El Classico between a reeling Real Madrid and Barcelona leads the big games this weekend as they kick off at 10 am on Saturday on beIN Sport. El Classico is the biggest club game in the world and will be watched by over 2 million people worldwide. Manchester United will host Chelsea and American Christian Pulisic at 12:30 pm Saturday on NBC. Ok American Soccer Fans – We’ll get a chance to see if Pulisic can help pull the American market in a real game against a marquee team like United! Also at 12:30 pm on Sat on ESPN+ Dortmund and American Gio Reyna will host Schalke in one of the most heated Derby’s in Soccer. And Finally on Sunday – El Traffico – as LAFC hosts LA Galaxy on ABC at 3:30 pm. We have asked for Big Soccer games on Network TV folks – so here they are this weekend !! Will American’s tune-in to watch soccer over football?
Champions League is Back Tues/Wed – Group Stage Matchday 2
Ah it was great to have Champions League back (even in empty stadiums). Hugely exciting to have Champions League games with American’s not just playing but starting and playing important roles. Pulisic started for Chelsea on the right side but was mainly held in check in the 0-0 tie at home vs Spanish Side – but US Players in prominent roles on 9 of the teams. Gio Reyna had an assist in his game as he came on at the half of Dortmunds’ surprising 3-1 loss at Lazio. Adams played center back in a 5 man back line for RB Leipzig in their 2-0 win and of course Dest, 19, started for Barcelona in their 3-0 win. In total a new Record of 5 American’s played Tuesday here’s how they ended up. The best might have been GK Ethan Horvath who made a surprise start in goal for Club Brugge – he made 3 or 4 incredible saves to help them secure the 2-1 upset at Zenit. It was his first game in almost a year as he normally backs up Belgium star Simon Mignolet who had covid. Can’t wait to see how the American’s do this week! Here’s the standing’s after Matchday 1.
Man is there a team more dependant on one player than Real Madrid? In their second game without Center back and Captain Sergio Ramos – Real gave up 3 first half goals to an undermanned Shakkar team and honestly should have given up 2 or 3 more. They fought back for 2 in the 2nd half at home but the equalizer was overruled by VAR leaving Madrid with a first game lost at 3-2. The “marquee” matchup ended up being a dud as Champions Bayern Munich took control in the 2nd half at home to defeat Atletico 2-0. (sad not to have American Chris Richards-injured, or Canadian Alphonso Davies playing.)
I will give credit to CBS – the wrap around coverage on CBS Sports Network was pretty cool showing scores for all the games and goals and shots on replay every time one happened. Not bad coverage. Now if we can get the to cover the post game and pre game shows the way they are on CBS All Access all will be good. Again AA is fine I hate that you can’t go back and watch a goal you may have missed though. The Live only coverage with no ability to re-wind really sux for a PAID Service. But one step at a time I suppose.
