The Bundesliga is back on the agenda for fans of European soccer once again this weekend, with two of the top sides in the country going head-to-head in the marquee match of the round.
The two favorites for the Premier League title are also in action in intriguing fixtures. The third place side travel to the team in sixth, while the league leaders face a massive mental examination, when they welcome the reigning champions. Elsewhere, there are exciting clashes to savour in Spain and Italy too.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
Saturday, January 23, 12:30PM, NBC, NBC Universo and NBC Sports Live Extra
West Ham can move to within one point of the top four in Saturday’s lunchtime fixture, as they get set to face title-chasing Manchester City in what’ll be an absorbing game.
The Hammers missed the chance to stay in touch with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at the weekend, as they suffered a disappointing loss to Newcastle United. But against the elite sides who try to play expansive football, Slaven Bilic’s men have fared pretty well overall this term.
City’s away form is still something of a concern, but on the back of a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in their last outing, they’ll head to the Boleyn Ground with confidence. Sergio Aguero seems to be recovering full fitness too and once he’s back fully in the groove, Manuel Pellegrini’s team are a completely different proposition.
West Hame won this fixture 2-1 last season and already have a 2-1 win secured over City at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the campaign. The visitors can go back to the summit of the table with a win here though, which means the Hammers will have to bring their absolute best into this game if they’re to pick up a victory.
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Borussia Dortmund
Saturday, January 23, 12:30PM, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Soccer 2GO
The Bundesliga returns after its customary winter break and the tie of the weekend will see Borussia Monchengladbach host title-chasing Borussia Dortmund.
On their day, BMG are capable of getting the better of any side. That much was evident before the break when the thumped league leaders Bayern Munich 3-1 at Borussia Park and remarkably, after losing their first five games of the season, they’re now up to fourth. Andre Schubert will be hoping he can get some more consistency from his players in the second half of the campaign.
Dortmund will still have slender hopes of challenging the might of Bayern. In any other campaign, the form of Thomas Tuchel’s side would be enough to see them well in the mix for glory, having won a very impressive 12 of their 17 games so far. But a disappointing loss to FC Cologne in their last Bundesliga outing sees Bayern eight points clear.
BVB are wonderful to watch though, having scored a whopping 47 goals from their 17 matches so far, mostly due to the stellar form of their star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Monchengladbach have plenty of attacking talent themselves too, meaning we should see plenty of eye-catching play at Borussia Park this weekend.
Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla
Atletico Madrid are there to be shot at atop La Liga and will want to keep the pressure up on the chasing pack when they welcome Sevilla to the Vicente Calderon on Sunday.
Another win, another clean sheet; the 3-0 win at Las Palmas was a similar story for Atletico Madrid, who remain top despite heavy wins for both Barcelona and Real Madrid last weekend. Diego Simeone’s side have conceded a meagre eight goals in La Liga this season and with Antoine Griezmann banging in the goals up front, are beginning to look like potential title winners.
After a very poor start to the season, Sevilla have been making steady progress up the table recently. Unai Emery’s side have lost just one of their last eight in the top flight, but remain pretty poor on the road. This term the Europa League winners have picked up a meagre five points from nine matches.
The Vicente Calderon is a very difficult place to take points from and while it will take a monumental effort from Sevilla to avoid defeat, they have the players capable of causing Atletico problems. Therefore it’s a match which will test us plenty about how seriously we should be taking Simeone’s side.
Arsenal vs. Chelsea
Sunday, January 24, 11:00AM, NBCSN, Telemundo and NBC Sports Live Extra
London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea meet this weekend, with the latter hoping the scupper the title ambitions of the former at the Emirates Stadium.
With Manchester City and Leicester City both playing on Saturday, the Gunners could find themselves down in third position by the time this one gets underway. But it’s imperative Arsene Wenger’s side showcase a steeliness which all potential champions require and put a side to the sword who are languishing in the bottom half of the table.
Of course, it’s Chelsea crown they are trying to claim and given the Blues are miles off the pace this season, those supporters traveling to the Emirates will do so hoping their side can at least knock their rivals off course. If Guus Hiddink’s men entertain any hopes of a push for European place, they’re also running out of games in which they can realistically drop points.
Mentally, facing Chelsea has been a difficult challenge for Arsenal in recent years, especially when Jose Mourinho was at the helm of the Blues. Given the Portuguese has departed and given the champions remain vulnerable, the Gunners will never get a better chance to put one over on their illustrious rivals.
Juventus vs. Roma
Juventus will continue their pursuit of the Serie A summit this weekend against a Roma side who are out of sorts at the moment.
A sensational 4-0 win over Udinese in their previous league outing extended the Bianconeri’s recent winning run to 10 league games and coming into this weekend they trail leaders Napoli by just two points. Summer signing Paulo Dybala has really come to the fore during this run, showing his quality with two goals and two assists against Udinese.
After the dismissal of Rudi Garcia Luciano Spalletti will be tasked with turning the Giallorossi’s campaign around. Roma have been the team closest to Juve in the last couple of seasons, but after a bright start this term have fallen well off the pace. They now trail Napoli by nine points, having won just one of their last eight games.
Juventus continue to build momentum and while Napoli are looking sensational themselves at the moment, it’s imperative they keep the pressure up on the league leaders. Although Roma are in a bit of a mess, three points against an established elite side will add more momentum to Massimiliano Allegri’s rampant champions.
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