Last weekend’s matches all lived up to their expectations, all ticking a box of drama, tension or controversy. Here’s hoping it’s the same again this time around.
This week, there’s a repeat of last year’s Champions League final in the Premier League. We also have big-name encounters from Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 to enjoy, as well as a huge derby at the top of a congested Bundesliga.
All kick-offs are in Eastern time. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy the games!
Schalke vs. Borussia Dortmund
At this point in a Bundesliga season, there has typically been one or two sides ahead of the chasing pack. This term, just four points separate the top nine.
Schalke and Dortmund are in that group of sides and will be desperate to ensure they remain in the conversation at the expense of each other on Saturday. The contest is regarded as one of the most fiercely contested rivalries in German football.
Dortmund beat table toppers Borussia Monchengladbach in their previous domestic outing, although they were well below their best in the loss to Inter Milan on Wednesday. They will need to perform to a much higher standard if they are to head back from Schalke with a victory.
The home team missed the chance to go top last weekend, as they were beaten 2-0 by Hoffenheim on Sunday. Following the struggles of last term, David Wagner has got the team performing well again overall and he’ll earn a lot of favour early in his tenure if he gets a win in the Revierderby.
Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao
The Clasico showdown at the Camp Nou was set to be the standout match of the weekend, but with the clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid suspended, it’s Atletico and Athletic who will face off in the standout encounter.
After strong starts to the season, both sides are seeking a win to reinvigorate their respective campaigns. Atletico, in particular, have lacked an attacking spark that so many expected they would have after a summer of big-name acquisitions.
Last weekend Diego Simeone’s side were held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia, as they struggled to kill the game off after taking the lead. With Joao Felix injured and poised to miss the match, the manager will want to see another one of his attacking players help bring the team back to life in the final third.
Athletic topped the table early in the season, but a run of four games without a win has seen them slip back into the middle of the pack. While they have only conceded five goals all season, the Bilbao giants have failed to fire in attack, with Inaki Williams shouldering a huge responsibility up top.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur
You sense Liverpool supporters at Anfield will be quick to remind Tottenham Hotspur fans that they are six-time European champions on Sunday, as these two teams face off in a repeat of the Champions League final in June.
That night, goals from Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi were enough to give Liverpool the trophy, in what was a relatively even game. Since that night, the two teams have been on completely different trajectories.
Liverpool dropped points for the first time this season last weekend at Manchester United. The team were nowhere near their best at Old Trafford but still managed to escape with a draw; manager Jurgen Klopp would have at least been pleased with their attacking fluidity in the 4-1 win over Genk on Wednesday.
Tottenham also earned a handsome win over Red Star in the Champions League, but domestically they’ve been out of form, with just one win in their last four. The significance of their positive performance in Europe will become clear with how they fare on Merseyside on Sunday.
Roma vs. AC Milan
Sunday, October 27, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN+
For Roma and AC Milan, watching Juventus and Inter Milan racing clear at the top of Serie A so early in the campaign must be galling. For both, qualifying for European football next season already appears to be the summit of their ambitions.
So far, both sides have underwhelmed in the Italian top flight, with Roma coming into the weekend in sixth spot and Milan a lowly 12th after eight games.
At Milan, the appointment of Stefano Pioli as manager has not gone down well and the team were uninspiring in his first game in charge, a 2-2 draw with Lecce last weekend. It feels as though the new boss needs a big win at a venue like the Stadio Olimpico to earn some favour with the fans early in his tenure.
Roma have steadied after a sluggish start to 2019-20, with coach Paulo Fonseca slowly beginning to get his ideas across. After being held to a draw last weekend by bottom club Sampdoria, they will be intent to make amends by putting the out-of-form Rossoneri to the sword on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Marseille
Despite two losses already in Ligue 1 this season, the signs are that PSG are going to race to another French title. Marseille will be out to stop them in Paris on Sunday in the first Classique of the 2019-20 term.
PSG will go into the game in brilliant spirits, as they trounced Club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League. After coming into the team as a 52nd-minute substitute, it was Kylian Mbappe who stole the show, as he scored three goals and set up another in his time on the field.
Marseille will be wary of what the French superstar can offer, but Thomas Tuchel’s team is packed full of high-class players. Mauro Icardi is beginning to find his goalscoring touch in a PSG shirt, while Angel Di Maria is playing some of the best football of his distinguished career at the moment.
It’s an ominous task for Andre Villas-Boas’ Marseille. They are fourth in the table after a solid beginning to the season, but you sense they lack the cohesion at the back and the firepower up top to give PSG a serious test in Sunday’s encounter.
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