GAMES ON TV
(American’s in parenthesis)
Sat, Oct 24
7:30 am Peacock Man City vs West Ham
9:30 am ESPN+ Bayern Munich vs Frankfort (Chandler)
9:30 am ESN+ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Hertha Berlin
10 am NBCSN Fulham vs Crystal Palace
10 am beIN Sport Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona EL CLASSICO
12:30 pm NBC Man United vs Chelsea (Pulisic)
12:30 am ESPN+ Borrusia Dortmund (Gio Reyna) vs Schalke
3 pm Peacock Liverpool vs Sheffield United
3:30 pm ESPN+ Inter Miami vs Orlando City SC
Sun, Oct 25
10 am NBCSN Everton vs Southampton
12:30 pm NBC Wolverhampton vs New Castle
3pm ABC LAFC vs LA GALAXY – EL TRAFFICO
3:15 pm Peacock Arsenal vs Leicester City
(American’s in parenthesis)
Tuesday, October 27
Lokotomiv Moscow vs. Bayern Munich (Richards), 1:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan 1:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Atletico Madrid vs. RB Salzburg, 4pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Real Madrid, 4pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Porto vs. Olympiacos (Champions League Group Stag, 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Marseille vs. Man City, 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Atalanta vs. Ajax (Mendez) 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Liverpool vs. Midtjylland 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish)
Wednesday, October 28
Krasnodar vs. Chelsea (Pulisic) 1:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Istanbul Basaksehir vs. PSG, 1:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Sevilla vs. Rennes 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Brugge (Horvath GK) vs. Lazio 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Dortmund (Reyna) vs. Zenit 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Ferencvaros vs. Dynamo Kyiv , 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Juventus (McKinney) vs. Barcelona (Dest) , 4pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Man United vs. RB Leipzig (Adams), 4pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV
As the Champions League kicks back into gear – just 2 months after the late wrap-up saw Bayern Munich raise the trophy, we get the excitement of not just great soccer – but US Players in prominent roles on 9 of the teams. From more established players like Christian Pulisic for Chelsea, or Tyler Adams for Red Bull Leipzig, and Gio Reyna at Dortmund to Weston McKinney now at Italian powerhouse Juventus, and Sergio Dest at Spanish Giant Barcelona. All of these players (under the age of 25) look to be starting for their respective clubs during the group stage games. McKinney does have Covid and may miss this week’s games along with the injured Chris Richards 20 year old Right back of Bayern Munich who is also expected back by Matchday 3 at the latest. Click for a full list of American’s suiting up in the competition.
Of course not sure how we are watching Champions League here in the US this year – I did break down and buy CBS All Access now that I can see it using my roku stick– so I can watch the American’s play in English. Of course if you have Univision (TUDN), Unimas and Galavisions or FuboTV you can always watch in Spanish still without having to pay the extra $5 a month in streaming costs. Now CBS Sports Network is debuting a Wrap-Around coverage GOLAZO– (think NFL Red Zone) and I am excited to see how they handle that. I could see watching 1 game on all Access or in Spanish and the other TV on CBSSN for GOLAZO Coverage which starts at 2:30 pm. We’ll have to see how they handle it. World Soccer Talk breaks it down here. I can say that I was impressed with CBS coverage of the Final 4 and Final games last season with a 90 minute pre-game and 60 to 90 minute postgame delivered on CBS All Access. We’ll see how they do and how CBSN SN handles their coverage as well. Must watch games to see American’s play will include Chelsea and Pulisic vs Spanish Euro Legends Sevilla at 3 pm Tues on CBS AA and Dortmund and Gio Reyna at the same time on CBS AA. Of course the big game is Man United traveling to 2019 Runner-ups PSG at 3 pm on Galavision and CBS AA at 3 pm. Wednesday the only American set to play should be Alex Mendez of Ajax vs Liverpool at 3 pm on TUDN Extra and CBS AA. The big game of the day on Wed is either Bayern Munich (with American defender Chris Richards out injured) hosting Atletico Madrid at 3 pm on Unimas and CBS AA.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUETV SCHEDULE
(American’s in parenthesis)
Tuesday, October 20
Zenit St Petersburg vs. 12:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Dynamo Kyiv vs. Juventus (McKinney) 12:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Rennes vs. Krasnodar 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Chelsea (Pulisic) vs. Sevilla 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Lazio vs. Dortmund (Reyna) 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Barcelona (Dest) vs. Ferencvaros , 3pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) PSG vs. Man United 3pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV RB Leipzig (Adams) vs. Istanbul Basaksehir 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish)
