World Football

B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football for Weekend of August 23

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterAugust 22, 2014

B/R Experts Predict Top Matches in World Football for Weekend of August 23

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Our experts are facing another intriguing weekend of football action with the Bundesliga and La Liga seasons opening.

    German champions Bayern Munich begin the defence of their title with the visit of Wolfsburg, while Barcelona and Real Madrid both start their league campaigns with home matches.

    Premier League winners and runners-up will go head-to-head on Monday when Liverpool travel to Manchester City.

    Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal will be looking for his first competitive win when the Old Trafford side head to Sunderland.

    But do you agree with our experts' predictions for this weekend? Let us know in the comments below.

Bayern Munich vs. Wolfsburg

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    Sascha Schuermann/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Bayern Munich 3-1 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Arjen Robben

    Pep Guardiola's side has lost Javi Martinez to injury and may be a shade vulnerable at the back, but it has boatloads of attacking talent and will kick off the Bundesliga season in style.

     

    Karl Matchett: Bayern Munich 2-1 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski

    Lots will be expected of Bayern in European competition this season, and their 3-4-3 isn’t perfect just yet, but they should still have enough to take three points.

     

    Sam Tighe: Bayern Munich 3-1 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski

    Bayern lost the Supercup to Dortmund for the second year running, but that shouldn't affect their Bundesliga start. Home win.

     

    Will Tidey: Bayern Munich 4-0 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski

    Das romp on the horizon here, with Lewi in the goals and Wolfsburg walloped.

     

    Michael Cummings: Bayern Munich 2-0 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Thomas Muller

    After Bayern were beaten so soundly by Dortmund, some might expect Pep Guardiola's side to start slowly in the league. Maybe so, but I can't see past an opening win for the champions this weekend.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Bayern Munich 2-1 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Thomas Muller

    Just as Bayern Munich finally start getting healthy they lose Bastian Schweinsteiger to injury. Still, they should have enough to edge a very strong Wolfsburg side, although I don’t foresee them keeping a clean sheet.

     

    Alex Dimond: Bayern Munich 2-1 Wolfsburg

    First goalscorer: Robert Lewandowski

    Wolfsburg look like they will be a formidable team given time, but this game might come slightly too soon for them. Bayern to win despite their injury issues.

Sunderland vs. Manchester United

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    Scott Heppell/Associated Press

    Alex Livie: Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    The Louis van Gaal era did not get off on the right footing, but expect the Red Devils to return to winning ways against Sunderland.

     

    Karl Matchett: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Seb Larsson

    It’s clear there will be no plain-sailing to a top-four place for United without further significant additions, and Sunderland will be looking to make the Stadium of Light a tough place to visit.

     

    Sam Tighe: Sunderland 1-3 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    United to bounce back from their opening-day defeat, away from home, when the pressure is off.

     

    Will Tidey: Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Robin van Persie

    RvP to return for United and drag his team to a tight win at the Stadium of Light.

     

    Michael Cummings: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Wayne Rooney

    United's frustrations to continue at the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland might even fancy themselves for a win.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Steven Fletcher

    You really get the feeling it’s going to keep getting worse for Manchester United before it starts getting better. Sunderland, meanwhile, are coming off a late draw away to West Bromwich Albion and, like most Premier League teams at the moment, will see United as a beatable opponent. 

     

    Alex Dimond: Sunderland 2-2 Manchester United

    First goalscorer: Juan Mata

    After the struggles against Swansea, this is another awkward game for Louis van Gaal—with Sunderland eager to push on after their opening-day draw. If United are similarly open at the back they could struggle to win.

Barcelona vs. Elche

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: Barcelona 3-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Neymar

    Luis Suarez may be banned, but it will not matter, as Barca will prove too strong for Elche.

     

    Karl Matchett: Barcelona 3-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Lionel Messi

    A routine opening to the season for Barcelona against modest opposition. Nothing special about this one, but they’ll get the points on the board.

     

    Sam Tighe: Barcelona 4-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Lionel Messi

    Savage start to the season away to Barcelona. Expect Luis Enrique's "new era" to begin in style.

