Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Weekend Boxset: The return of the Bundesliga and maybe La Liga

The new season kicks off in Germany and in Spain but will UK fans of La Liga be able to catch any of it on their TV screens?

Seven (maybe six) great matches to take you from Friday to Sunday. It’s the Sound of Football Weekend Boxset.

All times are UK


Bundesliga: Bayern Munich v Hertha Berlin
19.30 on BT Sport 2
The Bundesliga is back and like last season, we could be in for another title race. While Borussia Dortmund have strengthened, there’s a feeling that Bayern Munich are yet to bolster their squad ahead of the new season. At the back, the Champions have strengthened with Benjamin Pavard from Stuttgart and Lucas Hernández from Atleti. However, their attacking options look limited. Robben and Ribery are gone. Leroy Sané has torn his ACL which put his move from City on hold. The club have made a latish move for Ivan Perišić on loan from Inter as a stop-gap but is that enough? Their first challenge will be against a Hertha side, emboldened by a new coach in Ante ÄŒović and some fresh investment. Their headline signing is Dodi Lukabacio from Watford. The attacking midfielder shone last season while on loan at Fortuna Düsseldorf and I think will do well for the Berliners.TD


League 1: Sunderland v Portsmouth
12.30 on Sky Sports Football
Sunderland matches resulting in a draw last term totalled an annoying nineteen, with an equally irksome fifteen of those ending 1-1. Manager Jack Ross may have his critics, but he certainly can’t be accused of a lack of consistency. True to form, both of The Lads league games this season have ended 1-1, leading to an outpouring of fan frustration not seen since the infamous Netflix season. Thankfully, outstanding performances from new boy Marc McNulty and the evergreen Aiden McGeady ended the run on Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Accrington Stanley (who are they?!) in the League Cup. Despite this, Sunderland have looked nervous in defence with the players struggling to work with Ross’s three at the back system, which faltered, and was abruptly changed in both league games. Pompey, on the other hand, will be looking to avenge last season’s play-off exit at the hands of their hosts. Despite, or possibly because of, a number of changes in their ranks, Portsmouth have started slowly. However, they proved incredibly difficult opponents for The Lads five times last season, and I doubt this will be any different. Top tip: stick a tenner on 1-1. JB

Premier League: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur
17.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
Four months to the day since Spurs crumbled to dust City’s dreams of European glory in their breath-taking away goals Champions League semi-final victory at the Etihad. Three days later they played there again in the Premier League in an encounter that was distinctly "after the Lord Mayor’s show". City took the lead through Phil Foden after just five minutes which proved to be the only goal in the game. City went on to take the title, Spurs went on to end their spectacularly buccaneering Europe adventure with defeat in one of the blandest of finals. This season’s method of undermining City seems to be accusing them of “Tactical Fouling” - something that all teams are guilty of but City, as with most aspects of their game, have refined to an art. Of course the more manager’s point it out, the more players will protest to referees when Sterling, De Bruyne or most commonly Fernandinho make a niggly challenge high up the pitch. The inevitable early yellows could soon start playing havoc with Pep’s game plan. That might be the time when PSG start looking like a new, exciting project. GS

Ligue 1: Metz v Monaco
19.00 on BT Sport Extra 2
Leonardo Jardim’s return to Monaco in January may not have been the most spectacular but it did mean the 2017 champions managed to avoid the embarrassment of relegation. The new season couldn’t have started much worse, losing Cesc Fabregas to 30th minute red card and gong on to be beaten 3-0 at home against Lyon. They have spent in the summer to strengthen their side, Portugese winger Gelson Martins makes his loan move from Atleti permanent and 29 year old striker Wissam Ben Yedder joins from Sevilla. Metz have been more conservative with their purchases though given their recent history it’s probably wise for them to not think too long term: Metz last eight seasons have seen four promotions and three relegations. Their opener was the derby de l’Est away at Strasburg. It finished 1-1 with their top scorer from last season’s Ligue 2 campaign Habib Diallo getting the second half equaliser. If Monaco can’t win this one, it’s likely to be another season of insane twists. GS


Championship: Reading v Cardif City
12.30 on Sky Sports Football
What would have happened if Reading had held their nerve in the play-off final shootout in 2017. Well most likely they’d be here playing freshly relegated Cardiff in the Championship, much like the winners of that day Huddersfield who play 2018 play-off winners Fulham on Friday night. For Reading, that season under Japp Stam was the exception rather than the rule. Their first season without Premier League parachute payment’s, their third place by far their best in recent years: their two seasons since have seen them finish 20th. Two defeats from two so far this season point to another season of struggling against the drop. Neil Warnonck side came back from opening day defeat at Wigan, with a last gasp win against Luton. Injury time substitute Isaac Vassell grabbing the winner. GS

Premier League: Sheffield United v Crystal Palace
14.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
You have to go back to November 2011 for the last time these two met at Bramhall Lane. Daniel Bogdanovic’s late penalty sealed a feisty 3-2 win in the Championship for the Blades. There is a healthy dose of romance attached to United’s return to the Premier League under coach Chris Wilder, a lifelong fan of the club. It was another fan, striker Billy Sharp who equalised late in their opening match against Bournemouth on Saturday to give his club their first of what will be the precious points they will need to stay up this season. I didn’t see enough of Wilder’s team last season but they look like a team that is ready for the challenge. Whether they are equipped or not remains to be seen. For their part, Palace start the season with Wilf Zaha after all but the uncertainty over their best player’s future may have affected the Eagles’ preparations. Defeat will mean a long season at Selhurst Park. TD

La Liga: Atletico Madrid v Getafe
20.00 on ???
As I write the La Liga TV rights in the UK are still in doubt. ITV have done a deal to take one game per week for the first three weeks of the season but this game is not going to be one of them. That said the Irish sports channel Premier may come back in to pick up the rest of the rights, much like they did last season when Eleven Sports ran out of cash. La Liga has been on our screens since the early 90s but the rights holders, a sports agency based in west London, seem to place a higher value on the competition than the broadcasters. So, as it stands I’ll be watching this game on a tiny screen on a betting website or on one of those hooky websites with the malware and the impossible to close pop-ups. It will be worth it though as we see find out how Atleti get on having made so many personnel changes in the summer. Getafe finished fifth last season and managed to keep their squad together, including their coach Pepe Bordalás who may have been tempted to move to a bigger club after an outstanding campaign. TD

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan

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