Weekend Boxset: Clasico/Classique

Hamburg have yet another new coach, the lead in the Championship will change and change again, while Arsenal and PSG look to stretch winning runs. Oh yes - and there's El Clasico.

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

All times are BST


Friday



Bundesliga 2: Magdeburg v Hamburg


17.30 on BT Sport 2


Newly promoted Magdeburg are still searching for a first home win of the season and will be doing so without defensive lynchpin, Dennis Erdmann, who picked up his fifth yellow card in their 3-0 defeat to Heidenheim. Hamburg, meanwhile, will travel east with a new coach and I don’t mean the type with wheels. Earlier this week HSV sacked Christian Titz despite the club’s respectable position, two points off league leaders FC Köln. This is their third coaching change in 2018 and the reaction from many of the fans has been one of dismay. Given what a circus the club has become in recent years this reaction, is itself a surprise. However, embarrassing results at home to Kiel and Regensburg have convinced sporting director Ralf Becker that be that the club could and should be top of the table, given the quality of their squad. To that end Hannes Wolf, who very recently guided Stuttgart to promotion from this division, has been installed in the hope that he can fulfil the team’s potential. Let’s see if the 37 year old Wolf lasts until the end of the season. TD
 



Saturday



A-League: Sydney v Western Sydney Wanderers


09.50 on BT Sport 3


Once again we are privileged to welcome Gary Andrews, author of the excellent Can We Read You Every Week newsletter, to set up this big city derby down-under.

No matter what occasion, the Sydney Derby is always a highlight of the Australian football calendar and this early season match-up has subplots ahoy, not to mention a new ground. As Sydney Football Stadium is being rebuilt, this game will relocate to the hallowed turf of the SCG next door. If you've ever experienced an AFL match or cricket test at the ground, you'll know this can deliver one hell of an atmosphere, and expect plenty of noise as both sides aim for bragging rights. On the pitch, things are no less dramatic. The two teams only met a couple of weeks ago in the FFA Cup in a match that saw Sydney FC comfortably advance to the final with a 3-0 win. However, young speedster Trent Buhagiar, who had been in sparkling form in the Cup for the Sky Blues, sadly ruptured his ACL on the eve of the season, which immediately changes Sydney's style of play. The Wanderers, meanwhile, are still finding their way under the guidance of their new coach, former German international Markus Babbel, who has been quite blunt and occasionally withering about his new charges, who grossly under-achieved last season. Neither side convinced in opening round draws against Adelaide and Perth respectively, but with the likes of Siem De Jong and Adam Le Fondre in their ranks, the Sky Blues go into this fixture favourites to continue their undefeated streak against their Western rivals. And while the Parramatta team have yet to truly gel, Babbel will undoubtedly have them fired up for this match, which could well be a lot closer than the recent FFA Cup semi scoreline suggests. GA
 



Championship: Middlesbrough v Derby County


12.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


After beating off promotion rivals, Sheffield United and West Brom, Frank Lampard takes his confident Derby side to second placed Middlesbrough. "We played well," he told BBC Derby after their impressive 4-1 win at West Brom on Wednesday “but I think we can play better. We could've been even more dangerous with our breaks and maybe scored more goals". This will be music to the ears of Boro boss Tony Pulis who would welcome any team willing to have a go at them. Middlesbrough have conceded the fewest goals this season but are having trouble finding the back of the neck at home. The extra space provided by an ambitious visiting team may help create more scoring chances for their misfiring forwards. TD
 



Championship: Leeds United v Nottingham Forest


17.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


There's no shame in not knowing who is top of the Championship right now. This weekend starts with the top six teams separated by just two points and the lead is changing with almost every game. For the record, Leeds are top but after their great start, Marcelo Bielsa's side have faltered of late with their only two wins in their last six games against the bottom sides. Forest are an improving side, their 2-0 win over coach Aitor Karanka's former club Boro being the pick of recent results. Summer signing Lewis Grabben looks to have settled down quickly after spending the last two season on loan at various Championship sides: he's scored eight in his last seven league games. GS
 





Sunday



Premier League: Crystal Palace v Arsenal


13.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Having not scored a goal at home all season you'd think Palace might welcome a side that they've put five past in their last two visits to Selhurst Park. With arguably sterner tests still to come in the upcoming weeks, few Palace fans will be looking forward to this game against a rampant Arsenal. Unai Emery's side stretched their winning run to 11 on Thursday, beating (not so) Sporting CP 1-0 in the Europa League. One potential avenue for Palace could be with Andros Townsend down the right wing. With Monreal and Kolasinac injured Emery is reduced to using make shift left-backs: Lichsteiner switched sides to cover in the game against Leicester while Xhaka started in the position in Lisbon. One thing that does seem certain is that if Palace want to get anything out of this match they'll need to do it in the first half - every Premier League win in Arsenal's impressive winning run has been level at the break. GS
 



La Liga: Barcelona v Real Madrid


15.15 on Eleven Sports 1


This may be the first Clasico to be played without Cristiano Ronaldo and Lio Messi for 11 years but that shouldn’t put you off what is always a highlight in the European club season. Barca are top but are saving their best for the Champions League it seems. Real Madrid are in crisis. Coach Lopetegui is probably about 98% sacked. The reason why he’s not already gone has more to do with scheduling. After the Levante defeat Real had to go straight into Champions League mode and there wasn’t really time to replace the coach before such an important game. If the Madrid club had contrived to lose to Viktoria Plzeň then it is possible that a change would have been made by now. But they didn’t so here we are: going into a Clasico with a lame duck coach. Of course with Messi out injured this is a game that Real could totally win. If so then Lopetegui will probably stay until the next disaster. Which may be never happen. It would be amazing if Real ended up going on an amazing run, win the league with a coach who was always only one defeat away from the sack. The fact that this eventuality is not completely ludicrous is one of the reasons why La Liga is such a compelling league to follow.TD
 



Ligue 1: Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain


19.45 on BT Sport 1


You might think there are few records left to be broken by this PSG side but they are still two wins short of the best start ever in Ligue 1. The record of 12 straight wins was set by Leonardo Jardim's Monaco side two seasons ago, before the side was summarily dismantled by the super-giants of Europe. Having taken Mbappe, now PSG look set to take their records too. Like all national derbies there's a distinctly manufactured feel to Le Classique but that certainly hasn't stopped the emotions of fans and players from boiling over when the two come together. In truth there's little to suggest that Marseille (although looking competitive again) are going to win this: one record PSG already have is 17 consecutive Classiques unbeaten, and counting. Another win today and it won't just be another tick on PSG's to-do list, it will be the end of any hope of a title race in France for another season. GS
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



Terry (@terryduffelen) & Graham (@grahamsibley)



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