Top 5 must-see soccer games: Sept. 27, 2018

We’re now into the rigour of the 2018-19 campaign and the extra workload taken on by teams prompted some intriguing results in midweek. The weekend will be an opportunity to bounce back for those who faltered.

And it’s one of those weekends where every fixture on the list seems to get better an better. There are capital derbies in Italy and Spain, top-of-the-table showdowns in Serie A and the Premier League, and a belter from the Bundesliga to get everything underway.

All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy the weekend and enjoy the games!


Hertha Berlin vs. Bayern Munich

Friday, September 28, 2:30 p.m. ET, FS1, UniMas, Univision Deportes Network, fuboTV, Sling Blue and PlayStation Vue (free trial)

One of the most surprising results of the week saw Bayern Munich slip up late against Augsburg at the Allianz Arena, succumbing to a 1-1 draw. They’ll be out to respond in the capital.

The tie, which came after former player Felix Gotze netted a let equaliser for the visitors, was the first time new manager Nico Kovac has failed to win as Bayern boss, as they weren’t able to put the game to bed early on. However, there won’t be any major worries as they head into the sixth week of the domestic season.

Hertha will believe they can spring an upset, though, as they’re in fourth in the early running after three wins, a draw and a loss in their first five. Up top Ondrej Duda has been a threat so far this season with four goals, while veteran striker Vedad Ibisevic has had an excellent start to the campaign too.

Bayern will be big favorites, but a confident team and a hostile Friday-night atmosphere awaits them in the capital. This one should be a brilliant way to get the weekend kickstarted.


Roma vs. Lazio

Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN+

For under pressure Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco, this weekend’s Derby della Capitale against Lazio comes at the worst possible time.

You sense a defeat here against their local rivals may spell the end for the coach, who has watched his side toil in the opening weeks of the 2018-19 season. Roma have been so inconsistent in Serie A and while they beat lowly Frosinone by a healthy margin in midweek, there’s no doubt there are still big issues to address in the setup.

What also makes the timing far from ideal is the fact that Lazio have found their best after a challenging start of their own, winning their last four in succession. In recent weeks they’ve looked a lot more like the free-scoring outfit that was so enjoyable to watch last season.

They will want to add to the misery of the Giallorossi here too, as a defeat would put Di Francesco in a perilous position. The midweek result appears to have given the Roma boss a stay of execution, but Lazio will be much more adept at exposing the flaws that have hindered the team in the early weeks of the season.


Juventus vs. Napoli

Saturday, September 29, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN+

In Serie A last season these two sides went head-to-head throughout the campaign in a thrilling chase for the title, only for Juventus to edge Napoli. If the latter have any desires of fighting for top spot again this season, then they need a result here.

Juventus have coasted through their first six Serie A games, giving Cristiano Ronaldo plenty of time to settle in as a Bianconeri player. In midweek Paulo Dybala got his first goal of the season too and manager Massimiliano Allegri will be looking to see if they can forge a partnership in the coming weeks.

Napoli are only three points back, though, and despite a change of manager and the loss of some key players, they’ve adapted well to the new regime under Carlo Ancelotti. The style has shifted since the departure of Maurizio Sarri, although Ancelotti has been able to find a way of getting these excellent players to function in a different way.

Last season this fixture saw one of the most dramatic moments of the season, as Kalidou Koulibaly’s towering header saw Napoli snatch a 1-0 win in stoppage time. A repeat of that result may ignite another title tussle between these two massive rivals.


Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Saturday, September 29, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, fuboTV, Sling Blue and PlayStation Vue (free trial)

Following on from their absorbing meeting in the League Cup at Anfield on Wednesday, Chelsea and Liverpool will write yet another chapter in their rivalry in the Premier League.

Chelsea won the meeting in midweek after coming from a goal down. The winner came courtesy of a stunning solo effort from Eden Hazard, who slalomed into the penalty area from the right flank past a couple of challenges and slammed a shot past Simon Mignolet. The Reds will need to do a better job containing him on Saturday.

Liverpool have been outstanding in the Premier League this season, though, and with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino set to return to the side this weekend they’ll have a lot more firepower available to them in the final third. If they can make it seven wins from seven to start the campaign, more title talk will be fuelled.

Both teams will be bold in this one and the midweek match showed that their respective styles should marry well to make for a fascinating contest. Whoever prevails will be feeling buoyant about what they can accomplish this term.


Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid

Saturday, September 29, 2:45 p.m. ET, beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Espanol, Sling Latino, Sling World Sports and fubo (free trial)

New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui will experience his first local derby at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, as Atletico look to put some early pressure on the Los Blancos manager.

Following Barcelona’s shock loss to Leganes in midweek Real had the chance to move into outright top spot in the Spanish top flight. However, they crumbled in the first half against Sevilla, conceding three times and eventually going on to lose 3-0. A big upturn will be needed to avoid defeat on Saturday.

That’s because Atletico appear to have rediscovered their form after stumbling out of the blocks. They’ve won their last two in La Liga in a row, finding an incision up top and rediscovering the defensive cohesion that’s been their trademark under manager Diego Simeone.

In the league Atletico have an excellent recent record at the Bernabeu, winning three and drawing two of the five meetings since 2012-13. They also won the last showdown between the two, coming out 4-2 winners in the European Super Cup ahead of this season.

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