Weekend Boxset: "Der Klassiker" and Klopp v Pep

This weekend has the biggest game in Germany and the biggest in England too. Or is it?

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

All times are GMT


Friday



FA Cup 1st Round: Dulwich Hamlet v Carlisle United


19.55 on BBC Two


Welcome to Champion Hill. 12 months ago you wouldn't have been able to say that as Hamlet were locked out of their ground by property developers looking to make a killing by building houses on it. The irony of that whole sorry situation, thankfully resolved for now at least, was that the developers were looking to sell houses to exactly the kind of people that have been increasingly attracted to coming to see Hamlet play football. Over the last decade the clubs average attendance has increased ten-fold, mainly from young professionals moving into this relatively affordable part of the capital. Hamlet are on a steady climb up and have a progressive supporter base unlike any other, in Britain at least. How far it can take them is of course unknowable but the tribulations of last year have hardened and emboldened their fans. With similar recent issues between club, local authorities and developers at nearby Millwall, it's an important time for clubs to prove themselves as community assets especially in areas where land is seen as nothing but a money making opportunity. This is Hamlet's first appearance in the competition proper in over 20 years and they have never gone beyond this round, even when they were a force in the amateur game, between the wars. With Carlisle in less than indifferent form, two tiers above them, this could be an excellent opportunity to hit new highs.  GS
 



Saturday



Championship: Nottingham Forest v Derby County


12.30 on Sky Sports Football


The post-Frank Lampard party comedown has been pretty vicious. With Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Matej Vydra following Frank out of the door, the Rams have had to pick up the pieces and new coach Philip Cocu is having to work with what is essentially a mid-table side but with Premier League expectations. Matters took a turn for the darker after three players, Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett and captain Richard Keogh partied a little too hard and were done for drink driving and failing to report an accident in September. Later, the club sacked Keogh for gross misconduct. On the pitch, things have improved a little after Cocu switched to a diamond formation in their 2-0 win against Boro. Now they turn their attention to the old rival, Forest who beat them 3-0 in the League Cup at the start of the season. Sabri Lamouchi’s team have rallied after a stuttering start to the campaign and sit fifth in the table, very much in the conversation for promotion. TD
 



Bundesliga: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund


17.30 on BT Sport 1


Overhyped as it is, “Der Klassiker” is a key fixture in the Bundesliga calendar. It’s shaping up to be a wide-open Bundesliga season and this game is a must-watch as much for its impact on the title race as for the dramatic coaching changes taking place in Munich. At the time of writing (Thursday evening), Niko KovaƄ replacement as Bayern boss is still a matter of intense speculation. Arséne Wenger emerged as the favourite but his odds have since lengthened.  Apparently, he hoped for a longer contract than what was available. Sport1 are reporting that Bayern want to wait for Ajax coach, Erik ten Hag in the summer and are ready to give the job to current caretaker, Hansi Flick until then. Dortmund have just recovered from a pretty significant wobble themselves with an impressive 3-0 against a hitherto unbeaten Wolfsburg side plus a heroic second-half comeback from 2-0 down to beat Inter 3-2 in the Champions League. Objectively, Borussia should be favourites for three points even at the Allianz. That said, Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus are injury doubts so I’ll be keeping this one off my coupon. TD

Alternative viewing: Kicking off at the same time there's a women's international friendly on BBC Two from a sold-out Wembley Stadium: England v Germany.
 



Ligue 1: Lille v Metz


19.00 on BT Sport Extra 2


On paper this would look a straightforward home win for the side placed fifth in the table at home to a side second from bottom, however this season in Ligue 1 is teaching us to expect the unexpected. Currently just nine points separate second place Angers with bottom club Nimes (who Lille drew against at home last month). The difference in England is 20 and in Italy it's 21. After a good start to their domestic season, a pretty woeful Champions League run (admittedly in a very tough group) has seen Lille win just one of their last eight games in all competitions. They will hope that 20 year old Nigerian striker Victor Osimehn has returned to his blistering early season form after his goal in the 4-1 defeat in Valencia in midweek; his only goal since the last international break. Metz have their own goal machine in the shape of Habib Diallo, who after finding the net 26 times last season, already has eight this time around. GS



 





Sunday



Premier League: Wolverhampton Wanderers v Aston Villa


14.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


While geographically close this fixture doesn't traditionally come with the same intensity as both side's games against West Brom might produce. That has changed in recent years when both sides were chasing promotion back to the top flight but now they're both here for the first time since 2012 any hype beyond winning three points might well be superficial. Raul Jimenez's injury time winner in Wolves' Thursday night win over Sloven Bratislava put them within a point of the next stage and should allow them to concentrate on getting back to the sort of form that got them that European spot last season. Villa are just two points behind them, their good run cut short by almost inevitable defeats against Liverpool and City. Expect a star performance by Jack Grealish following his continued exclusion from the England squad. GS
 



Premier League: Liverpool v Manchester City


15.00 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event


Is this the biggest fixture in English football? I think the marketing department at Sky would love it to be, but my feeling is that both clubs and their supporters see United as the big fixture, which makes this one something of a strange encounter. Klopp and Pep clearly hold each other in high regard, save the odd minor dig relating to diving and tactical fouls; however, given the high stakes involved, this could end up being what my old Granddad used to call ‘a right humdinger’. Few can argue that two teams rammed with the finest talent in the league, and possibly Europe, could produce anything but - I do hope so. City may be without Ederson following his mid-week injury, but at least they will have an actual ‘keeper, rather than a full-back with gloves on. Liverpool look set to welcome back their captain, and Wearside’s favourite son, Jordan Henderson, which will put them at pretty much full strength. It’s Liverpool for me in this one - maybe by just a whisker. JB
 



MLS Cup Final: Seattle Sounders v Toronto


20.00 on FreeSports and Sky Sports Football


For the third time in four years the Seattle and Toronto club’s face off for the MLS Cup. On the two previous encounters, the Canadian club prevailed but this time the match is being played at the Sounders home stadium. Both teams had to overcome the favourites to get to the final. Seattle upset Supporters Shield winners LAFC to win the Western Conference. Toronto shocked a packed Mercedes Benz Stadium with a 2-1 win at current Champions, Atlanta United, 2-1. If TFC are going to make it a threepeat in the Pacific North West they’ll probably have to do it without Jozy Altidore who is still not recovered from a quad strain that’s kept him out of the post-season. TD

Alternative viewing: Were it not for this showpiece we’d probably be recommending the Seville Derby: Real Betis v Sevilla which is on Premier 2 and La Liga TV at the same time. Betis are showing signs of recovering from their poor start to the season and will be anxious to put one over their city rivals who are currently fifth.



Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.



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



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