Wednesday, October 21
RB Salzburg vs. Lokomotiv Moscow 12:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Real Madrid vs. Shakhtar Donetsk 12:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Bayern Munich (Richards) vs. Atletico Madrid 3pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Inter Milan vs. Borussia Monchengladbach 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Olympiacos vs. Marseille 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Man City vs. Porto 3pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Ajax vs. Liverpool 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Midtjylland vs. Atalanta 3pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish)
Tuesday, October 27
Lokotomiv Moscow vs. Bayern Munich (Richards), 1:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Inter Milan 1:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Atletico Madrid vs. RB Salzburg, 4pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Real Madrid, 4pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Porto vs. Olympiacos (Champions League Group Stag, 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Marseille vs. Man City, 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Atalanta vs. Ajax 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Liverpool vs. Midtjylland 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish)
Wednesday, October 28
Kranodar vs. Chelsea (Pulisic) 1:55pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV Istanbul Basaksehir vs. PSG, 1:55pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Sevilla vs. Rennes 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Brugge vs. Lazio 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Dortmund (Reyna) vs. Zenit 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Ferencvaros vs. Dynamo Kyiv , 4pm, CBS All Access, TUDNxtra (in Spanish) and fuboTV (in Spanish) Juventus (McKinney) vs. Barcelona (Dest) , 4pm, UniMas, TUDN, CBS All Access and fuboTV (in Spanish) Man United vs. RB Leipzig (Adams), 4pm, Galavision, CBS All Access and fuboTV
Another UEFA Champions League season, another new set of viewing patterns for fans to learn and memorize.Less than two months after Bayern Munich defeated Paris Saint-Germain in Portugal to win the 2019–20 Champions League title, the quest for the 2020–21 trophy begins. And with CBS Sports taking the baton from Turner Sports a year (and a few months) ahead of schedule, English-speaking viewers will have to pivot when making plans to watch Europe’s premier club competition. Of course, there’s nothing stopping English-speaking viewers from watching in Spanish, and Univision will continue to be airing games on its platforms this season as well
CBS, like many other networks, is focused on building out its streaming app, with many viewers and cord-cutters opting to get their entertainment in ways other than just cable TV.As a result, there’s a large emphasis on CBS’s All-Access product (soon to be known as Paramount Plus), and every match—along with pre-match and post-match shows—will be available to watch wherever All-Access is available.Once again, there are two match windows per group stage match day, with two games at 12:55 p.m. ET followed by the remaining six at 3 p.m. ET. (There will be that brief period at the end of October where daylight saving time ends in Europe and hasn’t yet in the U.S., and the windows become an hour later, but 12:55 and 3 will otherwise be the standard.) CBS, which also operates CBS Sports HQ (an all-day, free streaming product on CBS’s website), will begin its gameday coverage at 11 a.m. ET on HQ and All-Access, move to a pre-match show on All-Access only at noon and then transition into matchesThe matches that Univision does not have on TV will be available either via its streaming service, TUDNXtra, or FuboTV.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ON TV
In English, CBS will be selective in its television offerings. While every match will go on All-Access, CBS adds that won’t entirely be set in stone throughout, “with select marquee matches also airing on the CBS Television Network and CBS Sports Network through the 2023–24 season.” It remains to be seen what qualifies as a “marquee match,” whether any group stage match will be deemed “marquee” and whether specific player absences play a role in the programming (i.e., if Cristiano Ronaldo, who is now in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus, misses Juventus’s first group showdown vs. Lionel Messi’s Barcelona).In Spanish, Univision will be airing “over 75” matches on TV on a regular basis throughout the competition via Univision, UniMas, TUDN and Galavision. For the first two two-part match days, four of a day’s given eight games will be on TV: two on UniMas and TUDN and two on Galavision. The remaining four will be streamed.Univision’s platforms will also feature “Futbol Central,” its pregame show that previews the upcoming matches, and “Mision Europa,” which will cover the highlights and wrap-up material.
