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Zidane in spotlight, Bayern v Leipzig – what to watch out for in Europe this weekend


Paris (AFP) – Zinedine Zidane’s days as Real Madrid coach could be numbered, Juventus will aim to continue their long dominance in the Turin derby and Bayern Munich look to keep their nearest challengers in the Bundesliga at arm’s length.

AFP Sport previews the standout football action on the continent this weekend:

– Zidane in the firing line –

Sevilla v Real Madrid, Saturday 1515 GMT

The headline on the front of sports daily Marca on Thursday — alongside a picture of Zidane — read simply “9D”, Spanish shorthand for December 9. That is when Real Madrid host Borussia Moenchengladbach with a place in the Champions League last 16 at stake, and Zidane may not survive if they are eliminated.

Real’s European future is on the line after Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, their fifth defeat in 11 games.

Zidane’s position will be even more fragile if Real fail to beat Sevilla. They have taken just one point from the last nine available in La Liga to fall seven points behind leaders Real Sociedad, albeit with a game in hand. 

Madrid have lost on six of their last eight visits to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, although it will be a different experience with no fans present and fifth-placed Sevilla are reeling after losing 4-0 to Chelsea in midweek. 

– Derby boost for Juve? –

Juventus v Torino, Saturday 1700 GMT

Reigning champions Juventus will look to extend their unbeaten start to the Serie A season under new coach Andrea Pirlo when they face Torino in the “Derby della Mole”.

Juve are through to the Champions League last 16 but have not yet truly convinced. Last week Pirlo’s side could only draw 1-1 at Benevento, but Torino could be the perfect next opponents.

After all, Torino are 18th after just one win in nine games so far. And they have beaten their city rivals just once in 25 years.

– Top two clash in Bundesliga –

Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig, Saturday 1730 GMT

Leipzig might have wished for an easy weekend before their decisive Champions League clash with Manchester United but instead Julian Nagelsmann’s side must take on Bayern.

It is first against second in the Bundesliga with Bayern two points clear of Leipzig, who are one of only two teams to have avoided defeat at the Allianz Arena in the last year having drawn 0-0 there in February.

But while Bayern were able to rest players for their Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid, Leipzig needed a stoppage-time goal from Alexander Sorloth to beat Istanbul Basaksehir.

Given they will need to beat United on Tuesday to be sure of reaching the last 16, this game may have come at the worst possible time for Leipzig.

– Famous double for Cadiz? –

Cadiz v Barcelona, Saturday 2000 GMT

Newly-promoted Cadiz have already beaten Real Madrid this season, and now they are dreaming of getting the better of Barcelona.

The Catalans go to the Ramon de Carranza stadium with Lionel Messi set to return after being rested against Ferencvaros in the Champions League, although all the talk has still been about the Argentine with Neymar expressing his desire for the duo to play together again.

Right now that seems unlikely to be in Barcelona, who have struggled in La Liga since Messi was forced to stay.

They are seventh, 10 points behind leaders Real Sociedad and one behind Cadiz, albeit with two games in hand.

However, Cadiz have struggled to build on that win in Madrid and Barca may be facing them at the right time.

– PSG under pressure? –

Montpellier v Paris Saint-Germain, Saturday 2000 GMT

Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win at Manchester United, with two Neymar goals, rescued their Champions League campaign, but the French champions remain under some pressure in Ligue 1.

Having taken just one point from their last two games the leaders have allowed the chasing pack to close in, and Lille, Lyon, Monaco and Montpellier are all just two points behind.

Thomas Tuchel’s team go to Montpellier hoping to make a statement to the rest of France rather than offer any more encouragement to their domestic rivals.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Turfit

    December 4, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Cadiz v Barcelona, Montpellier v Paris Saint-Germain, and Santos v Palmeiras all playing at the same time on Saturday.

    But Sunday I’m focused on South America.
    The Uruguayan Clásico of Penarol v National at 2:30 pm (central time) on GOLTV English
    Talleres Cordoba v Boca Juniors to determine who wins their group stage, Sun 4:20 (central time) on Fanatiz
    and back to GOLTV for a 1st place against 2nd place, tied on points and GD down in Ecuador, Emelec v Barcelona SC at 6:00 pm (central time)

  2. Don

    December 4, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Saturday must watch.
    1. Bayern Munich vs Leipzig
    2. Frankfurt vs Dortmund
    3. Atletico Madrid vs Real Valladolid
    4. Montpellier vs PSG
    5. Reading vs Nottingham Forest

  3. JP

    December 4, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Here’s my weekend viewing agenda, 1st glance looked like a lackluster slate but actually not too bad. The timing also works out perfectly, no overlap (Juve/Torino sacrificed for Bayern/Leipzig as Torino’s form has been bad all year and Juve have been joyless watch most weeks)

    1) Sevilla/Real Madrid 10:15am Sat
    2) Bayern/Leipzig 12:30pm Sat
    3) Roma/Sassuolo 9am Sun
    4) Crotone/Napoli 12pm Sun. If I were a neutral this would not have made my list.
    5) Columbus/New England 3pm Sun

  4. KL

    December 4, 2020 at 9:18 am

    My Games to Watch (Not in any particular order):
    1) Union Berlin vs. Hertha Berlin, Fri-2:45pm, ESPN+
    Despite the lopsided score, the Berlin derby entertained me last season. With the way Union Berlin’s been looking, I think this wil be close.
    2) Sevilla vs. Real Madrid, Sat-10:15-beIN Sports
    Two teams trying to gain traction in La Liga.
    3) Juventus vs. Torino, Sat-12pm, ESPN+
    A Turin derby win would help Juventus gain confidence in Serie A.
    4) Bayern vs. Leipzig, Sat- 12:30pm, ESPN+
    Another huge chance for someone to make Bayern drop points to keep things close in the Bundesliga.
    5) Tottenham vs. Arsenal, Sun-11:30am, Peacock
    Arsenal need to gain confidence and they can get it in the North London Derby.
    6) MLS Playoffs Semifinals-Columbus vs. New England (Sun, 3pm, ABC)-Seattle vs. Minnestoa (Mon-6:30pm, FS1)
    I’ll be here for the drama.

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