5 Games To Watch In Europe This Weekend
Top 5 Games In Europe This Weekend
With Serie A finally kicking off this weekend, soccer fans will have major European leagues in action and playing. This weekend's action kicks off on Friday, as we have a Friday night game to be played in the Bundesliga, and a game played in Ligue 1 as nouveau rich AS Monaco host Toulouse and seek to continue their winning start. As mentioned, Serie A gets started on Saturday with two games, as newly promoted Hellas Verona host AC Milan, while defending champions Juventus travel to Genoa to take on Sampdoria.
These are just a few of the games fans can look forward to watching this weekend. There are five games in particular which catch my eye and I will be making sure to catch a good portion of this weekend. Other games of interest that did not make the cut that hold some intrigue are: FC Nantes hosting Paris Saint Germain in the late game on Sunday in Ligue 1, the highly entertaining Fiorentina traveling to Sicily to take on Catania in the Monday night affair to close out Week 1 of the Serie A calender, and Hertha Berlin hosting Hamburg in the late Saturday game in the Bundesliga.
While the games above are certainly worth a watch, they failed to make the final list of the five must watch, as they do not present the same intrigue and/or potential storylines that the five must watch provide, from a sporting and entertainment value. In addition, the five games highlighted offer the best chance of giving fans an opportunity to be able to see the best played and most entertaining games that can be watched this upcoming weekend, as all the top European leagues are now in full swing.
5. Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Mochengladbach
In one of the early Saturday games to be played in Matchday 3 action in the Bundesliga, Bayer Leverkusen hosts Borussia Mochengladbach. Leverkusen has started the season winning their first two games. Coach Sami Hyypia has done a fine job of getting his team start off well, despite having sold Andre Schurrle to Chelsea this summer. However, the absence of Schurrle has not been felt, as South Korean international Heung Min Son has come to take over where Schurrle left off, and join a team that has such talents as Lars Bender and Gonzalo Castro in the midfield and Stefan Kiessling upfront.
Mochengladbach come into the game having won their last game, after dropping their league opener to Bayern Munich. Mochengladbach is coached by Lucien Favre, and is captained by the veteran Juan Arango. What makes this game a must watch is that is a matchup of two teams who will certainly be fighting for a Champions League, and/or Europa League spot, at least during the season. While neither one alone draws attention, this is the type of game that should give neutrals a good show. Both teams are solid, can play an open game, and are evenly matched; it is definitely a game worth a look.
4. Borussia Dortmund vs. Weder Bremen
This game will be played on Friday, and as such, it gets Matchday 3 play in the Bundesliga started. Borussia Dortmund have won their first two games, and have shown why they are one of the best teams, not just in the Bundesliga, but in all of Europe. Dortmund has seen newcomer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang settle in quickly, as evidenced by his hat trick on Matchday 1. Coach Jurgen Klopp, will look to continue to lead his team to a fast start and keep pace with Bayern Munich, as he seeks to pester and remind them of their wish to dethrone them as league champions.
After having just escaped relegation, or at the very least having to play in the relegation playoff, Werder Bremen were in need of getting off to a fast start with new coach Robin Dutt. Bremen has precisely done that as they too, like Dortmund, have won their first two games of the season. Now Bremen looks to continue their fast start by snatching a result away from home against Dortmund, as newcomer Franco Di Santo should see some playing time upfront. This game is a must follow this weekend, as these are two clubs with a rich history within the Bundesliga. As a result, the historical precedence alone promises this game to be a must watch. Furthermore, Dortmund have become a must watch team to play, no matter who they are playing, as the team, coached by Klopp, is just that fun to watch.
3. Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
This game is the late Saturday game to be played in the Premier League. Aston Villa has gotten off to a good start, as the team, coached by Paul Lambert, won their league opener against Arsenal 3-1. Even though they lost 2-1 midweek to Chelsea, they showed they confirmed that they are a much improved team, and one that is likely to finish in the top half of the league standings at season's end. Already, Villa forward Christian Benteke has scored three goals, and while he is the clear man to watch for, he is supported by talents like Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor; they are very skilled and talented players who fit Villa's style of play.
Liverpool got their league season off to a winning start as well, as they won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Daniel Sturridge, and a late penalty save from Simon Mignolet. Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard likes facing off against Villa, as it is the team who he has scored more goals against than any other club in his illustrious career. The game is a must watch, as we have two managers, Lambert with Villa and Brenden Rodgers with Liverpool, who, since they took over their respective teams last season, have based their rebuilding projects on fielding teams who are committed to playing good attacking soccer, while at the same time prioritizing ball possession. When you get two teams who subscribe to this ethos, you have no reason not to watch.
2. Lazio vs. Udinese
In one of the six games to be played Sunday night, Lazio host Udinese. This game is the most appealing in Matchday 1 of the 2013-14 Serie A season. Lazio come off having lost the Italian Supercup 4-0 to Juventus, but that does not mean they are not a team to watch and follow, as the side, coached by Vladimir Petkovic, is a solid and balanced team. The strength of this team lies in it's midfield, with the likes of Hernanes and Antonio Candreva pulling the string and creating scoring chances with the ageless wonder Miroslav Klose ready to pounce on score inside the penalty box.
Speaking of ageless wonders, Udinese have one upfront as well, with Antonio Di Natale aging like fine wine, as he has gotten better over the years. Accompanying Di Natale upfront is young Colombian Luis Muriel, who is a player developing into the next great star, and a player whom Europe's top teams will be fighting over next summer to sign. Udinese are coached by Francesco Guidolin, a man who is guided by his tactical principles of having his team play an attacking, eye pleasing style of soccer. While it is not a game many think of as a must watch, in a league which, despite it's reputation, has in the last year provided some of the most entertaining games, the matchup between these two presents an intriguing, tactical battle between two coaches who are well respected and regarded. Additionally, it is a game with two top six and seven teams in Serie A who are truly equal, and as a result will play a very good game that has the potential to be great.
1. Machester United vs. Chelsea
By far, the game to watch this weekend, not only in Europe but in the entire soccer world, will take place Monday night at Old Trafford to close out Matchday 2 in the Premier League. Chelsea comes into the game having won their first two league games at home, and with the return of the Special One aka Happy One in Jose Mourinho, Chelsea is again playing with a certain aura, which they haven't had since Mourinho was last coaching the team.
As far as Manchester United is concerned, this is the first official home game that David Moyes will coach as the successor to Sir Alex Ferguson, as he won his first game in charge last weekend, as Manchester United defeated Swansea 4-1. One of the many intriguing stories related to this game, is whether or not Wayne Rooney will start the game, or if he will come off the bench to play against the team that would like to acquire him and add him to their forward line.
The battle to keep an eye on in this game is the battle of who wins the midfield. Chelsea clearly has the best, most diverse midfield in the Premier League. While Manchester United also has a good midfield, the fact that they have tried so hard to sign a midfielder in the summer transfer window signals that they know their midfield is below that of Chelsea's and city rivals Manchester City. There so many reasons why this is the game of the weekend, but the main reason is because it's the one soccer fans least want to miss.