always and it works for them. Look where they are on the log. Maybe the best defence in the league.
"But I score more. I want goals. It's good to score three and have a clean sheet. I think that's a nice balance‚ let's be honest."
That is not the only key fixture this weekend, with ailing Ajax Cape Town hosting Free State Stars.
Ajax have lost four of their last five games, despite the arrival of new coach Muhsin Ertugral, and this is the kind of game they would expect to claim three points from despite Stars' fine league position.
Ertugral has repeated his belief that the team has played better with each match he has been in charge off, but that rings hollow if the team keeps losing.
Stars could go back to second and within three points of Sundowns with a victory, but are coming off a surprise 3-0 home loss to Maritzburg United.
That result has undone a lot of the good work the side has put in over the last few weeks, which led to four wins in a row under impressive Belgian coach Luc Eymael.
Maritzburg host Chippa United in the other match on Friday, with both teams looking to boost their top eight chances.
Bidvest Wits have taken seven points from the last nine available to ease their relegation woes, but remain near the foot of the table and will want to keep winning to push towards the top eight.
They are away at SuperSport United on Saturday evening, who have been in wretched form under coach Eric Tinkler.
SuperSport have just one win in their last 11 games, and on Tuesday conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Polokwane City.
There are also two matches with relevance at the foot of the table on Saturday afternoon as Polokwane host AmaZulu and bottom side Platinum Stars entertain Orlando Pirates.
Pirates trail Sundowns by seven points and any slip-ups now could be fatal to their title hopes.
Cape Town City travel to Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday, while Lamontville Golden Arrows host Baroka FC.