The previous round of the FA Cup was fantastic to watch, and supporters across the globe will be on alert again for upsets when the competition gets back underway again this weekend.
There are two intriguing ties to savor from that tournament to look forward to, as well as a pair of fascinating matches to sample from the Bundesliga too. A match involving one of Spain’s most in-form rounds off the top five games of the weekend.
All kickoff times are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Borussia Dortmund vs. Mainz 05
Friday February 13, 2:30PM, GolTV and fuboTV PRO
Jurgen Klopp’s side picked up a vital win in their last domestic outing and the Dortmund boss will be hoping to make it two wins in a row when he welcomes his former team Mainz 05 to the Westfalenstadion.
Dortmund were rooted to the bottom of the table up prior to going up against fellow strugglers Freiburg and after the fan anger that was wholly apparent after their home loss to Augsburg, a big performance was needed. Thankfully for the supporters, BVB showcased some of their old swagger, running in three goals and moving out of the bottom two spots.
Marco Reus is a player who Klopp will be looking to help fire Dortmund out of this predicament and he netted the opening goal in the aforementioned win. The German international’s new contract will have given everyone at the club a big lift and his world-class offensive talents make BVB a major attacking threat despite their problems.
Mainz are a team that need wins themselves, though. Three points for the hosts here would put them level on points with Klopp’s former employers and there’s a danger they could potentially be sucked into a relegation scrap if they don’t get their own act together sooner rather than later.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Wolfsburg
Saturday February 14, 9:30AM, MyGermanTV
Wolfsburg have been in wonderful form since the winter hiatus, picking up emphatic wins over Bayern Munich and Hoffenheim either side of a draw away at Eintracht Frankfurt. But they’ll face big test of their Champions League credentials when they tackle Bayern Leverkusen at the Bay Arena this weekend.
Leverkusen are a dangerous team with a host of quality attacking players. Hakan Calhanoglu, Son Heung-min and Karim Bellarabi boast an array of incisive, intricate attributes in attacking midfield, while Lars Bender holds everything together at the nexus of this Leverkusen team. A lack of consistency means they’re currently languishing down in sixth spot however.
Nonetheless, they’ll still have eyes for a Champions League spot come the end of the season; Wolfsburg are one of the teams occupying those spots, but they seem to have no intentions whatsoever of letting it slip. Their 4-1 win over Bayern Munich recently was befitting of a top quality outfit and you suspect they won’t be looking over their shoulders with any great trepidation given their current form.
Kevin De Bruyne, Bas Dost, Andre Schurrle and Ivan Perisic form an enticing attacking quartet and they’ll be hopeful of getting at a Bayer defence that has been a little ropey in spells so far this season. A win here would do plenty to cement their status as the second best team in the Bundesliga.
Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool (FA Cup)
Saturday February 14, 12:30PM, FOX Soccer Plus & FOX Soccer 2GO
The FA Cup is back again this weekend and the tie of the round will see a much-improved Crystal Palace host high-flying Liverpool at Selhurst Park.
Brendan Rodgers’ team have been in superb from since the turn of the year and ahead of this one they picked up a morale-boosting victory in a classic game with Tottenham Hotspur. The Reds will be hoping to carry the momentum from that clash into the match in South London and after suffering poor results on their last two visits there, they’ll be desperate to put the record straight.
Palace remain a very tough team to get the better of however and under Alan Pardew they’re a side that are bristling with industry and endeavour. That was on show in earnest in the last round of this competition when they picked up a very impressive 3-2 win over Southampton at St. Mary’s.
With so many quality teams out of this competition, the FA Cup represents the best chance of a trophy for the Reds this season. But Palace are long overdue some major silverware and backed by a raucous home crowd, they’ll fancy their chances of getting their second win of the season over the Merseyside outfit.
Celta Vigo vs. Atletico Madrid
Sunday, February 15, 3pm, beIN SPORTS Espańol & DishWorld
Atletico Madrid were so impressive in their 4-0 rout of Real Madrid in their last La Liga encounter, but it’s critical that Diego Simeone’s side follow up that impressive performance with another slick showing at Celta Vigo.
The Rojiblancos turned in a complete performance to best the European champions in their previous match and with that win, they forced their way back into the title race. The holders trail Real by four points coming into this weekend meaning it’s imperative they keep the pressure on both their city rivals and second place Barcelona.
Encouragingly, players like Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann are beginning to blossom amidst Simeone’s bespoke set of principles. You suspect they’ll have to be at their incisive best in this one too, as they’ll be facing a Celta Vigo side that are compact, cohesive and will be very difficult to break down on home soil.
They’re languishing in tenth spot coming into this clash, but will be taking some concerned looks over their shoulders. Celta are just six points clear of the bottom three and given their profligacy problems in front of goal, they’ll be hoping to get a few wins on the board to push them away from trouble sooner rather than later.
Preston vs. Manchester United
Monday, February 16, 2:45PM, FOX Sports 1 & FOX Soccer 2GO
For the third consecutive round, Manchester United will have to negotiate lower league opposition away from home to progress in the FA Cup; this time it’ll be Preston North End looking to dispose of the Red Devils at what should be a packed-out Deepdale stadium.
Cambridge United gave Louis van Gaal’s side a really close run for their money in the last round and their efforts will give Preston some hope coming into this clash. North End are flying high on the cusp of this one too; they’ve won their last two League One matches, sit in fourth place in their division and will be eyeing automatic promotion come the end of the campaign.
The Red Devils should be too strong for the third tier side nonetheless, but they’ve been far from convincing in all competitions so far this season. Cambridge pushed them close and in their previous Premier League outing they were outplayed for longs spells by Burnley before eventually coming out on top 3-1.
The match at Deepdale will be a wonderful watch, though. Preston are a fine club that harbour some age-old traditions and the atmosphere conjured at the famous old stadium will surely galvanize the home side to a vibrant display. If United don’t get their act together, there could definitely be a shock on the cards.
Follow Matt on Twitter @MattJFootball
25+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, Liga MX, MLS & World Cup
- Includes ESPN, FOX, Univision, TUDN and more
Favorite Leagues At The Best Price
- Starting price: $7.99/mo. for Live TV Package
- Watch Argentine league, Brasileirāo and Copa Libertadores
- Includes beIN SPORTS, GolTV, TyC Sports and more
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, Copa del Rey & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
Live TV, Soccer & Originals
- Starting price: $4.99/mo.
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & more
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Get All 3 And Save 30%
- $13.99/mo. for ESPN+, Disney+ & Hulu
- Includes Bundesliga, LaLiga, NHL & the home to UFC
- Features Marvel, Star Wars + shows & movies for your entire family