Weekend Boxset: A new season

Sunderland in League One, Stoke in the Championship, Aberdeen taking on Rangers, and the Community Shield. Seven great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It's the start of a new season for the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

All times are BST


Friday



Bundesliga 2: Hamburg v Holstein Kiel


19.30 on BT Sport 2


Hamburg start their first season outside of the top tier against a side that has never been in the top tier. Despite their geographical proximity, these sides are from opposite ends of the German football spectrum and, since the Bundesliga started, have only met once before in a competitive match. Holstein Kiel came desperately close to second successive promotion at the end of last season, losing the relegation/promotion play-off over two legs to Wolfsburg. Former youth team coach Christian Titz (stop giggling at the back there) has been given a two year contract as head coach of Hamburg having received the hospital pass of trying to keep them in the top flight back in March. It should be no surprise then that he's looking to youth to start rebuilding the fallen giants:  21 year old Scottish centre-half David Bates joins from Rangers and has played a full part in their preseason, while 19 year old striker Manuel Wintzheimer joins from Bayern's youth ranks and looks set to be used as an impact sub. If you tune in to this one you'll also see what's happened with the famous clock. Alternative viewing: See how Frank Lampard starts out in management as Derby go to Paul Clement's Reading in the first game of the English football season - 20.00 Sky Sports Football & Main Event.
 



Saturday



League One: Sunderland v Charlton Athletic


12.30 on Sky Sports Football


Speaking of fallen giants, Sunderland start life in the third tier of English football after successive relegations. The only other time they were at this level was in 1987/88 after being relegated in the supposedly safe hands of Lawrie McMenemy. They gave the job to the 39 year old York City manager Denis Smith who got them back into the old First Division in just three seasons. Flash forward to the present day and Sunderland fans are hoping that similarly promising but largely uncelebrated young manager can repeat Smith's achievements. Jack Ross takes the hot seat at the Stadium of Light after two seasons as St Mirren boss winning the Scottish Championship by 12 points and returning the Paisley side to the top flight. Awarded the PFA Scotland Manager of the Year for his achievement, Ross attracted the interest of Dundee, Barnsley and Ipswich before choosing the Black Cats. Having almost completely rebuilt the side, he has a tough start: first here against a Charlton side that will be looking to improve on the play-off place last season, then facing a Luton side that scored 94 goals in their promotion from League Two.

 



Championship: Sheffield United v Swansea City


17.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


Graham Potter's run in the Europa League last season with Ostersund was enough for Swansea to choose him as their next manager after relegation from the Premier League. Potter's success with the Swedish club didn't come overnight: three promotions and the Swedish Cup all preceded last season's heroics against Galatasaray, Athletic Bilboa, Hertha Berlin and Arsenal. Potter built his Ostersund side over seven seasons to suit his approach to the game, choosing players others had abandoned and playing a style of football that was adaptable and expansive. Whether he will be given the time to reshape this Swansea side into something like his previous club is unlikely if he gets off to a bad start but, if successful, he could have a strong influence on the future career paths of British coaches with any kind of ambition. 
 



MLS: Atlanta United v Toronto


21.00 on Sky Sports Football


Do Toronto FC have it in them to turn around what has been a dismal MLS Cup defence? Back to back wins over Chicago Fire may not be enough to signal a change in fortune but it does leave them just six points behind with two games in hand over their fellow Canadians, Montreal, who are in a play-off position. As for why Toronto have been so poor this season, it's hard to pin it down to one thing, which could well be the simplest explanation in itself. Atlanta United on the other hand are riding high at the top of the Eastern conference and looking to better their third place finish they achieved in their inaugural MLS campaign, last season.
 





Sunday



Scottish Premiership: Aberdeen v Rangers


13.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


Having successfully negotiated the first and second qualifying rounds of the Europa League, Steven Gerrard now begins his first domestic season as Ranger's new manager. Arguably this is the toughest game he could have chosen to start with. Sure, an Old Firm match might have been tougher to win but for now his priorities are to start the season better than today's hosts who are, according to the league table, the second best team in Scotland right now - then he can start thinking about how to build a credible challenge against his City rivals and former boss.  Aberdeen also played on Thursday night  but their European adventure is now over for this season, losing in extra time away to Burnley.
 



FA Community Shield: Chelsea v Manchester City


15.00 on BT Sport 1


The traditional curtain-raiser raises the traditional curtain. It's anyone's guess how different this game will be to any of the similarly high profile but ultimately meaningless International Champions Cup matches in the far flung corners of the world. Feel free to stick with it to the end but we recommend you switch over during the second half to...
 



Championship: Leeds United v Stoke City


16.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


Even in today's inflated market, £7 million is still a large sum of money in the Championship but with the way Patrick Bamford finished last season for Middlesbrough, Leeds most expensive signing since Robbie Fowler seems a shrewd investment. Linking up with Adama Traore, Bamford flourished after being given a more central role for Boro in their run-in. If he can link up in the same way with Marcelo Bielsa's other key signing of the week, Jack Harrison on loan from Manchester City, he could well be in for more goals. Harrison, a play-making winger, has impressed over the last two seasons at New York City but his only experience at senior level in England is four loan appearances playing alongside Bamford at Middlesbrough at the end of last season. Stoke will be looking to Benik Afobe for their goals this season after a bizarre transfer interchange between them, Wolves and Bournemouth. Stoke were going to buy Afobe for £12 million from Bournemouth, however, having won promotion with Afobe on loan to them, Wolves could activate a clause in the player's contract to buy him for £10 million. They then completed the deal with Stoke thereby earning themselves £2 million. Easy money.
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend



Graham (@grahamsibley)



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