This weekend is El Derbi madrileño, the League Cup final, the derby d’Italia, and two big games in Germany and France between heavyweights
- Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid ~ Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Saturday, February 27th at 10:00 am EST on beIN Sports
The Madrid Derby or in Spanish El Derbi madrileño takes place this weekend as Atletico travels across the Spanish capital to the Bernabeu. The two teams are currently chasing Barcelona for the title this season and both would love to take all three points from their crosstown rivals. Both teams drew last weekend in the league, which opened the gap between Atletico and Barcelona to 8 points. Atletico is one point ahead of Real Madrid. Atletico has the best defense in the league, having conceded just 11 goals all season. That is an average of .44 goals against per game. Real Madrid has the league’s best offense having scored 71 goals. That is an average of 2.84 goals per game. One of the two will have to give during this game. The game in the Calderon ended with a 1-1 draw. Real Madrid will be without Gareth Bale, Pepe, and Marcelo for this clash. Atletico Madrid will be missing Yannick Carrasco and Tiago. Stefan Savic is in doubt which could mean that Thomas Partey returns to the starting lineup. Fun fact for this game, Atletico Madrid has gone 180 minutes without conceding a single shot on target in the league.
Match Result – Real 4/5, Atleti 15/4, Draw 13/5
First Goalscorer – Ronaldo 11/4, Benzema 9/2, Jese 5/1
My Pick – Real Madrid 1, Atletico Madrid 1: Goals by Ronaldo and Saul
James’ Pick – Real Madrid 2, Atletico Madrid 1: Goals by Ronaldo, Benzema, Griezmann
- Manchester City vs. Liverpool ~ Wembley Stadium, London ~ League Cup Final
Sunday, February 28th at 11:30 am EST on beIN Sports USA
The first major trophy in England is up for grabs this weekend as Manchester City and Liverpool square off in Wembley Stadium on Sunday. The two teams will be looking to add some silverware to their trophy cabinets. For Liverpool, this is their 12th trip to the final having won the League Cup a record 8 times. The last time they won the title was in 2012 under Kenny Daglish. This is Manchester City’s 5th trip to the final. They won the Cup in 2014 and two times in the 70s. When the two teams met earlier this season, Liverpool defeated Manchester City 4-1 in what has to be said was probably the team’s best performance under Klopp. They will look to do it again, but City is in better health and will be looking for some revenge. City should have the majority of their squad healthy for this game. The only really big figure missing will be Kevin De Bruyne. Liverpool also has some key players back as Daniel Sturridge looks to be getting closer and closer to his form of a couple years ago. Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Joe Allen, and Adam Lallana could all return for this game. It should be a very entertaining tie with one team picking up a trophy for this season.
Match Result – Liverpool 21/10, Man City 13/10, Draw 5/2
First Goalscorer – Aguero 7/2, Iheanacho 9/2, Sturridge 11/2
My Pick – Man City 1, Liverpool 2: Goals by Aguero, and Sturridge (2)
James’ Pick – Man City 2, Liverpool 1: Goals by Aguero, Toure, and Sturridge
- Wolfsburg vs. Bayern Munich ~ Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg
Saturday, February 27th at 9:30 pm EST on Fox Sports 2
Wolfsburg would not have liked what happened this week in the second half of the Bayern Munich vs. Juventus match. Juventus was able to score two goals and punish a team that seemingly took their foot off the gas. This means that Bayern will be upset and could look to take their aggression out on Wolfsburg. Bayern Munich is pretty safe at the top of the Bundesliga with an 8 point advantage on their nearest rivals. They look set to wrap up their fourth title in a row. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, has some work to do if they want to get back into the Champions League for next season. They are currently 4 points outside of the Champions League places. Wolfsburg has a long injury list as Benaglio, Jung, Caligiuri, Guilavogui, Bas Dost, Henrique, Seguin, and Ascues are all out of the game. Bayern on the other hand will be without Jerome Boateng, Holger Badstuber, and Javi Martinez. Rafinha is suspended due to accumulation of bookings. It will be another mix and match for Pep at the back, but Bayern will still be the stronger team.
Match Result – Wolfsburg 7/1, Munich 2/5, Draw 15/4
First Goalscorer – Lewandowski 13/5, Muller 10/3, Robben 9/2
My Pick – Wolfsburg 1, Bayern Munich 3: Goals by Draxler, Lewandowski (2), and Muller
James’ Pick – Wolfsburg 1, Bayern Munich 3: Goals by Kruse, Lewandowski (2), and Mueller
- Juventus vs. Inter Milan ~ Juventus Stadium, Turin
Sunday, February 28th at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports
This weekend two of the biggest clubs in Italy clash as Juventus and Inter Milan meet in Turin. This game is known as the Derby d’Italia. It was given this name back in 1967, as this is probably the most intense match in Italy between teams from different cities. The first game between these two clubs was played in 1909. Juventus has climbed to the top of the table and Inter Milan has slipped off the top table and are now in 5th place. They are still in the running for the Champions League places but will need to get some wins under their belt. They are currently 4 points off the pace. Juventus has the best defense in the league, conceding just 15 goals this season. Inter Milan has a solid defense as well, having conceded just 23 goals in the 26 games played so far. This looks to be a low scoring affair. Juventus will need to win to guarantee that they are top of the table at the end of the weekend.