RED ZONE MEETS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
One new wrinkle CBS is offering is a whiparound show during matches that will hop from game to game to show goals from around the continent during the window in which six games are being played simultaneously. The Golazo Show will air on CBS Sports Network and All-Access and act as either a complementary screen or a sole focus depending on the viewer’s preference (and attention span).“With multiple matches being played simultaneously across Europe, we wanted to give soccer fans a fun way to experience that excitement and see every goal from every match as well as all the key moments as they happen,” CBS Sports executive VP of programming Dan Weinberg, said in a statement. “The Golazo Show will keep fans updated throughout the day’s action with all the goals and latest results, bringing them highlights as soon as they occur while also providing expert analysis—all at a single destination.”There will also be a Golazo Pre-Match Show that kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET to run down what happened in the day’s first two games and set the stage for what’s to come in the ensuing six.Univision, meanwhile, will return with a second season of Zona Futbol, which is a whiparound show of its own. Those subscribing to participating TV providers will have access to “the best action from concurrent group stage matches as it happens. TUDN experts will guide the audience from game to game across the continent with key context and expert analysis,” according to a Univision statement.
Champions League group stage analysis and predictions: Which teams will advance?
Teams: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow, Red Bull Salzburg
The reigning champions may have shown some fragility in recent outings — Bayern conceded an uncharacteristic six times in the three matches before the international break — but they will have little trouble topping Group A. The Bavarians won all six of their group games last season and haven’t lost at this stage since a 3-0 humbling to Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017.
Bayern, however, does not possess a sterling record against Atletico Madrid, who eliminated the Germans at the seminal stage in 2015-16 with a typically tenacious away-goals masterclass. Atleti also defeated Bayern in the group stage in the previous season.
Lokomotiv Moscow, meanwhile, boast Portuguese forward Eder, but they finished rock-bottom of their group last season. Expect more of the same here.
Player to Watch: Robert Lewandowski
Atletico Madrid’s boisterous strikers Diego Costa and Luis Suarez will certainly make headlines — for one reason or another — but Robert Lewandowski is the undoubted star of the show. Last year’s Champions League top scorer struck 10 times in the group stages, and remains paramount to Bayern Munich’s success.
Prediction: 1. Bayern Munich 2. Atletico Madrid 3. Red Bull Salzburg 4. Lokomotiv Moscow
Teams: Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan, Borussia Monchengladbach
Real Madrid don’t typically struggle at the group stage, but the perennial European titans find themselves in what may be the group with the most parity.
Los Blancos are usually well equipped to get out of any situation, but they stumbled several times in last season’s group stage, dropping points at home to Club Brugge, and in both meetings with PSG.
When Zinedine Zidane’s side faced Manchester City in last season’s recent round of 16, they couldn’t handle the pace and press, and that does not bode well for meetings with Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach, both of whom like to press high.
2020 Europa League finalists Inter Milan will be expecting to progress, and they have the tools to do so. Gladbach are the outsiders, competing in the competition for the first time in four years, but have established themselves among the Bundesliga’s elite in the interim.
Prediction: 1. Inter Milan 2. Real Madrid 3. Borussia Monchengladbach 4. Shakhtar Donetsk
If Inter is to make Real Madrid to drop points, their talismanic Belgian striker will have something to do with it. Lukaku scored nine times in European competitions last season, and will likely increase his continental tally this term.
Teams: Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos, Marseille
There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and Man City getting a comparatively favorable ride in the Champions League group stage.
Pep Guardiola’s men have been the favorites with the bookmakers in the last two campaigns, and only sit behind Bayern Munich in this edition (per BetMGM). They have, however, stumbled against French opposition in recent European contests, being ousted by Lyon at the quarterfinal stage last season.
Marseille, coached by Andre-Villas Boas, finished second in Ligue 1 last season and have strengthened the squad with the likes of Luis Henrique, who arrived from Botafogo over the summer. They will be aiming for second place, and represent a banana peel for the Premier League side.
But don’t sleep on reigning Portuguese champs Porto, who were seeded in Pot 1 and are technically the top team of the group. However, the 2004 Champions League winners sold Alex Telles and Fabio Silva to Premier League opposition over the summer, and may not be entirely competitive.
Olympiakos were impressive in last season’s Europa League, but they may struggle to make an impact on this group.
