All the leagues are now going this weekend and here is a guide to the five games you must watch.
Bayern Munich vs Bayern Leverkusen
Bayern Munich kick off the Bundesliga with a tough test.
Bayern will look to start the season off with a good start. They have won the last five titles and are looking for a record sixth in a row. Yet, the feeling has changed after a bad preseason, where the team lost four games, many are believing this might be the most vulnerable we have seen the Munich side in years. Many of their stars like Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are ageing and they have many new signings that have yet to find their place in the squad.
Friday will be the start of this squad and we will get to see if what everyone fears are true.They face a tough opponent in Bayern Leverkusen who look to improve from the form they showed last season. Leverkusen had a huge fall from grace dropping from playing in the Champions League to finishing 12th in the table. Adding more to the problem. they have sold their best-attacking options in selling Chicharito and Hakan Çalhanoğlu. Still one would expect them to improve from their form last year. They bring back most of the spine of the team and bring in the veteran and former title winner in Sven Bender to play along side his twin brother. They are a side that is not going to beat itself.
The game will show if Leverkusen is still able to play at a Champions league level and if they will miss their two main men up front. On the other hand, this game will let us see if Bayern Munich are the team we saw in the pre-season or the one we saw the last five years. The game is today at 2:30, which is the perfect way to start your weekend.
Barcelona vs Real Betis
Barcelona is in the middle of a crisis and begins the league this Sunday. After losing by an overall 5-1 margin to their bitter rivals Real Madrid, losing Neymar to PSG and now facing four to five weeks without Suarez, Barcelona is desperate for good news.
With less than two weeks left in the transfer window, Barcelona is desperate to get talent in through the door to improve the level and depth of the squad. This is something they need badly. The level they showed in the Spanish Super Cup is far from what we expect from the Spanish giants and not good enough to win the league. On Sunday we will see a Barcelona we haven’t seen in a while, one without Neymar nor Suarez. This will be a big test at home to show that they can survive this stretch without Suarez and the new signing that have yet to come in. Ernesto Valverde will have to work with what he has.
The game is also important because the last few years the league has gone down to the final moments and a bad start to the season can create a gap in the points on the table too big for them to make up during the year. This stretch will prove how good of a Manager and fit Valverde is as the team will have to find a new way to play.
From the Real Betis point of view, they see a weak Barcelona and a chance to get points at the Camp Nou. A place where not that many teams will find success this year. Any points are good for the Seville side as they look to get out of the relegation battle they were in last year. Betis did find success last year against the Catalan side drawing 1-1 and only dropping the 3 points by a Suarez goal at the last minute. The teams face off Sunday at 2:15 pm
Tottenham vs Chelsea
The top two teams from England last year face off in a London derby that has been full of sparks the last couple of seasons. Chelsea is coming off a shocking home loss against a Burnley side that was dreadful on the road last year. Adding insult to injury the squad will be without Cahill because of the red card last game and Eden hazard who is still hurt. Another loss will put pressure on Chelsea as the defending champions will be looking at back to back defeats to start the year.
Spurs, on the other hand, will want to prove that they are true title contenders this year. Chelsea cost them their title chances two years ago and beat them last season they will still look for revenge. The North London side are one of the title favourites and nothing will go better in the squad than a derby win over the reigning champions. This is setting up to be a very heated encounter.
Expect an amazing atmosphere as this will be the first game the Spurs will play at their temporary home of Wembley. Tottenham will play all their home games this year at Wembley while their new stadium finishes up for next year. The Spurs will look to kick off the season right in the historic stadium while Chelsea will look to make up for their recent performances at the grounds. Coming from losing back to back finals against the other North London side, Arsenal.
It may be only the second week of the season but this game could be crucial as both teams expect to be in title contention. Being the first game between the top six this year, everyone in England will be locked into this match. The game kicks off at 11:00 am on Sunday
Inter Milan Vs Fiorentina
Serie A is also beginning this weekend and the game to watch is Inter Milan vs Fiorentina. Inter Milan want to consider themselves a title contender and there is no better test that an established team in Italy like Fiorentina. The game will also have an extra flavor to it as Inter got two of the most important players from the Florence side this summer.
Matias Vecino and Borja Valero moved into the Milan side this summer giving up on the Florentine side, a side Valero was the captain of. Fiorentina is one of the most ambitious clubs in Italy and is doing a massive overhaul of their roster this summer, bringing in 19 players and letting 15 go. Creating a massive earning of 79 million. The squad is now young and full of potential highlighted by the signing of Giovanni Simeone and will look to surprise the Milan side in the season opener.
Fiorentina has the potential with this squad to create a young core for years to come and this game will be the first test for the inexperienced squad against one of Italy’s finest. For Inter it is important to start with a win as having good momentum this year will be huge as an extra Champions League place has been added to the Italian league. With their main rivals A.C. Milan having big spending summer, Inter wants to have a good showing to bring up the morale of the fans who were expecting a bigger transfer window up.
Both squad vision themselves being among those top four in Italy and playing Champions League next year. They have very different setups: Fiorentina with the young talented squad and Inter Milan with big very diverse and veteran squad and on Sunday we will see who is better set up for the year to come.
Other games to keep an eye on.
Other games that should peak interest are Arsenal and Manchester United who both get their first road test of the year. Mourinho’s Squad takes on a Swansea side that has just lost their top player in Gylfi Sigurðsson. Arsenal goes to Stoke to face a team who keeps being very ambitious with the signings. Expect former Madrid player Jesse to make his debut in the game.
In Spain both Madrid side starts on the road with winnable games, the great Madrid side that will be without Ronaldo to start but if the super cup is any indication the team the team will have no problem with Deportivo La Coruna. Atletico Madrid plays Girona FC the recently promoted side that has five Man City loan players on the roster.
The last good game to keep an eye on is Schalke 04 versus Reb Bull Leipzig, both teams are the favourites to push Bayern this year expect a high level back and forth encounter. In Italy Roma play Atalanta in a game that faces off two teams that were in the top four last season and set up to be a very entertaining encounter.
With all the leagues now going strong, and a transfer window that is still open it will be a good weekend to be a soccer fan.
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