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25 Preseason Friendlies You Need to Watch and Why

Crippy CookeContributor IJuly 17, 2014

25 Preseason Friendlies You Need to Watch and Why

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Pre-season has begun with clubs preparing their tactics and squads for the new campaign. Friendlies present managers with the opportunity to test out new systems and new players they may have bought during the summer.

    There are many unattractive fixtures in the coming weeks that aren't too appealing for neutral supporters, but there are a large selection of games that are sure to provide some early fireworks to ready everyone for the new season.

    For many games being played in the next few weeks, big clubs around Europe have been pitted against each other, as the respective hierarchy are looking to fill out their stadiums to boost finances, which means getting in touch with popular sides and convincing them to play friendlies that will attract a lot of attention and attendance.

    So, in chronological order, what are the 25 preseason friendlies you need to watch this summer?

Dynamo Kiev vs. Olympiakos

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, 17 July

    Olympiakos could be boasting a squad featuring the likes of former Barcelona left-back Eric Abidal, ex-Fulham midfielder Pajtim Kasami and former Real Madrid and Barcelona striker Javier Saviola when they come up against Dynamo on Thursday.

    While a lot of friendlies can be slow-paced and uneventful, Thursday's clash could be a well-contested match with the away side potentially bringing some well-known European talent with them.

Real Betis vs. Brighton

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, 17 July

    New Brighton manager Sami Hyypia will be able to give the Seagulls' supporters a glimpse of what's to come with their highly awaited friendly against Real Betis on Thursday, 17 July. The club recently procured the signature of experienced defender Aaron Hughes, who could make an appearance against the Spanish club.

    With Hyypia's previous job at Bayer Leverkusen seeing him go head-to-head with the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund while having faced Manchester United in the Champions League, big things are expected of the former Liverpool defender upon his first management role in England.

Hertha Berlin vs. Vitesse

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    Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

    When: Friday, 18 July

    Vitesse could feature two hot prospects in their friendly against Hertha Berlin on Friday. The Dutch side have Bertrand Traore and Zakaria Labyad while the likes of new signing Denys Oliynyk and fringe player Marcus Pedersen, who was on loan at Barnsley last season, may get a run-out to prove his worth to his parent club. It should be a competitive game with many players looking to impress.

Club Brugge vs. Bordeaux

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    When: Friday, 18 July

    French club Bordeaux are the team to watch in their friendly against Club Brugge. They will be boasting many recognisable names in their lineup against the Belgian side.

    Players such as French international goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, Marc Planus, Julien Faubert, formerly of Real Madrid, talented playmaker Gregory Sertic, ex-Monaco man Jaroslav Plasil, Henri Saivet and David Bellion could feature, so it's well worth a watch.

Ajax vs. Real Sociedad

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 19 July

    Two strong clubs will be going head-to-head in a must-see friendly. Ajax could feature Netherlands World Cup participators Jasper Cillessen, Daley Blind and Joel Veltman while young stars such as Davy Klaassen and Nicolai Boilesen may play, too.

    Sociedad will have some stars potentially playing against the Dutch Eredivisie champions. Inigo Martinez, Xabi Prieto, Sergio Canales, Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela may well line up against Ajax in some capacity.

Galatasaray vs. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 19 July

    Turkish Super Lig runners-up Galatasaray will likely be taking a strong team to face difficult German opposition Bayer Leverkusen. Both teams will boast squads having played in the Champions League last season, so it should be a high-quality match.

Peterborough vs. Wolves

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    Dan Mullan/Getty Images

    When: Tuesday, 22 July

    The two sides met twice in League One last season but now are a division apart. Wolves earned promotion to the Championship in 2013/14 while Peterborough failed in the League One playoffs. There could be some resentment in Tuesday's game that could see a good atmosphere and an entertaining clash.

Roma vs. Liverpool

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Wednesday, 23 July

    Roma and Liverpool are two sides who finished runners-up in their respective leagues last season. Tuesday's clash will see top European talent on the same pitch against each other, which should make for a fantastic spectacle.

Feyenoord vs. Real Sociedad

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    When: Wednesday, 23 July

    Feyenoord have lost their manager, Ronald Koeman, and a couple of their first-team players this summer, but they will still put on a show against a strong Sociedad side. While the hosts finished runners-up in the Eredivisie in 2013/14, they will want to go one better by ensuring pre-season preparations are perfect.

Hartlepool vs. Sunderland

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    Richard Sellers/Getty Images

    When: Wednesday, 23 July

    There's a North-East derby between Hartlepool and Sunderland on Wednesday, 23 July. The home fans will certainly make the most of the occasion by filling out the stadium while Sunderland will want to impress in one of their last friendlies before the new season starts.

