Weekend Boxset: 8-10 September: Barca, SPAL and free football



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

All times are BST (GMT +1)


Friday



Bundesliga: Hamburg v Leipzig


19.30 on BT Sport 3


Amidst predictions of another miserable season, Hamburg have burst out of the blocks with two wins in two games and sit third in the fledgling Bundesliga table.However, their good start is mitigated by the quality of opposition in Augsburg and Cologne, neither of which are up to much. In Leipzig, they face much stiffer competition and they will have to do it without centre back Mergim Mavraj who is suspended after his two yellows against Cologne. Leipzig did not start playing properly until the second half of their second match of the season. They came back from a goal down against SC Freiburg to win 4-1. Their number 9 is Timo Werner who scored two in that game and another three over the international break for Germany. If Werner keeps scoring at this rate throughout the season and into the World Cup he may become easily the first 100 euro German. But Hamburg’s bigger problem will be looking after Naby Keita who is possibly the best central midfielders in the league. Cut him off and then Leipzig will have to rely on Emil Forsberg to support the attack. It could be a long evening for HSV.



Saturday



Premier League: Manchester City v Liverpool


12.30 on SKY Sports Premier League and SKY Sports Main Event


Despite a very encouraging start to the season there are ripples of worry among some LFC fans concerned that a much hoped for addition to the back four was never made during the transfer window. The Reds had perhaps pinned too much hope on prising Virgil van Dijk away from Southampton that they may have missed opportunities elsewhere. That said, it’s so far so good for the Jürgen Klopp's team: second in the Premier League table and into the Champions League. City, while level on points, can’t claim to have started the new campaign with the same effervescence as their opponents. They were made to work for their 2-1 win at Bournemouth but do welcome back Kyle Walker from suspension. With a full roster from which to choose Pep has the opportunity to lay down something of a marker. For Liverpool it is possible that the Ox may feature, perhaps from the bench.



Bundesliga: Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich


17.30 on BT Sport ESPN


In Hoffenheim, Bayern face the best team yet in the Bundesliga, having previously dispensed with Leverkusen and Bremen. Over the summer Julian Nagelsmann’s team have lost a couple of key players in Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy to their opponents. Despite this TSG are still well fancied and on another day might have overcome Liverpool in the Champions league qualifier. Bayern are Bayern which for the last season or so, is characterised as formidable but ageing. Curious then that the let Renato Sanches go to Swansea. James Rodriguez is fit and may feature and Bayern have no other injury issues after the international break. Hoffenheim are likely to be without former Arsenal and Bremen winger Serge Gnabry who is on loan from Bayern for a season. The lad's injured and would have relished a chance to have a crack at his new club that he doesn't play for. Aye the Bundesliga can be complicated.



La Liga: Barcelona v Espanyol


19.45 on SKY Sports Football and SKY Sports Main Event


If you are a regular listener to the Sound Of Football you’ll be aware that I’ve developed a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Ousmane Dembélé. It will probably not have escaped your notice that the French international has left Borussia Dortmund for Barcelona after a protracted and ill-tempered transfer in the wake of the Neymar affair. Given that the 20 year old has yet to play a game this season it is uncertain if he will feature in this city derby against their proud but not quite so illustrious neighbours. Espanyol only have a point to show for the first two games of the season. They lost to surprise pace setters, Leganés, in the last match day. Quique Sånchez Flores' biggest summer signing was the centre back Naldo from Krasnodar for 2.5 Million Euro. These two clubs may live in the same city but they exist on different planets.





Sunday



Serie A: Inter v SPAL


11.30 on BT Sport 1


SPAL (Società Polisportiva Ars et Labor) is a new club but with an old name. They were founded after a merge with Giacomense in 2013. In that time the Ferrara based club have risen from Serie D to Serie A and now face one of the giants of the Italian game. Previous incarnations enjoyed modest success in the Italian top flight but have not been in the Serie A since 1968. With their small fan base and lack of experience, not much is expected of them either against Inter or for the rest of the season. That said, coach Leonardo Semplici’s inexpensively assembled team already have their first win of the season: A 3-2 win at home to Udinese. Inter are two from two and second behind Juve on goal difference. Striker Mauro Icardi started with a bang this season. The colourful Argentine scored a brace in wins against Fiorentina and Roma. I imagine you’ll get short odds on him finding the back of the net against the new boys.



Premier League: Swansea City v Newcastle United


16.00 on SKY Sports Premier League and SKY Sports Main Event


The Champions League kicks off next week so none of the decent teams are playing on Sunday. Swansea may give a debut to Renato Sanches who has joined from Bayern on loan. Swans boss Paul Clement has exploited his friendship with Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti to good effect. The Portuguese Euro 2016 winner may not have entirely settled in at Munich but I’m surprised that the Bavarians were prepared to let him go rather than give him more time. Anyway if the 20 year old links up with the returning Wilfried Bony then Swansea have a fighting chance of staying in the Premier League. The same cannot be said for Newcastle who, for all the cutting back on the wage bill have failed to strengthen their squad, much to the chagrin of their coach Rafa Benitez. If things go badly for the Toon we could be looking at the first coaching departure of the season… or maybe the second if Frank de Boer hasn't left Palace should the Eagles lose to Burnley earlier in the day (13:30 SKY Sports Premier League).



Superliga Argentina: Rosario Central v San Lorenzo


20.05 on FreeSports


We have a new sports broadcaster here in the UK. FreeSports is a collaboration between Premier and Setanta. Along with a range of largely unwatchable sports they have the rights for the Portuguese and Argentine Leagues. The best part of the deal is it's free. So on Sunday night I'll be sticking a coat hanger in the back of my upstairs telly and watching me some free Argentine football. What a time to be alive. The Superliga is only one game old and I mean that literally as this is the new revamped league that replaces the Primera Division. There are 28 (twenty eight) teams in this league so no shortage of action. This could be a great acquisition for FreeSports and it will be very interesting to see if UK audiences take to this competition. I'm afraid I can't offer much by way of a preview but felt it necessary to bring it to your attention.



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend



Terry (@terryduffelen)



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