Weekend preview

Bayern vs. Leipzig, Crew vs. Revs, Derby della Mole highlight big weekend for Yanks

With the 2020 MLS season drawing to a close while most of Europe enteres into midseason, the games are getting bigger and bigger. ASN's Brian Sciaretta is here to preview the weekend. 
BY Brian Sciaretta Posted
December 04, 2020
12:10 PM

THE WEEKEND SHOULD be a lot more fun for American fans two original teams meet in the Eastern Conference final while the docket is full for Americans abroad as almost all of the key players are healthy at the moment – combined with enticing matchups, there is a lot to follow this weekend.

Here are the games I am watching:


Bayern Munich – RB Leipzig

The Bundesliga
Saturday, December 5: 12:30am EST


The top two teams in Germany will meet in Munich on Saturday when Bayern Munich hosts RB Leipzig. In a matchup this big, it is particularly exciting for American fans that two U.S. internationals might participate. Both Tyler Adams and Chris Richards came off the bench midweek in the Champions League.

Adams is trying to reestablish his starting job in the midfield for Leipzig and thus far he has started five of the team’s nine games. Midweek, he played the second half in a wild 4-3 win over Istanbul Basaksehir. Meanwhile, Chris Richards played out of position at right wingback in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich hold a two point lead over RB Leipzig so Adams & Co. will need to win in order to move into the lead.


Columbus Crew – New England Revolution

MLS Playoffs
Sunday, December 6: 3pm EST


Two of MLS’s original teams will meet on Sunday with a spot in MLS Cup on the line. This game will likely be decided among talented in-form midfield pairings.

For New England, each of their seven playoff goals have been scored or assisted by Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. The supporting cast behind those two has also been critical. Goalkeeper Matt Turner looks to be growing into a U.S national team role in 2021. Canadian right back Tajon Buchanan made the difference in the win over Orlando.

Meanwhile for Columbus, Darlington Nagbe and Lucas Zelarayan will have to be on top of their game for Columbus to have a chance. But overall, Columbus probably has more talent than New England. Both teams have excellent goalkeepers. Columbus has a forward that can finish well with Gyasi Zardes and solid wing play with Pedro Santos.

On paper, Columbus should be the favorite but New England is playing with so much momentum and confidence at the moment that it is just too hard to go against them.


Chelsea vs. Leeds United

The Premier League
Saturday, December 5: 3:00pm EST


Christian Pulisic made his first start for Chelsea since October during a 4-0 win over Seville in the Champions League on Wednesday. The club is trying to manage his minutes so there is a real chance he comes off the bench in this one. But either way, the Hershey native should at least feature in this one.

It should be welcome news for Chelsea as well because there are some big games ahead in 2021 for the London-based club. Sitting in third place, it is only two points off the top of the table in the Premier League and, when combined with a spot in the Champions League knockouts set, having a 100% healthy Christian Pulisic is necessary.  


Juventus – Torino

Serie A
Saturday, December 5: 12:00pm EST


The Derby della Mole will take place on Saturday when Juventus hosts Turin. Normally one of the most intense games in Italy, this game will lose some of its luster without a packed stadium but it is an important game for both teams - in different ways.

Juventus currently sits fourth in Serie A and is looking to make its climb – and is still without a loss on the season. Torino, meanwhile, is in 18th place and is two points deep in the relegation hole.

Weston Mckennie continues to show growth in what has been a very positive learning experience since arriving in Italy over the summer. In this environment he is being challenged in a meaningful way and most the times he is responding well – even if he is not quite a regular starter. The Texan was particularly impressive Wednesday in a 3-0 win over Dynamo Kyiv in the Champions League. In that game he started and made a case to remain in the XI for this one.


Eintracht Frankfurt - Borussia Dortmund

The Bundesliga
Saturday, December 5: 9:30am EST

Only a few weeks after his 18th birthday, Gio Reyna has already been accumulating some impressive experience in 2020. This season alone, he has played over 900 minutes for Borussia Dortmund in all competitions – and that has come with six Bundesliga starts and four Champions League starts. In 2020, he is now north of 1300 first team minutes. For a big Champions League club and a top three team in Germany, that is impressive responsibility.

On Saturday, Reyna and Dortmund will visit ninth place Eintracht Frankfurt – which has drawn four straight (American right back Timothy Chandler is unlikely to play in this one for Eintracht).