Match Result – Juventus 4/7, Inter 5/1, Draw 3/1
First Goalscorer – Mandzukic 7/2, Dybala 4/1, Morata 9/2
My Pick – Juventus 1, Inter 0: Goal by Dybala
James’ Pick – Juventus 2, Inter 1: Goals by Dybala, Mandzukic, and Icardi
- Lyon vs. Paris Saint-Germain ~ Stade de Gerland, Lyon
Sunday, February 28th at 3:00 pm EST on beIN Sports Connect
Lyon will get their chance to become the first French team to defeat PSG this season as they host the Parisian giants. PSG has effectively wrapped up the title having won 12 of their 14 games on the road, and they are currently unbeaten in the league. The only loss they have suffered all season was in Madrid during the Champions’ League group stage. Lyon has done better lately after winning just 4 of their first 10 games in the league. Lyon are currently 2 points from a spot in the Champions League next season. However, recently they have lost 3 of their last 6 in all competitions, including losses at Bastia and Lille in the league. There other loss was to PSG in the French Cup. The score that night was 3-0. Will we see something similar this weekend? This should be PSG’s biggest test until Monaco visits in March. The record unbeaten run was in 1994/95 when FC Nantes went 32 games unbeaten in one-season. This will likely keep their focus for the rest of the season as they chase the perfect season.
Match Result – Lyon 15/4, PSG 3/4, Draw 11/4
First Goalscorer – Ibrahimovic 3/1, Cavani 5/1, Lacazette 6/1
My Pick – Lyon 1, PSG 3: Goals by Lacazette, Cavani, Moura, and Ibrahimovic
James’ Pick – Lyon 1, PSG 3: Goals by Lacazette, Ibrahimovic (2), and Cavani
Champions League Recap
This week we had the last four matchups from the round of 16 take place. Here is just a quick recap of those four.
Arsenal 0, Barcelona 2: It took a while, but the quality of Barcelona finally shone through as they went on to win the game 2-0. Messi scored his first two goals ever against Petr Cech. The first goal was the end of a brilliant counter attacking move and the second was a penalty. Barcelona definitely has one leg in the final going into the second leg.
Juventus 2, Bayern Munich 2: Bayern Munich absolutely dominated the first half. It was some of the best football I have seen all year. However, late in the second half, Juventus pegged their way back to give them some hope for the second leg. Muller opened the scoring and Robben added the second early in the second half. Dybala and Sturaro sent this game back to Munich level.
PSV Eindhoven 0, Atletico Madrid 0: Atletico were the stronger side but could not find the back of the net. Jeroen Zoet had a wonderful game. This one is all to play for in a couple weeks in Madrid. Gaston Pereiro will miss the second leg thanks to his two yellow cards.
Dynamo Kyiv 1, Manchester City 3: Manchester City looks set to advance to the quarterfinals after a very good performance in Ukraine. Aguero and Silva scored in the first half. Vitaliy Buyalskyy gave the home team some hope, but Yaya Toure sealed the impressive win.
Europa League Draw
The round of 16 was drawn this morning with the two legs to take place on March 10th and March 17th and there are some great matchups. Manchester United recovered from their first leg defeat against Midtjylland and now faces one of their biggest rivals in Liverpool who defeated Augsburg 1-0. Athletic Bilbao will square off with Valencia. Borussia Dortmund has a date with Tottenham Hotspur. The holders, Sevilla, will face FC Basel. The other ties are Shakhtar – Anderlecht, Fenerbahce – Braga, Villarreal – Bayer, and Sparta Prague – Lazio.
FIFA Presidential Election
There is a new president of FIFA. Gianni Infantino won the election today in the second round of voting. He was the UEFA secretary general but will move up the ladder to the most powerful seat in sports. Ahead of the elections, the FIFA council voted to pass many reforms designed to repair its image. Tokyo Sexwale took himself out of the race just before the voting. He was the interim president. In the first round, Infantino earned 88 votes, Salman earned 85 votes, Prince Ali earned 27 votes and Jerome Champagne earned 7 votes. This meant that a second round was needed. Gianni won the second round with 115 votes. It will be interesting to see how he can change the image of FIFA and what he does with the organization.
Other Games on TV This Weekend
England – Premier League
West Ham United vs. Sunderland – Saturday at 7:45 am EST on NBCSN
Leicester City vs. Norwich City – Saturday at 10:00 am EST on NBCSN
West Bromwich Albion vs. Crystal Palace – Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBC
Manchester United vs. Arsenal – Sunday at 9:05 am EST on NBCSN
Italy – Serie A
Empoli vs. Roma – Saturday at 12:00 pm EST on beIN Sports USA
Milan vs. Torino – Saturday at 2:45 pm EST on beIN Sports USA
Sampdoria vs. Frosinone – Sunday at 9:00 am EST on beIN Sports
Germany – Bundesliga
Stuttgart vs. Hannover 96 – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus
Augsburg vs. Borussia Monchengladbach – Saturday at 9:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hoffenheim – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Soccer Plus
Mainz 05 vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Sunday at 11:30 am EST on Fox Sports 2
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Schalke 04 – Sunday at 1:30 pm EST on Fox Soccer Plus