Prediction: 1. Man City 2. Marseille 3. Porto 4. Olympiakos
Player to Watch: Kevin De Bruyne
Man City’s midfield gem regularly delivers game-changing passes and has proven pivotal to their successes. Outside of City, Marseille will lean heavily on former West Ham star Dimitri Payet.
Teams: Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta, Midtjylland
Liverpool’s last Champions League outing saw them suffer at the hands of Atletico Madrid at a packed Anfield, in what would become one of the finals games with a full complement of fans in 2020. All eyes will be on Jurgen Klopp’s side to see if they can regain their furious pace and cloak of invincibility that has slipped since that night in March.
Group D presents what may be the best fixture of the entire group stage: Liverpool’s pair of bouts with Atalanta. The highly entertaining Italians had the mettle and the talent to go deep in the competition last season, and their fearless press will be highly entertaining when it comes up against Klopp’s charges.
Ajax were a hair from making the 2019 final, but their team has been mined of much of its talent since then. The summer departures of Donny van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech and American defender Sergino Dest will weaken their chances.
As for FC Midtjylland? Sadly, the plucky Danes rank among the weakest sides in this season’s contest.
Prediction: 1. Liverpool 2. Atalanta 3. Ajax 4. Midtjylland
Player to Watch: Papu Gomez
Liverpool may have bigger stars, but Atalanta deserve much credit for keeping their squad entirely intact this season, with the exception of departed fullback Timothy Castagne. The Italians have awesome firepower in their ranks — they scored 13 goals in their opening three league games this season — and captain Papu Gomez is more than capable of some dazzling individual skill.
Teams: Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar, Rennes
It’s been a swashbuckling season for Chelsea so far, whose policy of “score now, defend later” remains in place. Frank Lampard has been granted several high-profile signings this summer, and should be in a good position to progress.
Sevilla, meanwhile, face a problem: If they progress from this group, how will they win the Europa League for the millionth time?
The Spanish side are true experts in the continent’s secondary continental contest, but stand an excellent chance of topping this group. Julen Lopetegui’s team have been reunited with Ivan Rakitic, and have already caused Barcelona problems on the domestic front this season. They are likely to have more fortitude than Chelsea — certainly from a defensive perspective.
Group E appears to have a clear dichotomy between its top two sides and the other two. Both Krasnodar and Rennes are appearing in the group stage for the first time, and will likely be battling it out for progression to the Europa League. Krasnodar have an awkward away trip to southern Russia to their benefit, but Rennes — who are enjoying a spectacular start to the Ligue 1 season — are likely to nab third place.
Prediction: 1. Sevilla 2. Chelsea 3. Rennes 4. Krasnodar
Player to Watch: Luuk de Jong
Beyond Chelsea’s American star Christian Pulisic, Sevilla’s Luuk de Jong has certainly shown his credentials on the European stage. The Dutchman scored the winner against Manchester United in last season’s Europa League semifinals, and netted twice in the final against Inter Milan.
Teams: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Club Brugge
The headliners here are clearly Borussia Dortmund, who share many traits with Chelsea: excitement going forward, youthfulness and a tendency to capitulate in defense. Lucien Favre’s side will almost certainly progress from a relatively weak group, which may offer star striker Erling Haaland a chance to pad his stats. The group may also offer a showcase for American attacking midfielder Gio Reyna, who impressed in his debut in the competition last season.
Second spot in the group is likely to be a battle between Lazio and Zenit. The former were league title contenders last season until their form fell off a cliff after the restart — and they have been a mixed bag this term. The latter remain dominant in their native Russia, but typically fail to make a significant impact on this stage.
Club Brugge have finished third in their respective group in the last two seasons, but will be hard-pressed to achieve such heights this time around.
Prediction: 1. Borussia Dortmund 2. Lazio 3. Zenit Saint Petersburg 4. Club Brugge
Player to Watch: Erling Haaland
The most prolific striker in the competition not named Robert Lewandowski will be a treat to watch for his incredible finishing, outstanding positioning, furious pace and dangerously intense goal celebrations.
