With one slip-up against Swansea City, Manchester City finds itself losing its footing in the race for the Premier League title, but it can get right back in the thick of things with a win on Wednesday. Chelsea, meanwhile, has found itself after Andre Villas-Boas' dismissal and is back in the race for a UEFA Champions League spot.
The two teams and their respective missions clash at Etihad Stadium (3:45 p.m., ESPN2/ESPN3.com), where stakes are high as the Premier League season approaches the final stretch.
City trails Manchester United by four points, but has a game in hand and can keep the pressure on their crosstown rivals by securing all three points against the Blues. Chelsea, which took their December meeting at Stamford Bridge by a 2-1 scoreline, is just three points behind Arsenal for fourth place and four points behind Tottenham for third after a crisis period in which it appeared the club might miss out on Europe next season altogether.
The game is just one of many intriguing battles headlining a big day of soccer around the globe. Here's a look ahead to some of the day's other top matches:
While City-Chelsea is the high-profile match of the day, there's plenty on the line when Tim Howard and Everton look to put a halt to Arsenal's five-game league winning streak at Goodison Park (4 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel). Arsenal have Chelsea and Newcastle hot on their tail and need to hold off the Toffees to maintain their table standing.
Elsewhere in the Premier League, Tottenham returns to the field for the first time since Saturday's abandoned FA Cup clash against Bolton to face Stoke City (3:45 p.m, FoxSoccer.tv), while struggling Queens Park Rangers will hope to get out of the relegation zone when they host Liverpool (4 p.m., Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv).
Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich have been in the Bundesliga title race all season long, and they collide in a high-profile DFB Pokal semifinal (3:30 p.m, ESPN3.com). Monchengladbach's rise from almost being relegated a year ago to title contender has been one of the stories in Europe this season, and claiming a cup victory over Bayern Munich would certainly qualify as the latest chapter in the club's tale.
The winner gets a date with Borussia Dortmund in the cup final.
After seeing Juventus get by AC Milan in Tuesday's Coppa Italia semifinal, Napoli and Siena do battle with the other place in the final on the line (3:45 p.m, ESPN3.com).
Siena has a surprising lead heading into the second leg after winning the first leg 2-1, but a late own goal opened the door for favored Napoli to strike back in the home leg.
While the record-setting Lionel Messi is a constant in the headlines, Real Madrid maintains its place in La Liga's driver's seat, though Barcelona has cut the table deficit to just five points. Madrid has a game in hand, which it will play at relegation-threatened Villarreal (5 p.m., GOLTV).
Perhaps the most entertaining bout on the Spanish slate for the day involves two mid-table teams, as Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao square off (3 p.m., ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes), with the winner still maintaining hope at fourth place and a spot in the Champions League. The team they are both chasing, Levante, is in action against Real Sociedad.
PSV Eindhoven and Heerenveen meet in the semifinals of the Dutch Cup, with the winner set to take on Thursday's winner between Jozy Altidore's AZ Alkmaar and Heracles.
Which Wednesday matches are you looking forward to? Who do you think will win the City-Chelsea bout?
Share your thoughts below.