Weekend TV Preview: 24 - 26 September 2010



Friday 24 September

19.30 FC Köln v Hoffenheim, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
High-flying Hoffenheim suffered last-minute heartbreak at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena on Tuesday night when Daniel van Buyten's late winner completed Bayern Munich's comeback from 1-0 down. Their first chance to make amends comes on Friday with a visit to Köln, who sit in 11th after losing at table-topping Mainz in midweek. The home side's only win so far this season was a 1-0 home victory over St Pauli.

19.45 Portsmouth v Leicester City, Championship, Sky Sports 3/HD3
Where to start with Portsmouth? The ailing south coast club is in freefall and rooted to the bottom of the Championship with just two points in the bag after seven games. Home draws against Reading and Ipswich have done little to suggest Pompey can stay up. These two met in the League Cup on Tuesday evening and it was Leicester who emerged triumphant at Fratton Park, defeating Portsmouth 2-1 to progress to the fourth round. Which means Portsmouth will win on Friday, right?

Saturday 25 September

11.00 Zenit St Petersburg v FC Saturn, Russian Premier League, ESPN
Zenit are seemingly cruising to the Russian Premier League title and have a golden opportunity to extend their lead over Rubin Kazan and CSKA Moscow still further when they host the wonderfully-monikered FC Saturn on(and you thought away ties in Russia were long trips from England!) Saturday. Saturn jumped into 11th place by beating Dinamo Moscow in the last round of games and will be hoping to run rings around the leaders at Petrovsky Stadium. Wait...HA!

12.45 Manchester City v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2/3D
Considered by one or two people at Chelsea to be the team's first genuine challenge of the season, a visit to Manchester City is unlikely to give them as smooth a ride as they've had so far. The champions have started in thunderous form, scoring 21 goals in five games to start as they finished last term. City have had the measure of Chelsea lately but have made an unspectacular start to the campaign.

17.30 Werder Bremen v Hamburg, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Werder Breman have suffered something of a European hangover since their heroics against Spurs in the Champions League. They were beaten at home by league leaders Mainz on Saturday and hammered by Hannover in midweek. Life doesn't get any easier for them on Saturday, with Hamburg coming to town. HSV haven't had the best of weeks themselves, needing a last minute equaliser to take a point from their derby with St Pauli and losing at home to Wolfsburg, for whom the old strike duo of Edin Dzeko and Grafite did the business on Wednesday.

19.00 Levante v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 3/HD3
It could be a bit of a mis-match in La Liga as Jose Mourinho's Merengues head to the east of Spain to face Levante, who failed to put a point on the board in their first three games since returning to the top flight. They began with two 4-1 defeats, at home to Sevilla and away at Getafe, and lost their second consecutive home game to Villarreal last Sunday. A win against Almeria on Wednesday may have lifted the mood but both are near the foot of the table. Easy pickings for Real, you might think...and you'd be right.

19.45 Roma v Inter Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
When the fixture computer threw up an early season encounter between Roma and champions Inter this became one of the most anticipated games around Europe in the first couple of months of the season. But Roma's dire form has taken the sting out of the event somewhat, as has the AIC's threat of a players's strike. The forced abandonment was averted when Serie A and AIC came to an agreement on most of their disputed points and confirmed that week five matches would go ahead.

21.00 Athletic Bilbao v Barcelona, La Liga, Sky Sports 3/HD3
Bilbao are just two points behind Barcelona as Pep Guardiola's side head into the Basque Country. Both sides won in midweek, Bilbao thumping Mallorca and Barcelona riding a solitary David Villa strike all the way to three points against Sporting. Barca are currently without Leo Messi, who will be missing through injury for about another ten days. Still, they should have plenty of talent to get the job done in the meantime.

Sunday 26 September

12.00 Bolton Wanderers v Manchester United, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Bolton managed to keep eleven men on the pitch against Villa last weekend and got their reward with a creditable 1-1 draw at Villa Park. They'll have to be at the very top of their game to get anything from the early kick-off on Sunday. Manchester United's winner against Liverpool transformed a ropey 2-2 into a mood-lifting win. Dimitar Berbatov, of course, is in scorching form.

12.15 Aberdeen v Rangers, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 3/HD3
We're five matches into the SPL season and Celtic and Rangers both have - you guessed it - 15 points. Striker Kenny Miller has been absolutely on fire during the Gers' five wins, scoring eight league goals including all three away at Hibs and two against Dundee United. If Miller is a hat-trick hero then Aberdeen's Paul Hartley has gone one better already this season; his opening day hat-trick of penalties against Hamilton was the first of its kind in the Scottish Premier League.

14.05 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
The season's second West Midlands derby takes Aston Villa to Molineux, where the hot food will run out before half time in the away section. The visitors will be under Gerard Houllier's guidance for the first time in a Premier League game and will have their work cut out to avoid Wolves, who will be looking to bounce back after throwing away a lead against Tottenham last Saturday.

16.10 Newcastle United v Stoke City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Four points in two matches pulled Stoke away from the bottom of the table but there's a lot of work to be done yet. First up, a tricky trip to Newcastle to face a side that's hit the ground running upon its Premier League return without necessarily troubling the 'Wins' column too often. The Magpies won't be taking anything for granted though; despite a big home win against Villa it will be defeat to Blackpool that's freshest in the memory at home.

17.15 Kaiserslautern v Hannover 96, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Hannover's win over Bremen got them back to winning ways after a draw and a defeat, and they should be confident of an away win in Kaiserslautern on Sunday. Marco Kurz's side were humiliated at Westfalenstadion on Wednesday, when two goals by Lucas Barrios book-ended Borussia Dortmund's 5-0 victory. Kaiserslautern will be hoping to pick up a win to take them back into the top half of the Bundesliga.

18.00 Hercules v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1 (first half on red button)
Newly-promoted Hercules have been huge news already this season. The high-profile signings of Royston Drenthe and David Trezeguet powered them into the headlines before opening day but it was a shock win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp that really got their season underway. Unfortunately it was sandwiched by two defeats but you can be sure it was worth it. They bolstered their position with a goalless draw at Zaragoza in the week so they'll be confident of causing an upset against Sevilla.

19.45 Juventus v Cagliari, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
Oh dear, oh dear. The Old Lady was very active in the summer's calciomercato but she got off to a poor start in Serie A, finally winning against Udinese last weekend. Thursday night's match gave Juve a golden opportunity to bag a home win against Palermo but from the moment Javier Pastore put the Rosoneri in front there was no way back. Josep Ilicic and Cesare Bovo's second half strikes fired the visitors into a 3-0 lead and Juve's consolation goal was just that. Cagliari go into this one off a goalless week, drawing 0-0 in the scorching sun on Sunday lunchtime with Bari, and also at home to Cagliari in midweek.

20.00 Atletico Madrid v Real Zaragoza, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Zaragoza are rock bottom in La Liga ahead of Sunday's clash with fourth-placed Atletico. Draws with Hercules and Deportivo la Coruna have been offset by losses against Malaga and Racing Santander to pile the early pressure onto Jose Gay. Atleti's good start stumbled with defeat to Barcelona and a midweek draw at Valencia, where Simão's goal looked to have given them the points before Valencia's 83rd minute equaliser.

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