Weekend Boxset: Postcard from Dusseldorf

We're all in Dusseldorf this weekend to watch Fortuna take on Werder, we're also going to take in some some Oberliga action. But don't worry, we've left you some cracking games to watch. 

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



Primeira Liga: Rio Ave v Porto


20.30 on FreeSports


Well yes, I guess most people's attention this evening will be directed towards Anfield to see if Klopp's side can maintain their pressure on City at the top of the Premier League. And yes, dropping points at home to an unready relegated Huddersfield would be "peak title-race Liverpool", as people on social media would say (20.00 Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event). But away from all that there's a title race that's even closer than the one in England. In Portugal's top flight, Benfica and Porto are tied at the top on 75 points each with four games left to play. Despite shipping six across two legs in their Champions League quarter-final against Liverpool, Porto are a tough side to score against. In the league veteran goalkeeper Iker Casillas has only been beaten 17 times and their defensive strength was further bolstered with the addition of his former Real Madrid team-mate Pepe, who rejoined the club in January having left to seek his fortune in 2007. Rio Ave are hardly the most recognisable name in Portugese football but have been regular top half finishers recently, competing in Europa League in three of the last five seasons. Benfica will also make the trip to Rio Ave before the end of the season but Porto have the tougher run in, having to face third placed Sporting on the final day. GS 
 



Saturday



Premier League: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United


12.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


I think it was sometime back in February that I said on the podcast that Tottenham’s season was over. If I recall, the context was in terms of the league title race and in that sense I was right. However, in another sense I was wrong. While Spurs are not going to win the Premier League (City are) they could well win the Champions League or at least fail heroically at the final hurdle to a Liverpool side anxious to make up for missing out on the English Championship (to City). More impressively, Poch and the gang are positioning themselves into a nice snug little spot in the top four and all without having recruited any players since the 17-18 season or playing in their own stadium. Up next is the first of what can be a deeply unpleasant derby in the new Lane. The Hammers, have little except bragging rights to play for since neither relegation or Europe is much of an option for them. That said, given the club's recent upheavals, a season of mediocrity may have come as a relief to some of their supporters. TD
 



Bundesliga: Stuttgart v Borussia Monchengladbach


17.30 on BT Sport 3


The biggest game of the Bundesliga weekend is the Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke. However, the DFL schedulers, possibly at the behest of the Polizei, tend to keep this game in the traditional 3:30pm slot which means it can’t be shown on English telly. But that’s OK because this is a game with consequences for both ends of the league. Stuttgart’s Director of Football, Thomas Hitzlsperger, finally lost patience with coach Markus Weinzierl and sacked him last week after overseeing a 6-0 loss to Augsburg. The 44 year old former hottest property in the league earned his reputation at Augsburg and he can now reflect on the poor choices he made since then, while counting his ill-deserved compensation. VfB’s interim coach is Nico Willig who is tasked with knocking this shambles of a team into shape before their almost inevitable end of season relegation play-off, assuming Nürnberg don’t catch them. ‘Gladbach are also looking at a coaching change. Dieter Hecking’s work is done at Borussia Park and he’s off at the end of the season. Salzburg coach Marco Rose replaces him in the summer. A win here will turn around the club’s diminishing Champions League prospects. TD
 



Championship: Norwich City v Blackburn Rovers


19.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event


With Leeds not failing to win until Sunday, Norwich have the opportunity to stumble over the line at home to finally celebrate promotion back to the Premier League. A fifth draw in a row is all the Canaries need to secure a record equaling fourth Premier League promotion but with nothing-to-play-for Blackburn enjoying a good end of season run there should be a worthwhile match to watch here. While Premier League followers will be getting used to German head coaches, the comparisons between Daniel Farke's Norwich and the Huddersfield side they replace in the top flight will be all to easy to draw. Like Wagner before him, Farke has raided his home country for fringe talent that has blossomed in the Championship. The next step of course is make their transition to the Premier League better than the Terriers did. GS
 





Sunday



Championship: Leeds United v Aston Villa


15.00 on Channel


Leeds started the Easter weekend three points ahead of Sheffield United in the race for the second automatic promotion place. They finished it three points behind. By the time this match kicks off, Norwich will have no doubt been promoted and the Blades will have comfortably beaten League One bound Ipswich, extending their already 11 goals healthier goal difference over Leeds and effectively consigning them to the play-offs. Having been in the top two for most of the campaign, having to take the knock-out route to promotion will be especially hard on Marcelo Bielsa's side after a long and bruising campaign. Should they reach the final they will most likely play today's opponents who are finishing their season on an absolute tear. With both side guaranteed play-off places there's no need for either side to bust a gut here but Leeds need a good performance from somewhere while at the same time Dean Smith will know the importance of momentum at this stage. Markers are there to be thrown down and at the moment Villa are holding them all. GS
 



Premier League: Manchester United v Chelsea


16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


On paper a clash between these two titans of English football should be a must watch for anyone even remotely interested in the beautiful game. Sadly, the form book should give you, dear viewer, significant pause for thought. United have picked up just one win in their last six games, with the only highlight on that run a fortunate result against West Ham. On Wednesday evening they further demonstrated the size of the summer rebuilding task ahead for OGS as they struggled to match their local rivals in both ability and stamina. The visitor’s form looks better, but this is masked by the fact that these were all winnable games for a team like Chelsea. Sarri’s men do have a three point advantage over United in the race for the last Champions League spot, and given Arsenal’s poor performance against Wolves mid-week, it is theirs to lose. At this stage of the season, fatigue is a factor, as demonstrated by United of late. A clash of the titans?  Probably not.  JB
 



Serie A: Torino v Milan


19.30 on FreeSports


“Today, we made fools of ourselves.” admitted a penitent Gennaro Gattuso to Rai Uno after witnessing his Milan team’s 1-0 defeat to Lazio in the Coppa Italia on Wednesday. The Rossoneri’s only win in their last seven games was against the same opposition and if this slump is not arrested soon, Milan will be looking at another season without Champions League football. The San Siro club are defending their fourth place against Atalanta, the two Rome clubs and their opponents, Torino who are just three points away. Despite their prodigious heritage, Il Toro have only played in Europe’s top competition once before: a short stint of two rounds in 1976-77. More recently, they made it to the round of 16 of the Europa League in 2015. It would be fitting indeed if Walter Mazzarri can take this historic club to the Champions League on the 80th anniversary of the Superga Air Disaster. TD
 



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



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



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