Is there any scenario that makes it acceptable to want your own team to lose?
In many respects, to pomp for the opposition goes against some of the game’s core mantras: Uniting behind a cause, backing 11 men who represent the supporters through thick and thin, no matter what. But what if a win for your team directly facilitates the ascent of a fierce and often bitter rival? Is it acceptable then?
The game has been littered with these instances, and supporters have responded in different ways. The most recent example being when a Liverpool side floundering in mid-table could have handed Manchester United the title with a victory over Chelsea at Anfield.
The majority backed their side regardless, but some were happy to see their team lose (as illustrated here), just this one time, to stop their bitter rivals sampling success. But it shone through that even though they had nothing to play for, the majority found it too unnatural a notion to go against their team.
As it happens, this intriguing scenario occurs again this weekend, with Liverpool supporters looking at things from an entirely different perspective this time around. They’ll be looking to grasp their opportunity should their title rivals slip up against local rivals.
Elsewhere, we’ve got the Italian Cup Final to sample, a vital clash in the Bundesliga and one of the most iconic derby matches in European football.
All kickoffs are in Eastern Time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy your football!
Hamburg SV vs. Bayern Munich
Saturday, 9:30AM ET, GolTV
Just two games to go in the Bundesliga, and Hamburg are still deep in the mire. They currently occupy one of the relegation playoff spots, just a point ahead of FC Nurnberg who are in 17th place. They desperately need the points to keep clear of one those automatic relegation places, but face a daunting task as they welcome Bayern Munich to the Imtech Arena.
But is this clash quite as daunting a task as it may have been earlier in the season. Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer certainly doesn’t think so, claiming earlier in the week that Hamburg should have enough to beat this Bayern side in their current form. Those quotes of course, coming after Pep Guardiola’s team were knocked out of the Champions League by a rampant Real Madrid.
In some respects, this could be the perfect game for Hamburg. Whilst they are certainly in dire need of the points, they’re not expected to get anything from this clash. But the significance of the game and the visit of the champions will definitely help crank up the atmosphere in the stadium, making for a fervent, raucous background.
It’d take an incredible finale if Hamburg were to haul themselves out of the relegation playoff spot, but a positive result in this game would give them a great chance of certain relegation.
Everton vs. Manchester City
Saturday, 12:30PM ET, NBC Sports Live Extra, CNBC
Manuel Pellegrini’s team face the toughest game of their remaining three fixtures as they face Everton at Goodison Park. The Toffees still have an outside chance of securing Champions League football for next season, but three wins for City in their final three games would see them crowned as champions.