Sometimes soccer weekends do just come together don’t they?
This one has the lot. Local derbies, historic rivalries, new rivalries and in the case of the Copa Libertadores final on Sunday afternoon, absolutely everything.
Overall, there’s very few overlaps too, meaning at least four of these fixtures can be enjoyed in full. It’s going to be some two days.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!
Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich
For the first time in a long time in the Bundesliga, it appears as though we may have a title race of some substance to look forward to.
Borussia Dortmund have once again emerged as the most likely challengers to the monopoly Bayern Munich have had on the German top-flight prize. This fixture, in front of their own supporters and with a four-point lead intact against their rivals, feels like a chance for them to really assert themselves as a force to be reckoned with.
Bayern appear to have slowly overcome the crisis that left manager Nico Kovac under major pressure earlier in the campaign and although they aren’t playing with a swagger quite yet, they are at least getting results. Last week’s draw at home to Freiburg showed there is still a lot of work to do, though.
Regardless of what happens on Saturday the league leaders will still be Borussia Dortmund. However, there’s a huge difference between a one-point and a seven-point gap; a win for the home side may just make them favorites to top the table come the season’s end.
Boca Juniors vs. River Plate
The first leg of the Copa Libertadores final will take place on Saturday; with bitter rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate set to take part in it, the final is the most anticipated one for a generation.
Such is the animosity between the two teams, no away fans will be permitted to attend either Saturday’s game at the Bombonera nor the return fixture at El Monumental in a couple of weeks time. Everyone appears keen to get a look at this showdown too, with Russian president Vladimir Putin set to be among the attendees.
Both Buenos Aires outfits were able to get the better of Brazilian opponents to make it this far. River Plate came through 2-2 on aggregate against Gremio, having won the second leg 2-1 on the road and progressed thanks to a controversial stoppage-time penalty from Gonzalo Martinez.
For Boca matters were much more straight forward, as three goals over the two legs from Dario Benedetto were enough to inspire them to a 4-2 aggregate win over Palmeiras. Despite Boca being the more impressive of the two sides in the semis, ahead of these much-anticipated matches there’s little to pick between these two historic outfits.
Manchester City vs. Manchester United
Following remarkable results for both Manchester outfits in the Champions League in midweek, this derby showdown has even more anticipation leading up to it.
The match will be at City’s Etihad Stadium and they are undoubtedly the favorites going into it. Not only did they hammer Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on Wednesday in Europe, in the Premier League they appear to be hitting their straps too, as they beat Southampton 6-1 on Sunday. Pep Guardiola’s side are irresistible on the eye and look unstoppable at the moment.
As for United, they picked up their best result under Jose Mourinho on Wednesday at Juventus. The Red Devils did ride their luck at the home of the Italian champions, although they dug in and scored a couple of late goals to pick up a famous 2-1 win. They’ll be buoyant heading across Manchester to their local enemies as a result.
While the Red Devils have been able to find their way through matches as of late, there are still issues to be resolved in their play. City away, at the moment, is the biggest examination of any weaknesses in the entire sport.
Milan vs. Juventus
Sunday November 11, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+
After their shock loss to Manchester United in the week, a trip to the San Siro to face an in-form AC Milan doesn’t look like an ideal fixture for Juventus.
In fairness to Juve they were unfortunate in midweek against the Premier League outfit. Once they went ahead thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning volley they had numerous chances to kill the game off, with the likes of Juan Cuadrado and Miralem Pjanic being profligate in front of goal. On another day, they waltz to victory.
In the main that’s what they’ve been doing in Serie A. While there are some concerns about the defensive setup of the team and the manner in which they’ve conceded chances at times, the attacking firepower provided by the likes of Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala is enough to see them through matches.
Despite talk of Arsene Wenger potentially becoming manager in midweek, Gennaro Gattuso remains in charge of Milan and they’re a team that have slowly started to forge an identity. Milan are up to fourth after five wins from their last six top-flight outings.
Monaco vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Speaking of fixtures that aren’t necessarily ideal, PSG’s visit to Monaco comes at the worst possible time for Thierry Henry, who is still looking for his first three points since taking over the principality club.
PSG, by contrast, have managed to settle into a record-breaking groove in Ligue 1. In European football’s top-five divisions no team has managed to win their opening 12 games before; they reached that landmark last Friday at the expense of Lille, extending their lead at the top to 11 points.
Monaco, the champions of this division in 2016-17, are gearing up for a relegation fight as things stand, as they languish in 19th spot. The Champions League provided little relief for them in midweek either, as they were hammered in 4-0 in embarrassing style by Club Brugge.
If Henry wasn’t aware of how difficult a job he had he will be now and while stranger things have happened in football, it’s hard to see how his team can muster enough to keep the PSG juggernaut from adding to their winning sequence.