The stars will be out. The fix for soccer fans before the major European club seasons get underway will be relieved. The chance for the best of the MLS to stare down the best of Germany will play out over 90 minutes on the pitch.
The MLS All-Stars will face Bayern Munich on Wednesday night. And boy, should it be fun.
Below, you'll find everything you might need to prepare for the match, from the viewing schedule to odds to a preview of the major storylines on tap.
|Viewing Guide and Odds|
|Wednesday, August 6 at 9:30 p.m. ET||Providence Park, Portland, Oregon||ESPN2||WatchESPN||Bayern Munich (-2) or MLS All-Stars (+700), Bayern Munich (-400) and draw in regulation (+240)|
|Odds via Bovada|
What's At Stake?
Technically nothing, but underneath the surface, several interesting storylines should play out throughout the course of the game.
For starters, one of the debates heading into this contest is whether the MLS should consider reverting back to an East vs. West showdown to get more MLS players into the spectacle. Clint Dempsey spoke to Bleacher Report's Jason Pettigrove about the format:
On a global scale I think it’s more interesting the more players that you have from different parts of the world, because people will feel a connection and want to watch those games.
But at the same time I kinda like the old East versus West, where you get to reward more players playing well during the season, and you can reward more coaches the opportunity to coach their respective conferences, whether it’s East or West.
But it’s still exciting.
Personally, I love the format. The simple truth about the MLS is this: Compared to the big leagues in Europe, the quality of play isn't as high. It continues to get better, and the MLS is hardly the minor league version of club football, but it can't yet compare to the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga or Serie A.
So these MLS All-Star games against top clubs from around Europe are an interesting measuring stick for the league, but also a fascinating way to market American clubs into Europe and vice versa. For a league that's a bit more isolated than the European leagues—who come together for the Champions and Europa Leagues—extending the MLS brand into Europe is savvy.
And as we've seen in the past several summers, the top European clubs are eager to spread their brands into the MLS.
There are other storylines to watch for, of course. This game will feature a number of players from the United States and German national teams who faced off in the World Cup group stage, so revenge might be on the brain.
Bayern Munich has one of those American players in Julian Green, so seeing him get a run with Bayern's first team should have U.S. fans excited.
On the other end of the career spectrum, this likely will be the last time Thierry Henry appears for the MLS All-Stars, as he's been tipped to retire after the season. Would anybody be shocked if he provided a highlight-reel moment or two in his swan song?
Finally, there is pride at stake. While Bayern Munich is essentially the Bundesliga's version of an all-star team, the MLS All-Stars aren't going to want to lose against a club team. Sure, the Bavarians are more accustomed to playing with one another and are one of the most skilled collections of talent in the world.
But these are the MLS All-Stars. They have a league to represent. They won't want to lose. And that alone should make the match intriguing.
The MLS All-Stars may have pride at stake, but Bayern Munich has talent to spare. Even if the contingent of German World Cup players don't make an extended appearance, as many just ended their summer break, Bayern Munich still has players like Robert Lewandowski and Franck Ribery to lean on.
It's a spoil of riches, and Pep Guardiola's side likely will take this match seriously. It has a Bundesliga and Champions League campaign to prepare for, after all.
The MLS All-Stars won't be embarrassed. They have enough talent to ensure that much. But they won't win, either. Bayern Munich takes this one, 4-2.
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