5 Games to Watch This Weekend
Football fans are spoiled for choice this weekend. There are games of significance happening all over the place—the only challenge is finding the time to watch all of them.
The Madrid derby in Spain looks like a must-win for Real, while Germany's two best clubs go head-to-head with Borussia Dortmund in a similar position behind league leaders Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, much attention is likely to focus on David Beckham's L.A. Galaxy bow in the MLS Cup against Houston Dynamo.
There's also a full program of Premier League and Ligue 1 games to consider, not to mention some heavyweight clashes elsewhere in Europe.
Here are my five games to watch this weekend.
5. Ajax vs. PSV Eindhoven
Two Dutch superpowers come together on Saturday as Eredivisie leaders PSV travel to fourth-placed Ajax—conquerors of Manchester City in the Champions League this season.
PSV have been scoring goals for fun, finding the net 49 times in their 14 league matches. Ajax have managed 33 goals in their 14 games, so we should be in for plenty of entertainment.
There's also interest in the form of two of Europe's hottest midfield transfer targets—PSV's Kevin Strootman and Christian Eriksen of Ajax.
Here's B/R's Sam Tighe with a scouting guide for Strootman, who is reportedly a target for Manchester United, according to Sky Sports. The Daily Mail reports that Tottenham are leading the race to sign the highly rated Eriksen.
Reports suggest Spurs, Arsenal and United will all be represented by scouts at the game on Saturday.
4. West Ham vs. Chelsea
It's not been the softest of landings for new Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez, whose team have drawn the first two games of his reign 0-0.
His own fans have booed him, while continuing to hail the man he replaced. Most of them would do anything to see Roberto Di Matteo reinstated tomorrow, but that's not going to happen.
Anything less than three points against West Ham will magnify the mutinous mood, especially if Chelsea fail to score for a third game running.
But it won't be easy. Sam Allardyce has the Hammers well drilled, and going to Upton Park is never easy—especially when you're a hated London rival.
Expect a fiery, frenetic encounter packed with drama. And expect West Ham to attempt to make Chelsea—and Benitez—feel as uncomfortable as possible.
3. Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid are 11 points adrift of Barcelona in La Liga. The defense of their title already feels like a lost cause, so anything less than a victory in Saturday's Madrid derby against Atletico will as good as confirm the fact.
The visitors will come with an eight-point lead over Madrid themselves. And they'll come armed with one of the hottest strikers in the world, in the form of Colombian goal machine Radamel Falcao.
Atletico are flying this season and hammered Sevilla 4-0 last time out in the league, while Madrid fell to a shock 1-0 loss to Real Betis.
Everything seems to suggest the real possibility of an Atletico victory, but history is emphatically against them. Writes Phil Kitromilides for Goal.com:
It has been 23 games and nearly 14 years since Atletico defeated their more illustrious neighbours in a competitive fixture, a fact which at last season lead to the Madrid Ultras holding up a banner in the style of a classified advert which read "Wanted: Decent rival for a derby."
If Atletico do triumph, expect Jose Mourinho rumors to dominate the news agenda afterward.
2. LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo
How will it end for David Beckham at L.A. Galaxy? Wanting to find out will drive millions to watch Saturday's MLS Cup at the Home Depot Center.
Standing in Beckham's way are Houston Dynamo, who beat Chicago Fire, Sporting Kansas and D.C. United in the playoffs and are staring down a first title.
Galaxy knocked down Vancouver Whitecaps, San Jose Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders on their way to the final and are seeking back-to-back MLS Cup wins.
Neither side performed particularly well in the regular season, but that counts for nothing now. On Saturday, it's down to a one-off final, and Beckham will be desperate to end his Galaxy career in a blaze of glory.
Might we also be seeing the last of Landon Donovan in a Galaxy jersey—maybe the last of Donovan as a footballer?
1. Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
So strong are Germany's top two this season that some have suggested they could meet in the Champions League final.
Bayern are running away with the Bundesliga, having won 12 of their 14 games and scored an impressive 40 goals in the process.
Dortmund have perhaps saved their best for the European stage, but the reigning German champions will go to the Allianz Arena knowing victory is vital if they are to keep alive their slim hopes of a third successive title.
To prevail, they'll need sparks to fly from Marco Reus and Mario Goetze in midfield, and a big performance from Polish striker Robert Lewandowski.
Dortmund will also have to protect against the attacking threat of Franck Ribery, Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Co.
Here's B/R's Clark Whitney with a breakdown of where the game will be won.
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