Lyon vs. Sevilla

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    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    When: Wednesday, 23 July

    French club Lyon will face a strong Spanish outfit in Sevilla on Wednesday. Both sides finished fifth in their respective leagues last season and possess talented individuals that could make for a good watch.

Toronto vs. Tottenham

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Thursday, 24 July

    Former Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe could play against his old side when Toronto play Spurs in a friendly on Thursday, 24 July. It will make for a great atmosphere should he get on the pitch while a great occasion for the Tottenham squad to meet an old teammate.

LA Galaxy vs. Man Utd

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Thursday, 24 July

    Manchester United's American owners will enjoy the club's friendly against MLS side LA Galaxy on Thursday, 24 July. The two clubs have history with long-serving winger David Beckham having played for both sides, and the friendly will raise lucrative funds. Galaxy will put on a good show, so the game should be an entertaining affair.

Hertha Berlin vs. PSV

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    Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, 24 July

    Hertha Berlin and PSV are two strong European sides fairly even in regard to the strength of their squads and should play out a good friendly. Johnny Heitinga, signed this summer, could feature for Hertha. For PSV, World Cup stars Georginio Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay may feature although tournament fatigue could be an issue.

AC Milan vs. Olympiakos

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Friday, 25 July

    Serie A giants AC Milan could have striker Mario Balotelli featuring against Olympiakos in their friendly on Friday, 25 July. New signing Adil Rami, with existing stars such as Ignazio Abate and Keisuke Honda, may feature.

Man Utd vs. Roma

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, 26 July

    Roma will have memories of their infamous thrashing at the hands of Manchester United in the Champions League, but their pre-season friendly should be more even.

    The Italians have the likes of Gervinho, Miralem Pjanic, Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, who could all play against a United side potentially with new boys Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera in the squad.

Inter vs. Real Madrid

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 26 July

    Two heavyweights of European football will lock horns in one of the most eagerly anticipated friendlies this summer. Inter Milan face Real Madrid, with players such as Nemanja Vidic, Cristiano Ronaldo, Yann M’Vila and Gareth Bale likely to feature in some capacity.

AC Milan vs. Man City

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    Dino Panato/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, 27 July

    Another game between two football giants sees AC Milan take on Manchester City. Yaya Toure, Jeremy Menez, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Robinho— formerly of Man City— could all be on the pitch together.

Valencia vs. AS Monaco

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    Lionel Cironneau/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, 2 August

    Valencia will have the likes of Pablo Piatti, Victor Ruiz and Jonas coming up against James Rodriguez, Joao Moutinho and Dimitar Berbatov of AS Monaco in their friendly in August. It should be a good watch.

Malaga vs. Newcastle

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 2 August

    A new and improved Newcastle side will line up against Malaga in August, with the likes of Remy Cabella and, as reported by Daily Mail, the newly signed Emmanuel Riviere expected to play to boost match fitness before the season. Newcastle may fancy their chances with their new recruits.

Tottenham vs. Celtic

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    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 2 August

    Celtic never fail to put in a good show against a Premier League side, and despite their meeting against Tottenham being only a friendly, the Scottish Premier League champions will be fired up.

    Their season started earlier than Spurs', as they've already played a Champions League qualifying game, so there's every reason to believe Celtic could spring a surprise.

Arsenal vs. Benfica

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 2 July

    Arsenal could have a full-strength side out against Benfica in their August friendly. While the game won't be played at a high intensity, manager Arsene Wenger will want to see how his strongest side can get on against Portuguese Liga champions Benfica.

Everton vs. Porto

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Sunday, 3 August

    Everton and Porto will be an exciting game to watch, as both sides possess very strong players who can change the game with a flick of a switch. Everton finished fifth last season and wouldn't consider themselves somewhat on par with a side like Porto, but the Portuguese league runners-up still boast quality individuals such as Steven Defour, new boy Cristian Tello and talented striker Jackson Martinez to keep Everton busy.

Werder Bremen vs. Chelsea

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    When: Sunday, 3 August

    Werder Bremen were one of the sides Chelsea loaned former player Kevin De Bruyne out to when he was still at Stamford Bridge, so the two clubs should have a good relationship. Nevertheless, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho doesn't like to lose, so he won't be taking liberties against the German side.

Tottenham vs. Schalke

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    Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, 9 August

    Former Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby will be reunited with the German side when they travel to face Tottenham in August's friendly.

    As the game is close to the start of the Premier League season, Spurs are likely to play fringe players to limit the risk of injury to key individuals.

    Nevertheless, both sides have strong squads, which should make for a good watch.

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