Teams: Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kiev, Ferencvaros
The headline of the entire group stage is the battle between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. This will be the first time they have faced each other in the group stage.
As if that prospect wasn’t mouthwatering enough, the fixtures between Juventus and Barcelona also offer a head-to-head that will intrigue U.S. fans, as Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest lock horns.
Juventus are not yet a known quantity under inexperienced manager Andrea Pirlo, but this group could be the Old Lady’s for the taking.
Like Group E, there is a divide between the European titans and the humble challengers. Dynamo Kiev have long departed the European spotlight, while Hungarian champions Ferencvaros are likely the weakest side in the contest by some distance.
Prediction: 1. Juventus 2. Barcelona 3. Dynamo Kiev 4. Ferencvaros
Player to Watch: Lionel Messi
Naturally, Ronaldo will be a key player in this group, but Barca will be relying on their fading talisman more than ever in this campaign.
Teams: Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, Istanbul Basaksehir
This season’s Group of Death looks particularly threatening to Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer — who is already under fire at Old Trafford — must face a finalist and semifinalist from last season’s competition. Yikes.
PSG were designed by their Qatari owners to compete in the Champions League, and they came agonizingly close to reaching their objective in August. They famously faltered against Solskjaer’s United two seasons ago, but seem like a certainty to progress.
Leipzig is weakened by the departure of striker Timo Werner, but were able to reach the semifinals this past summer without his assistance. Julian Nagelsmann’s side may lack United’s heritage, but they have better pedigree to go further in this competition.
Istanbul Basaksehir, meanwhile, should not be entirely dismissed. Away trips to Istanbul are never easy and the Turkish champions will be looking for an upset in their group stage debut.
Prediction: 1. Paris Saint-Germain 2. RB Leipzig 3. Manchester United 4. Istanbul Basaksehir
Player to Watch: Neymar
Kylian Mbappe is PSG’s most potent outlet for goals, but Neymar will be pulling the strings. The Brazilian has slowly phased out the theatrics and may have a handle on his temper — he will be laser-focused to bring PSG the silverware they desire.
More USMNT players at Champions League clubs can only improve World Cup prospects
How are the players Berhalter will be relying upon for World Cup qualifying performing with their clubs? ESPN’s correspondents from around the world bring you inside information to help explain the successes and stumbles of American players around the world.
Giovanni Reyna — On the rise : Reyna has featured in all five of Dortmund’s competitive fixtures so far this season, registering a pair of goals and three assists. The 17-year-old has bonded with fellow prodigies Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Reinier, helping the latter settle into life in Germany following his loan move from Real Madrid. Sources tell ESPN’s Stephan Uersfeld that Dortmund see similarities between Reyna and Marco Reus, specifically noting the teenager’s defensive improvement and aggressiveness on the ball — just like his captain.
DeAndre Yedlin — Trending down : In Newcastle’s first seven matches of the 2020-21 season, Yedlin has made just three matchday squads — two starts in the Carabao Cup, and as an unused sub in the Premier League draw vs. Tottenham. The 27-year-old is now the third-choice right back on Tyneside, with sources telling ESPN that there are doubts about his defensive positioning. The former Seattle Sounders standout had been linked with a move away all summer, but wages proved to be an issue, sources say. If he isn’t named to Newcastle’s Premier League squad next week, he could be motivated to find a new home in January.
Tim Ream — Holding steady : It’s been a rough start to Fulham‘s return to the Premier League, with no points and 11 goals conceded in four matches. Ream has started three of those games, and another in the Carabao Cup, demonstrating his value to manager to Scott Parker. However, the Cottagers brought in two center backs on deadline day, putting the 33-year-old’s place under threat. Sources tell ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and Tom Hamilton that there’s “no panic” from Ream’s camp, and that he’s prepared to compete for his place, citing the nearly 20 center backs who’ve moved to Craven Cottage during his time at the club and failed to displace the former Bolton man.