The big challenge for Reyna and his team to adjust with Erling Haaland out injured. The Norwegian has become on of the game’s best forwards at the age of 20 but he won’t play until January. Now it will be up to Dortmund to find another point of attack.


Werder Bremen – Stuttgart

The Bundesliga
Sunday, December 6: 9:30am EST


While he was injured last week before Werder’s 5-3 loss to Wolfsburg, Josh Sargent should be back for Sunday’s game against VfB Stuttgart – which is managed by American manager Pellegrino Matarazzo.

This is a matchup between teams that came into the season with the goal of avoiding a relegation battle. Over the course the first nine games, both teams have been successful (each with only two losses – in their first games and in their most recent games) with picking up some nice results along the way.

Sargent’s return is welcome news as Stuttgart plays an open style but sometimes struggles with defense. Werder should have its chances to score, but the question is whether it can rebound from conceding five goals at the hands of a defensive-minded Wolfsburg last weekend.

For Matarazzo, his Stuttgart team is fun to watch and should look to go after Werder early in this one.



Manchester City – Fulham

The Premier League
Saturday, December 5: 10:00am EST

On Monday, Fulham played its best game of the season when it upset Leicester City. In that game, Antonee Robinson played well and he continues to be one of the best players on Fulham since he joined the club over the summer from Wigan. Since breaking into the starting lineup Robinson has played in some impressive games at a high level. He is likely to start this one while Tim Ream could be on the bench.

While Manchester City has not played like a Premier League contender thus far, it is heavily favored in this one. But Fulham is capable of an upset and it sits just one point clear of the relegation zone. A win in this one would be three more valuable points towards its goal of remaining in the league.


FC Koln – VfL Wolfsburg

The Bundesliga
Saturday, December 5: 9:30am EST


After starting the season with four straight draws, VfL Wolfsburg has been terrific over the past five games with four wins and a draw. It is one of just two teams in the Bundesliga without a loss. Normally a defensively strong team, now Wolfsburg is starting to score goals more frequently.

John Brooks is coming of a terrific outing for Wolfsburg in a 5-3 win last weekend over Werder Bremen. Despite an own goal, Brooks was dominant in all levels. While Wolfsburg is favored in this one, Koln is coming into the game on the heels of its first win of the season in a surprising 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund.

This should be a good game between two teams with momentum from big wins last weekend.


Rio Ave – Boavista

Primeira Liga
Sunday 12:30pm EST


While Reggie Cannon has played well since making the move to Portugal from FC Dallas, there is no question it has been a tough season for Boavista which is in 17th place out of 18 teams after eight games and has won just once.

Cannon, 22, has not been the problem for Boavista but the challenge for him will be to become part of the solution. Defensively he has been strong but can he start pushing deeper into the attack to score goals? He recently picked up two assists with the U.S. national team in a 5-2 win over Panama but will be looking to bring that level over to the club game.


SM Caen - Grenoble Foot

League 2
Saturday, December 5: 1:00pm EST


Nicholas Gioacchini, 20, and SM Caen have hit a bit of a tough stretch since the return from international play – a draw to Chateauroux (where Gioacchini drew the equalizing penalty) and most recently a loss to Pau midweek – despite that Caen dominated play for most of the game.

To remain near the top of the table, Caen will need to begin winning games again. Its opponent on Saturday, Grenoble Foot, is in second place. Gioacchini is likely to start in this one and the Kansas City-born forward has three goals in 785 minutes thus far this season.


Greuther Furth – Heidenheim

Saturday, December 5: 7:00am


Julian Green, 25, is doing well these days and is making positive impacts in games, even when he doesn’t score or assist. His defense is strong, he wins balls, and draws defenders when he has the ball. It’s perhaps the best soccer he’s in his career on a consistent basis. Thus far he has two goals and an assist in nine league games.

Last weekend, Green played well yet again in a 3-2 win over Nurnburg. That win, along with Hamburg’s loss, move Furth in to first place of the 2.Bundesliga. Heidenheim, meanwhile, is midtable less than a season removed from nearly earning promotion. Despite the lackluster start to the season, it has seven points from its last three games.

Furth very much looks like a promotional contender so every game is important at this stage.


Cadiz – Barcelona

La Liga
Saturday, December 5: 3:00pm EST


Sergino Dest, 20, has been consistently strong in recent games for Barcelona where he’s seeing a lot of the ball, defending well, and getting involved in dangerous chances. He’s quickly calmed any doubts among those who worried if he would ever make it at Barcelona.

