Weekend TV Preview: 27 - 30 August 2010



Friday 27 August

19.30 Kaiserslautern v Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Champions League finalists Bayern Munich needed a last minute winner from Bastian Schweinsteiger to take all three points from their opening Bundesliga clash against Wolfsburg. Game Two comes in the shape of a trip to Kaiserslautern, who defeated Köln last weekend by letting their hosts go up a goal and down a man inside ten minutes and then picking them off in the last 20 thanks to a double from Srdjan Lakic and Ivo Ilicevic's 88th minute cherry-on-top.

19.45 Inter Milan v Atletico Madrid, UEFA Super Cup, Sky Sports 1/HD1 and ITV4
It's European Super Cup time and Rafael Benitez's first competitive European opponents are - wouldn't you just know it - Spanish. The Europa League winners head to Monaco hoping they can do what nobody else could last season and stop the Nerazzurri. Of course, Jose Mourinho has moved on; Atletico will have to deal with him later in the season.

Saturday 28 August

12.45 Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Fresh from a 6-0 thumping of Blackpool, Arsene Wenger's Arsenal look to keep up the early pace with leaders Chelsea by getting a jump on them in the weekend's early Premier League kick-off. Blackburn have started with a home win and an away loss and will need to be at their very best to keep The Gunners at bay.

17.20 Leicester City v Reading, Championship, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Leicester will be glad to be at home after a start that's seen them pick up two away defeats in the first three games, though they only drew the other. Reading are just a point ahead and both sides will want to jump-start their seasons with a win at the Walkers Stadium in the Championship's evening kick-off.

17.30 Manchester United v West Ham United, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
The 'United Backlash' is a concept almost as old as the Premier League and their namesakes from East London will be wary of a quick start from Alex Ferguson's side. West Ham have endured a torrid start, losing to both Villa and Bolton Wanderers. After their trip to Old Trafford, they face Chelsea. Anything they can take on Saturday would be a welcome bonus.

19.00 Malaga v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Valencia have finally cashed in on their prized playing assets and life without the Davids goes on with something more English than a sausage sarnie: a trip to Malaga. Their hosts finished 2009/10 one place and one point above relegation, their 37 (insert obligatory Clerks joke here) points representing the lowest surviving haul since the Spanish league moved to three points for a win.

19.45 Roma v Cesena, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Cesena return to Serie A on Saturday after two successive promotions that saw them jump from Serie C1 to Serie A without winning either of the divisions in which they competed. It couldn't be a much more difficult start for the Bianconeri. Claudio Ranieri's Roma finished second in 2009/10 after an eye-watering run of form following the departure of Luciano Spalletti.

21.00 Levante v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1

Levante finished third in the second division last term and were promoted only because goal difference (theirs was inferior) is not as high in the pecking order in Spain as it is elsewhere. Their top flight return begins with the visit of Sevilla, who finished fourth last season, tucking in behind Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia to enter Champions League qualifying at some stage or other.

Sunday 29 August

12.00 Motherwell v Celtic, SPL, ESPN/ESPN HD
The predictable 100 percent record to start the season will do little to ease the pressure on Celtic boss Neil Lennon. His side won at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on opening weekend and then demolished St Mirren at home to send a message to...well, Rangers, I suppose. Craig Broon's Motherwell have won one and lost one, responding well to a home defeat by Hibs by beating Kilmarnock on the road.

13.30 Birmingham City v Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Sixth faces fifth in this lunchtime clash of two teams looking to improve on their standing in the top flight. Birmingham have consolidated well since promotion and Alex McLeish has turned them into a team that's very difficult to beat. Matt Derbyshire could be just what they need to kick on. Bolton have started with a win and a draw and will fancy their chances at St Andrews.

14.15 St Mirren v Hibernian, SPL, Sky Sports 4/HD4
St Mirren's 4-0 beating by Celtic was preceded by a draw with Dundee United, and their early afternoon kick-off sees them take on Hibernian. Hibs played Rangers after the previously mentioned win at Motherwell, slumping to a 3-0 home loss at the hands of hat-trick hero Kenny Miller. They should be favourites for this one.

14.30 Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Tranquillo Barnetta and Renato Augusto grabbed two quick-fire goals to earn Josef Heynckes' Leverkusen a win at Borussia Dortmund last weekend and a ballsy start to the season after finishing fourth last time around. Sunday's opponents, Borussia Moenchengladbach, began with a pools-friendly 1-1 draw at home to Nurnburg.

16.00 Aston Villa v Everton, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
These two have started poorly, Villa shipping six at Newcastle after beating West Ham, and Everton losing to Blackburn on opening day. Home advantage could count for Villa against an Everton side with a tendency to start seasons slowly. If there is a loser here then they might just find it difficult to qualify for Europe. Not one for rash predictions, natch.

16.30 Stuttgart v Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Michael Frontzeck and Dortmund get the chance to respond to their loss against Leverkusen when they face Stuttgart, who began their Bundesliga campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Mainz. Christian Gross' men finished 6th last season, with Dortmund in 5th, so this could be a match that tells us if either of these sides might trouble the top three positions.

18.00 Racing v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports Red Button/1/HD1
An attraction for both football aficionados and starry-eyed glory-hunters, Barcelona finished first last season, winning the La Liga title ahead of big-spending Real Madrid with a mind-bending 99 points. With additions already including David Villa, Barca should have far too much quality for Racing, who finished three points ahead of a tightly packed relegation zone earlier this year.

19.45 Fiorentina v Napoli, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Viola begin life after Cesare Prandelli with a difficult fixture against new-look Napoli. Siniša Mihajlovic stepped up from Catania to replace the new Azzurri boss and will be expected to deliver both attractive football and a Champions League berth. The latter will be a tough challenge, and one that also faces Vesuviani coach Walter Mazzarri.

20.00 Real Mallorca v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
No pressure, Jose. Real Madrid are desperate to get a return on their huge spending and that means that second simply won't be good enough - probably the right man for the job, then. Mesut Özil is arguably Real's most eye-catching transfer of the summer, and the young German will have little time to settle before results are expected. Opponents Mallorca would have been playing Europa League football this season after finishing fifth, but UEFA declined to give them a licence due to the financial situation at the club.

03.00 (Sunday) Chivas USA v DC United, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
Chivas v DCU is hardly a marquee fixture for Major League Soccer so the prohibitive kick-off time might not be such a bad thing. The worst team in the Western Conference meets the worst team in the East on Sunday evening (US time) with a grand total of nine wins from a combined 41 matches (one of DC's four came against Chivas). United look for their second consecutive win, something they haven't achieved in MLS since June 2009.

Monday 30 August

19.45 Bologna v Inter Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
The Inter machine rolls into Bologna on Monday evening for the Nerazzurri's second TV game of the weekend. Benitez's Serie A career gets underway with a potentially tricky away trip and the huge weight of expectation that always seems to blight treble winners. The last time Italy had a champion that wasn't Inter was Juventus in 2004/05, an honour of which they were subsequently stripped. Is this the season for someone different to take control?

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