Weekend Boxset: Down on the farm

An early promotion marker in Germany's second tier, El Gasico and a very lop-sided looking Old Farm derby.

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

All times are GMT


Friday



Bundesliga 2: FC Köln v St Pauli


17.30 on BT Sport 3


The weekend gets underway with a ding-dong between second and third in the 2. Bundesliga table. Köln started the season as one of the favourites but are, so far, denied a automatic spot by their opponents. Coach Markus Anfang is trying to manage the high expectations of the fans while juggling the injuries of the experienced Christian Clemens and Lasse Sobiech. Anfang had hoped to be able supplement the goals of Simon Terrode and Jhon Córdoba with the returning Anthony Modeste. However the french striker, who helped Effzeh to the Europa League in his last stint, is banned by FIFA for walking out on Chinese Club Tianjin. Those who know the 2 Bundesliga may not be that surprised to see both Hamburg clubs in the top two. However, for the rest of us, St Pauli do make unlikely contenders. Coach Markus Kauczinski has created a team that is greater than the sum of its parts. He got a rough deal in his short spell as coach of the ailing Ingolstadt in 2016 and was very unlucky to have missed out on promotion at Karlsruhe. Three points in the Cathedral City will take him and his club one step closer to paradise. TD
 



Saturday



Premier League: Fulham v Manchester United


12.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


The Cottagers are hoping Lazar Markovic and Ryan Babel will bring some extra quality. The trouble is that Ranieri's troubles are a little further back. However, if these two new signings can show a bit of tactical discipline and support their defence then who knows. Perhaps of greater value is the loan signing of Håvard Nordtveit from Hoffenheim. The Norwegian defensive midfielder never lived up to his early promise but the former Arsenal and West Ham player knows the league and may prove to be a canny signing. Nordtveit’s compatriot and Man United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær also knows the league and seems to be making short work of it as his rejuvenated side play catch up in the race for a Champions League spot. So far only Burnley have taken a point from the New Reds. United have no injury problems or Craven Cottage hoodoos to concern themselves. Nothing short of a tactical masterclass from Ranieri or equivalent blunder by his opposite number can prevent an away win say I, with foolish confidence. TD
 



Scottish FA Cup 5th Round: Kilmarnock v Rangers


17.15 on Premier Sports 1


Last month Killie beat Rangers at Rugby Park to go second in the Premiership but Steve Clarke's side has suffered a bit of a nose-bleed since then. Jermain Defoe made his debut for Rangers in that game and scored the opening goal - he's added two more since then to help his new side win four on the bounce. Killie also looked south of the border in the January window, adding Alex Bruce to their defence. A finalist in the English version of the Cup in 2014 he's yet to make a start since being released by Wigan. With Rangers realistic title hopes being slim and Killie's best hope of finishing third (which would represent there best finish in over 40 years) a good Cup run would do both managers a world of good. GS
 



Serie A: Parma v Inter


19.30 on Eleven Sports 2 & Premier Sports 2


Former Arsenal striker Gervinho scored twice to help Parma take a remarkable 3-3 draw at runaway leaders Juventus last weekend. Those goals put the Ivorian, who has spent the last three years in China, on to eight goals for the season - just three goals short of equaling his best return in any league. Parma are comfortably mid-table and by rights shouldn't be posing any of the top sides any serious problems but, despite being third, Luciano Spalletti's side haven't even scored let alone won in any of their three league games since the start of the year, against very beatable opposition. With former head coach Jose Mourinho just kicking his heels in the BeIN Sports studio, you can imagine what the current conversations in Milanese coffee bars are about. GS 
 





Sunday



Championship: Norwich City v Ipswich Town


12.00 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


The top spot in the Championship could change hands three times this weekend. Firstly when Sheffield United travel to Aston Villa on Friday evening, then on Saturday when Leeds go to Boro. Neither of which are straightforward by any stretch but whatever happens in those games Norwich are most likely to be back at the top of the pile after this local derby. Bottom placed and 39 points behind their East Anglian rivals, Ipswich have yet to see any bounce from the appointment of Paul Lambert and look doomed to drop to the third tier for the first time since the 1950s. The Old Farm derby always has a fiery atmosphere that can bring out the best (and worst) in both sides but Ipswich will need nothing short of a miracle to stop Norwich from ploughing through them. GS
 



Premier League: Manchester City v Chelsea


16.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


If your thing’s a match between a club being used as a marketing exercise by a despotic Middle-Eastern regime against one run by an oligarch who made his fortune by picking up billions of Rubles worth of Russian state assets for a song, then you’re in for quite the afternoon this Sunday. After a spell in the doldrums, City are once again in pole-position in the Premier League following Liverpool’s successive stalls against Leicester and West Ham. Similarly, Chelsea are kangarooing along but will draw some confidence from their swaggering display against Huddersfield where newbie Gonzalo Higuain made in impressive start (that second goal, though!) alongside an on-song Eden Hazard. This, pitched against a City side with Aguero in fine form should have the makings of quite a spectacle - that’s if you can swallow your morals… and your vomit. JB
 



La Liga: Athletic v Barcelona


19.45 on Eleven Sports 2


Still smarting from a 2-1 derby defeat to Real Sociedad last week, the Bilbao club return to the San Mames and face the champions and league leaders. It doesn’t get any easier for Athletic club’s newish coach Gaizka Garitano. The Bilbao native and former player was promoted from the B team in December after the dismissal of Eduardo Berizzo and has only lost two matches since moving upstairs. While seemingly comfortable in 12th place, the Basque club are only five points away from the relegation zone. The battle to avoid the drop in La Liga goes almost as high up as the battle for Europa League qualification so a second consecutive defeat will quickly put the pressure back. Barcelona started Messi from the bench in the Copa del Rey Clasico on Wednesday against Real Madrid which finished 1-1. The Catalans have a league clasico and a return to the Champions League coming over the horizon so perhaps Ernesto Valverde will try and give his linchpin a bit more time off in what we are expecting to be a straightforward task in Bilbao. TD
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



Terry (@terryduffelen), Graham (@grahamsibley) and Jan (@janbilton)



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