Timothy Weah — Trending down : Weah has featured in just 31 minutes of Lille‘s six Ligue 1 contests this year. Sources tell ESPN’s Julien Laurens that the French side is being cautious with the 20-year-old after a pair of hamstring injuries cost him nearly all of the 2019-20 season, his first after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. But that’s not the reason for his lack of action this term, with manager Christophe Galtier wanting Weah to play as a center forward, where Burak Yilmaz and Jonathan David are the preferred pairing atop Lille’s 4-4-2. Weah is said to be frustrated by his lack of action as the third-choice striker, but remains in good spirits and awaits his chance with Yilmaz and David netting just two league goals between them.
A few minutes with …
For most of the summer, Weston McKennie had been linked with a move to the Premier League, so it came as some shock when he joined Italian giants Juventus on loan in August. Since, the 22-year-old has started all three matches in the Bianconeri‘s young campaign, including the first two games of their Serie A title defense.The FC Dallas academy product sat down with our Matteo Bonetti to talk about his decision to move to Turin, how he’s settling into life in Italy and what it’s been like to join a dressing room full of stars he has grown familiar with through years of playing FIFA.
Another tremendously gifted teenager from the impressive pack of American talents in European football, California-born Ulysses Llanez has Mexican parents and was close to representing Mexico at youth levels before settling for the U.S. youth national teams. After impressing at various youth levels, he made his USMNT debut in a friendly against Costa Rica in February, playing the full 90 minutes.
A skillful, unpredictable winger with a frightening turn of pace, the 19-year-old has evidently been inspired by the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar, as demonstrated by his trickery, quick feet and ability to deceive an opponent. But he’s not merely dribbling for the pure fun of it; he’s very positive in his play, tending to look for the direct route to goal when taking on opponents — although, like most teenagers, he can be found running into blind alleys. Llanez also possesses a fearful strike on the ball with his preferred right foot (although he’s practically two-footed) and he’s always looking to pick the early pass in behind when drifting into playmaking positions in the middle of the field.
The loan move to Heerenveen should offer the American a gentle yet educational environment in which to undertake his baby steps in European senior football (Real Madrid prodigy Martin Ødegaard spent a rewarding 18 months at the same club beginning in 2017). In the Eredivisie, where he made his debut as a second-half substitute earlier this month, he will be looking to develop the defensive side of his game and get on the ball more frequently. — Tor-Kristian Karlsen
Frustrating night for our Indy 11 once again as they gave up a goal in the last minutes to lose 2-1 to Sporting KC II at home Wed. Indy 11 (7W-6L-2D, 23 pts.) dominated play but allowed the late goal as Sporting literally had a fair # of U18s on the field. Amazing how our 11 have struggled down the stretch. Its sets up a winner moves on match at St. Louis (6W-5L-4D, 22 pts.) this Saturday night at 7:30 pm on MyindyTV and ESPN+. A win or tie actually allows the eleven in the playoffs backdoor as the 2nd seed in Group E where they can look to recover that early season magic.
Bayern Munich Wins 5th Trophy in 2020
Followed up their 2-1 win over Sevilla in the EUFA Supercup with a 3-2 win over Dortmund in the German cup this week and 19 year-old American defender Chris Richards got time again at right back where he as moved up 2nd string! Saturday at 9:30 am on ESPN+ 2 American’s play as and Gio Reyna of Dortmund will face Frieburg and Stuart and Werder Bremen host Arminia. Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig host Schalke at 12:30 on ESPN+ Sat.
Games to Watch
Chelsea with a returning Christian Pulisic kick things off on Peacock at 7:30 am Sat followed Everton and Brighton on NBCSN. Atletico + Villarreal are at 10 am on beIN Sport, while Leeds United hosts Man City and (GK Stephen) at 12:30 on NBC. MLS gets a prime 4 pm FOX slot for the rejuvenated Orlando City v NY Red Bulls 2 teams battling for supremacy in the East with Columbus. Sunday gives us Man United vs Spurs at 11:30 am on NBCSN after Fulham and Tim Ream travel to Wolverhampton at 9 on NBCSN. Italy’s Serie A serves up another star-studded clash this weekend, and another big test for Juventus’ American midfielder Weston McKennie as they host Napoli at 2:45 pm on Sunday on ESPN+. Napoli has a loaded attack led by forwards Dries Mertens, Fernando Llorente, and 21-year-old Nigerian Victor Osimhen. While at 3 pm the newly minted US Defender Sergio Dest might make his debute vs Sevilla on beIN Sport. US Players games wrap up here.
