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Weekend TV Preview: 26 - 29 August 2011



Friday 26 August

19.30 Hertha Berlin v Stuttgart, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
The weekend's TV action begins in the German capital. Hertha fluked their second point of the season at Hannover last Sunday after a goal from Christian Pander was inexplicably ruled out. Markus Babbel will, however, have been encouraged by parts of their performance and hope to build on that tonight.
19.45 Fleetwood Town v York City, Blue Square Bet Premier, Premier Sports
Pundits' favourites Fleetwood and fancied outsiders York go bonce to bonce in the Conference this evening. The hosts haven't quite made the start expected of them, picking up just seven points from 12. York, meanwhile, have won three out of four.
19.45 Barcelona v Porto, UEFA Super Cup, Sky Sports 1/HD1 and ITV4/ITV4 HD
It's Champions League winners versus Europa League winners as UEFA congratulates itself on another successful season of homogeneity. Still, should be a pretty one, this.
01.15 (Sat morning) Racing v Arsenal, Argentina Apertura, Premier Sports
With Racing one of five clubs locked on seven points after three games (along with Boca Juniors, Velez Sarsfield, Colon and Lanus), Arsenal are already playing catch-up. Sound familiar?

Saturday 27 August

12.05 Aston Villa v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
Alex McLeish faces his first West Midlands derby in the claret and blue of Villa, with buoyant Wolves heading to B6 aiming to assert themselves over a Villa team that remains subject to more than a few question marks. Sounds like just the kind of game Mick McCarthy loves.
17.30 Liverpool v Bolton Wanderers, Premier League, Sky Sports 2/HD2
All's good in the hood for Liverpool, who host Bolton on the back of a morale-boosting victory at Arsenal. Luis Suarez has started the season in goalscoring form, and that doesn't bode well for a Wanderers side that conceded three in their previous match, albeit against impressive opponents.
17.30 Bayer Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, ESPN/ESPN HD
Last season's top two meet in Germany, with the pair level on points after three games. After losing to Mainz, Bayer have beaten Werder Bremen and Stuttgart, while BVB's surprise defeat by Hoffenheim was sandwiched by six points against Hamburg and Nurnberg.
19.45 Cagliari v AC Milan, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
(NB: This match is likely to be postponed due to a player strike.) Italian champions Milan begin their defence with a trip to the Stadio Sant'Elia in Sardinia. Having seen the Rossoneri in some downtime earlier this summer, I can report that the air of confidence and calmness about the squad is positively blissful. Underestimate their chances of a repeat at your peril.
21.00 Granada v Real Betis, La Liga, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Granada were promoted to the top flight in June thanks to a victory over two legs against Elche in the second division playoff. It's their return to the first division after 35 years, and their first challenge is to host Betis.
22.00 Fluminense v Botafogo, Brazilian Championship, Premier Sports
Fluminense and Botafogo meet in the Brasileiro on Saturday with O Glorioso well positioned to improve on last season's sixth-placed finish. Champions Fluminense, meanwhile, languish in ninth and are already 12 points behind leaders Corinthians.

Sunday 28 August

12.45 St Mirren v Celtic, Scottish Premier League, Sky Sports 4/HD4
Having already lost to a team that isn't Rangers this season - I know! - Celtic could be playing catch-up to the tune of four points when this clash kicks off, with Motherwell playing earlier in the day. Rangers follow with the visit of Aberdeen.
13.15 Nottingham Forest v West Ham United, Championship, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Neither of these sides have quite had the starts to the season they would have hoped for, but it's the Hammers who have the edge as they head to Nottingham, with two wins in the bag so far compared to Forest's one.
13.30 Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City, Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Lean times in North London. With Arsenal suffering their most demoralising spell under Arsene Wenger, neighbours Spurs follow a heavy defeat to Manchester United with a visit from rivals City. With a tricky trip to Wolves up next, Tottenham could do with springing a surprise in their first home league game of the season.
15.45 Hearts v Hibernian, Scottish Premier League, ESPN/ESPN HD
Having been conquered by Spurs in Europe, it's back to SPL action for Heart of Midlothian, and Sunday is derby day. Paulo Sergio's men may be encouraged by Hibs' poor start to the campaign but, as the cliche goes, the form book goes out the window in games like this.
16.00 Manchester United v Arsenal, Premier League, Sky Sports 1/HD1/3D
Spurs dealt with comfortably, it's Arsenal next for Alex Ferguson's United and their North London double-header. The Gunners shook off a little of the dust of summer in midweek but one can't help feeling they could be in for a beating here.
19.00 Sevilla v Malaga, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
A 1-1 draw in Seville against Hannover left Sevilla without European football this season, having lost out 3-2 on aggregate to the German side. They regroup with a home clash against star-studded Malaga, who will be watched closely by many as the delayed season gets underway.
19.45 Udinese v Juventus, Serie A, ESPN/ESPN HD
(NB: This match is likely to be postponed due to a player strike.) Arsenal's afore-hinted win in the Champions League qualifiers leaves Udinese licking their wounds as big-spending Juventus come to Udine for the Battle of the Bianconeri. The home side arguably have match fitness on their side, but in the literal heat of midweek the defeat in Europe won't have done them any good.
22.00 Santos v Sao Paulo, Brazilian Championship, Premier Sports
Consecutive draws against Paranaense, lowly America Mineiro and Palmeiras have seen Sao Paulo slip back at the top, leaving them three points behind Corinthians. If they're to get their challenge back on track they will have to be wary of Borges, who's fired in 12 goals even as Santos struggle to get to grips with the campaign.
00.00 (Mon morning) New York Red Bulls v LA Galaxy, MLS, ESPN/ESPN HD
As we all know, there are only two teams in MSL: the one Beckham and Keane play for, and the one Henry plays for. They meet at Red Bull Arena. Fill your boots.

Monday 29 August

20.00 Barcelona v Villarreal, La Liga, Sky Sports 1/HD1
Yes, Spanish football is back if you're into that sort of thing, and what better way to end your Bank Holiday weekend than by sitting in front of the telly and watching Pep Guardiola's side knock your socks off? You may remember them from such La Liga titles as last season.

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