Weekend Boxset: Madrid, Milan and Usain Bolt

Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It's the Sound of Football's Weekend Boxset.



Friday



Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig


19.30 GMT on BT Sport 3 (US: Fox Sport 2)

The German 50+1 system of club ownership is often lauded amongst fan groups as a system which protects clubs from the whims of big money investors. However, a grandfather clause allows Leverkusen to be solely owned by the Bayer corporation, while Leipzig have skirted the rule by making club membership prohibitively expensive, and dominated by Red Bull employees.

On the pitch, RB Leipzig are joint top, unbeaten, and have a great chance to put pressure on Bayern by opening a three point gap at the top with a win here. The Friday fixture suits Leverkusen who will want as much time as possible to recover for a tough trip to Moscow in the Champions League on Tuesday.

If the machinations of German club ownership doesn’t whet your appetite you could instead switch over to Sky Sports 1 for Brighton & Hove Albion v Aston Villa.

Saturday



Premier League: Man Utd v Arsenal


12.30 GMT on Sky Sports 1 (US: NBCSN)

Even in poor form, United raise their game for a visit from the Gunners. Mourinho’s record against Wenger is just as lop-sided. Put both factors together and you could see United’s best performance of the season so far. Or not.

Arsenal haven’t won a league match at Old Trafford for over a decade, a victory here would mean so much more than just putting to rest Wenger’s November “hoodoo”.
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich


17.30 GMT on BT Sport 2

It’s likely that Bayern could start this match in the rare position of being three points behind the leading side in the Bundesliga. A series of drawn matches has allowed RB Leipzig to chip away at their lead. The two sides are scheduled to meet in the last game before the winter break.

Dortmund’s domestic form is unconvincing: a win against bottom side Hamburg their only victory in the last five league games. The big news from the Dortmund camp is that Usain Bolt has been training with the first team as part of a Puma PR exercise.  It’s very unlikely that Thomas Tuchel will bring the multiple Olympic champion on as a second half substitute.

Top tip: only tourists refer to this match as Der Klassiker.
La Liga: Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid


19.45 GMT on Sky Sports 5 (US: beIN Sports)

While Real have had the advantage in these sides’ Champions League encounters, they haven’t registered a league win in the last six Madrid derbies.

Diego Simone’s Atleti side have fallen off the pace after away defeats to Sevilla and Real Sociedad. Star man Antoine Greizmann is a doubt after picking up a foot injury on international duty, though it’s not a break as was first feared.


Sunday



Championship: Leeds United v Newcastle United


13.15 GMT on Sky Sports 1

You don’t have to be too long in the tooth to remember when this would have been a game between two sides chasing a Champions League place. Today it’s all about getting back into the Premier League.

After losing their first two games in the Championship, Rafa Benitez’s side have been on a tremendous run and now top the table by three points. Leeds have climbed to sixth - their best start for three seasons. Garry Monk is their sixth full time manager since then, so fans of the club are probably more interested in conflicting reports from Italy that owner Massimo Cellino is in the process of selling up.
Premier League: Middlesbrough v Chelsea


16.00 GMT on Sky Sports 1 (US: Telemundo)

Back in 2006 this fixture sprang one of the surprises of the season when Steve McClaren’s side beat Jose Mourinho’s runaway champions 3-0. Recent draws against Arsenal and City suggest that Aitor Karanka’s Boro are an improving side but a similar result in this game is unlikely.

Chelsea have gone from strength to strength since their defeat at Arsenal, winning five in a row in flamboyant style and without conceding a goal. With games against Spurs and City coming next, Antonio Conte’s side need to maintain their form to make the most of their lack of Champions League distraction.
Serie A: AC Milan v Inter


19.45 GMT on BT Sport 2 (US: beIN Sports)

Have Inter finally settled on a safe pair of hands with Stefano Pioli’s appointment as head coach replacing Frank De Boer? Inter have been shadow of the side they were under Mourinho and need to avoid a fifth consecutive season without Champions League football. 

After an indifferent start to the season under new coach Vincenzo Montella, Milan are in strong form - a shock defeat to Genoa their only loss in 9 matches. For both coaches, it is their first involvement in a Milan derby.

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

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