The Premier League returned in bombastic fashion last weekend and in the coming days three more major European competitions will get underway.
In La Liga, Real Madrid resume as the dominant force in European football, with Barcelona reeling from the loss of Neymar. But there are matches elsewhere that stand out, with two potentially brilliant contests in the Bundesliga and the first look at a new-look rising force in Serie A.
Elsewhere, in Ligue 1 the most expensive player in the history of the game will make his first appearance in front of home support. And in the Premier League, last season’s top two do battle at Wembley.
Read on for the five selected matches this weekend. Kick-offs are in Eastern Time; enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games.
BAYERN MUNICH VS. BAYER LEVERKUSEN
After a torrid pre-season, Bayern rediscovered some swagger in their Super Cup win against Borussia Dortmund. They’ll hope to bring that impetus into their Bundesliga curtain-raiser against Bayer.
In fairness to Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti, it’s been a summer of significant change for the club. That’s after Xabi Alonso and Munich icon Philipp Lahm hung up their boots at the end of the previous campaign; it’s little surprise they looked rudderless during some matches ahead of the big kick off.
Still, Ancelotti has the best squad in Germany at his disposal. Bayern have made some savvy signings too, with Corentin Tolisso, Niklas Sule, James Rodriguez and Sebastian Rudy arriving. It means there is class and depth in every position on the pitch, plus a sense of intrigue to see how Bayern will set up on Friday.
Heiko Herrlich’s side face the unenviable task of going to the Allianz Arena and trying to tame Bayern, especially after losing Javier Hernandez and Hakan Calhanoglu already this summer. It’ll take a special performance from Leverkusen if they’re to emerge with any kind of positive result here.
WOLFSBURG VS. BORUSSIA DORTMUND
A day after the big Bundesliga opener, Borussia Dortmund make the trip to Wolfsburg in a match that has the potential to be the most exciting of the weekend.
Dortmund’s buildup to the new season has been blemished by some transfer speculation. The club have suspended Ousmane Dembele after he missed training; that’s amid links to Barcelona, who have reportedly targeted him as a possible replacement for Neymar. Manager Peter Bosz, in his first league game, will be disappointed to see he is unavailable.