Good Luck at Sectionals Next Week
Good luck to both the Men’s and Women’s Carmel High Soccer teams heading into sectionals next week. The #10 Ranked CHS boys who are hosting the Sectionals at home – start Wed vs Westfield and must get by 7th ranked Zionsville or #2 ranked North Central, along with 16 Pike in the sectional. The #2 ranked ladies return to action Tuesday vs Westfield and most get by #10 Zionsville, #3 Guerin and #14 North Central along the way. Games are at Guerin Catholic Mon – Sat off Grey Road. In case you missed it look who made athlete of the week on Wish TV 8 this week – former Carmel FC and current Carmel High GK Erin Baker – see video here.
The biggest group for American fans is Group G, which will have a big-time pair of matchups between Juventus and Barcelona, where Weston McKennie will face off against USMNT teammate Sergiño Dest. It’s also the first match between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juve in 2018. They are two matches that are perfect to be shown on CBS. Let’s see if the network boosts those matchups to network television for the country to see.Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig may have the toughest group in the field, as they share Group H with PSG, Manchester United, and İstanbul Başakşehir, who won the Turkish SuperLïg this past season. It will be a remarkable test for Adams and Leipzig to get out of that group and advance to the knockout stage.The team that looks to have the easiest road to the Round of 16 is Borussia Dortmund, who face Zenit, Lazio, and Club Brugge. Gio Reyna should be a major factor for the Black & Yellow during the group stage. For American fans of Manchester City, they hope that they can outlast Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille so that backup goalkeeper Zack Steffen will get to see some matches. Finally, Group A could be a tough test for Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg. To squeak past Atleti or Bayern to get to the knockout stage will be difficult to do, but Salzburg will not quit. Chris Richards, who’s just starting to work his way onto the field for Bayern’s first team, could see some action in Champions League. We can all hope Bayern gives Richards that much-needed experience in a few matches in the group stage.Which matchups interest you? Which Americans do you think can make it out of the group to the knockout stage?
GAMES ON TV
Sat, Oct 3
7:30 am Peacock Chelsea (Pulisic) vs Crystal Palace
9:30 am ESPN+ Werder Bremen (Stuart) vs Arminia
9:30 am ESPN+ Borrusia Dortmund (Gio Reyna) vs Freiburg
10 am beIN Sport Atletico Madrid vs Villareal
10 am NBCSN Everton vs Brighton
12:30 pm ESPN+ RB Leipzig (Adams) vs Schalke
12:30 pm NBC Leeds United vs Man City
3 pm bein Sport Valencia vs Real Betis
3 pm Peacock New Castle vs Burnley
4 pm FOX Orlando City vs NY Red Bulls
7:30 pm My Indy TV 23, ESPN+ Indy 11 @ St. Louis
8 pm ESPN+ Cincy vs Minn United
8 pm ESPN+ Dallas (Hedges) vs Columbus Crew (Zardes)
Sun, Oct 4
9am Peacock Arsenal vs Sheffiled United
9 am NBCSN Wolverhampton vs Fulham (Ream)
9 am ESPN+ Lazio vs Inter Milan
10 am beiN port Levante vs Real Madrid
11:30 am NBCSN Man United vs Spurs
12 ESPN+ Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin
2 pm Peacock West Ham vs Wolverhampton
2:45 pm ESPN+ Juventus (McKinney) vs Napoli
3 pm beIN Sport Barcelona (Dest, Konrad) vs Sevilla