For Dest, it is about being part of the solution at Barcelona after the team has fallen below its high standard early in the La Liga season. A win in this game would move Barcelona into sixth place – or maybe higher.



Elsewhere around the globe


In the Premier League, Owen Otasowie will be looking to make the bench in hopes of his Premier League debut on Sunday when they visit Liverpool.

In the Championship, Matthew Olosunde will likely start for Rotherham United on Saturday when they visit Coventry. Geoff Cameron, U.S. U-20 forward Charlie Kelman, and Queens Park Rangers visit Huddersfield on Saturday. Kelman made his QPR debut last week. Finally, Duane Holmes and Derby County visit Millwall on Saturday.

In League One, Lynden Gooch is injured for Sunderland against Wigan on Saturday. Indiana Vassilev and Burton Albion host Crew Alexandra on Saturday.

In the 2.Bundesliga, Bobby Wood will likely be on the bench for Hamburg when it hosts Hannover on Saturday. U.S. U-23 eligible winger Kevin Lankford, U.S. U-20 midfielder Leon Flach and St. Pauli visit Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday. Jan George and Jahn Regensburg visit Erzgebirge Aue on Sunday.

In Germany’s 3.Liga, red hot Terrence Boyd and Hallescher visit Verl on Sunday. Head coach Joe Enochs and his Zwickau team visit Bayern Munich II.

In Serie B, Wisconsin forward Andrija Novakovich and Frosinone host Chievo on Saturday. Meanwhile, former Long Island University midfielder Giuseppe Barone is looking for his pro debut for Salernitana when it hosts Cittadella on Saturday.

Fresh off a contract extension that runs through 2026, Yunus Musah and Valencia will host Eibar on Monday.

In Spain’s Segunda, Shaq Moore and Tenerife host Leganes on Monday.

In Ligue 1, Tim Weah and Lille host Monaco on Sunday. Weah assisted off the bench in the Europa League on Thursday and the New Yorker will be building a case for more minutes. In Ligue 2, Patrik Koffi will hope for this third appearance of the season on Saturday for Paris FC against Troyes.

In the Eredivisie, U.S. U-23 hopeful Luca de la Torre and Heracles visit Feyenoord on Sunday. Meanwhile, it could be a reunion of sorts when Uly Llanez and Heerenveen host Richard Ledezma and PSV on Sunday.

In Turkey’s top flight, Eric Lichaj and Fatih Karagumruk host Rizespor on Sunday.

In Scotland’s Premiership, Livingston host American midfielders Ian Harkes, Dillon Powers and Dundee United on Saturday.

In Belgium’s top flight, Joe Efford and Waasland-Beveren host Excel Mouscron on Saturday. Ethan Horvath will likely be on the bench for Club Brugge when it hosts Chris Durkin and St. Truiden on Saturday. Brenden Hines-Ike will hope to feature for Kortrijk when it visits Sporting Charleroi on Sunday.

In the Danish Superliga on Sunday, Haji Wright and Sonderjyske host Nordsjaelland (Jonathan Amon is injured) while Copenhagen host a Horsens team on where Michael Lansing is the backup goalkeeper.

In Norway’s top flight, Henry Wingo and Molde host Aalesund on Sunday.

In Austria, Erik Palmer-Brown and Austria Vienna host Sturm Graz on Saturday. American manager Jesse Marsch and his league-leading Salzburg team visit Admira on Saturday.

In the final slate of games in Sweden’s top flight on Sunday, Mix Diskerud and Helsingoborg need to win against Norrkopinig in order to avoid relegation. Also, Romain Gall and Orebro host Aron Johannsson and Hammarby.

In Switzerland, Jordan Siebatcheu and Young Boys visit Luzern on Sunday. Siebatcheu is coming of a nice showing in his first start for the club last weekend.

In Poland, Kenny Saief and Legia Gdansk host Legia Warsazawa on Saturday.

United States international Johnny Cardoso is likely still out with a thigh injury for Internacional when it visits Atletico Mineiro on Saturday.

In the Copa Diego Maradona in Argentina, Alan Sonora and Independiente host Defensa y Justica on Sunday. Alan’s other brother, Joel Sonora, and Talleres host Boca Juniors – also on Sunday night.

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