     

    Will Tidey: Barcelona 4-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Lionel Messi

    Barcelona to start the season with a very convincing performance at Camp Nou.

     

    Michael Cummings: Barcelona 2-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Lionel Messi

    Too many weapons for Barcelona, who should roll in their league opener.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Barcelona 4-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Pedro

    Barcelona are coming off back-to-back 6-0 wins and will have both Lionel Messi and Neymar available for their Primera Division curtain-raiser against Elche. They were 4-0 winners in the corresponding fixture last season.

     

    Alex Dimond: Barcelona 2-0 Elche

    First goalscorer: Pedro

    Elche helped scupper Barcelona's title dreams with a 0-0 draw toward the end of last season, but Barcelona should gain some belated revenge with victory in front of their own fans.

Manchester City vs. Liverpool

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: Manchester City 2-0 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Yaya Toure

    A first real clash of the big guns this season. Expect City's artillery to blow Liverpool out of the water.

     

    Karl Matchett: Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Dejan Lovren

    It’s a bit early in the season for a "classic," but the top two from last year should serve up a good match with plenty of chances, lots of optimism going forward at both ends and a few goals.

     

    Sam Tighe: Manchester City 2-0 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Edin Dzeko

    Liverpool scraped past Southampton, and while results are all that matter, they're not ready to take on City as yet.

     

    Will Tidey: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Daniel Sturridge

    This one is going to be very tight. I can see Liverpool going ahead early but then having to hold on for a point.

     

    Michael Cummings: Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Edin Dzeko

    City's tricky start to the season continues, and a victory over last season's underdog title challengers would lay down an early marker for the new campaign.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Edin Dzeko

    It’s never too early for a mouthwatering clash between title contenders. Eden Dzeko will repay Manchester City for his new contract with a goalscoring performance at Etihad Stadium.

     

    Alex Dimond: Manchester City 3-2 Liverpool

    First goalscorer: Samir Nasri

    City were the more impressive team over the opening weekend, but Liverpool may well raise their game for this one. Both defences look a touch vulnerable this early in the campaign—but City perhaps have the greater attacking firepower to take advantage.

Real Madrid vs. Cordoba

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Alex Livie: Real Madrid 4-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Gareth Bale

    Cordoba have the unenviable task of being the first side to step into battle against the mighty Real. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, James Rodriguez and Co. will prove a cut above.

     

    Karl Matchett: Real Madrid 3-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Real will have to work hard to find the right balance in midfield after opting to ditch two of their starting midfielders in a European Cup-winning season, as you do, but like Barca, this should be a straightforward three points.

     

    Sam Tighe: Real Madrid 3-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Karim Benzema

    It won't be full throttle Galacticos just yet, but this side is way too much for Cordoba even in the new season's infancy.

     

    Will Tidey: Real Madrid 3-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Karim Benzema

    All too easy for Spain's finest on opening weekend. Can't see Cordoba posing too much of a problem for Madrid's Galaticos.

     

    Michael Cummings: Real Madrid 3-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Karim Benzema

    For much of this season, the question with Real Madrid won't be whether they score goals—it will be a question of how many.

     

    Jerrad Peters: Real Madrid 3-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    It’s almost unfair that Cordoba will play their first-ever La Liga match against the most-expensive team ever assembled. Cristiano Ronaldo is already in rude form and will remain in his purple patch through the weekend.

     

    Alex Dimond: Real Madrid 4-0 Cordoba

    First goalscorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

    Welcome to La Liga, Cordoba! They will surely be happy to just keep the score down as they negotiate one of the toughest teams they will face all season in one of their first games.

Latest Standings After Weekend of August 23

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    David Ramos/Getty Images
    B/R Experts' Table
     Week's TotalTotal
    Karl Matchett1527
    Jerrad Peters1622
    Mike Cummings1121
    Alex Dimond1016
    Sam Tighe815
    Alex Livie713
    Will Tidey710

    B/R

    Correct result: 1 point

    Correct first goalscorer: 2 points

    Correct scoreline: 3 points

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