Weekend Boxset: Zephyrs and Zodiacs

Friday



Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt v Hoffenheim


19.30 on BT Sport 3


Last season these two sides finished in the positions immediately above the relegation places - this season they are key players in one of the most competitive Bundesliga seasons in recent memory. Frankfurt's run of eight without defeat has seen them beat Dortmund and draw with Bayern. For Hoffenheim, a recent run of draws has seen them slip to fourth in the table but they remain unbeaten. Only goal difference separates them so it's all set up to be a great tie between two sides with genuine Champions League ambitions.
 



Saturday



Premier League, Watford v Everton


12.30 on Sky Sports 1


Two teams linked by their love of the same walk-on music. Visitors to Vicarage Road and Goodison Park are treated to the Theme from Z Cars as the teams come out. Watford will see this an opportunity to leapfrog the visitors who have just one point from their last five away games. Everton follow this fixture with home games against Arsenal and Liverpool - ties they won't want to be going into on the back of yet another away defeat.
 



Premier League, Leicester City v Manchester City


17.30 on BT Sport 1


Last season this fixture was one of the major turning points of Leicester's incredible title winning campaign. It ended 0-0 but defeat would have seen them slip to third place with Man City topping the table at the half way stage of the season - who knows how that would have affected the rest of the season. Last week's bruising defeat to Chelsea could be a similar turning point for Pep Guardiola's team. Defeat for Claudio Ranieri's side could see them slip into the relegation zone.
 



MLS Cup Final, Toronto FC v Seattle Sounders


01.00 (Sun) on Sky Sports TBC


A cup final? In December? Oh go on then. For those who aren't MLS aficionados, this is their Superbowl - the culmination of a knockout competition following a regular league season. To get to the final, Seattle beat FC Dallas who are the Supporters Shield winners - the equivalent of league champions. Created as an expansion side in the mid 2000s, this is Toronto's second post-season in their brief history. The Sounders, in one guise or another, have a name that stretches back to the early 1970s - positively neolithic in North American football - but this is their first MLS Cup Final, having joined the league in 2009.




Sunday



Championship, Derby County v Nottingham Forest


12.00 on Sky Sports 1


A fixture that revives memories of Brian Clough, this season's match also has a manager that has been in charge of both sides. Steve McClaren's return to Pride Park looks to have turned Derby's season around having won all their last five games. His time at Forest back in 2011/12 is best forgotten - leaving after just 10 games. While Phillipe Montanier's Forest started this season only marginally better, they have since hit a run of good form. Should be a cracking game and a perfect excuse not to sort out the Christmas decorations.
 



Serie A, Torino v Juventus


14.00 on BT Sport 2


The Derby della Mole is usually a one-sided affair but although comfortably top, Juve have slipped up on the road this season while Torino have put in some very impressive performances at home. If Joe Hart needs to prove himself during his loan spell at Torino, he won't get a much better opportunity against the likes of Mandzukic and an in-form Higuin.
 



Primeira Liga, Benfica v Sporting


18.00 on BT Sport ESPN


Benfica's surprise defeat to Maritimo last weekend perfectly sets up the Lisbon derby. Victory for Jorge Jesus' Sporting would see them overtake the side he led to three league titles, and top the table. With Bas Dost leading the line for Sporting this could be their chance to break the Benfica/Porto duopoly and take their first title since 2002.

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Graham (@grahamsibley)

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