Weekend Boxset: Later than scheduled



Just a few months later than advertised, the Scottish Cup reaches the semi-final stage while Wembley awaits the Women's FA Cup final.

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

All times are GMT

Friday

Bundesliga 2: Hamburg v St Pauli
19.30 on BT Sport 2
Another match that will be a shadow of what it usually is - with just 1000 fans in attendance, incapable of provding the fervour of the seemingly diametrically opposed fan groups. For many years, St Pauli chose to play all their home derby matches at Hamburg's Volksparkstadion, a practice that only ended in 2010. That switch has seen a turnaround In what was a very one sided fixture: St Pauli are not only unbeaten in away derbies, they haven't conceded a goal in one since 2002. Five games into the season and Hamburg are flying with a 100% record - a start HSV fans would probably consider the minimum response to their side's implosion at the end of last season. St Pauli only stayed up in this division thanks to wins in both of the derby games last season, so it's clear they save their best performances for their local rivals. Whether they can do it without the febrile atmosphere created by thousands of ultras is another matter. GS

Saturday

Championship: Bristol City v Norwich City
12.30 on Sky Sports Football & Main Event
The early season Championship table looks quite interesting. If the lumbering sleeping giants like Forest and Derby wake up then it could be an even more competitive promotion race then it normally is. And if surprise leaders Reading keep going then there will be a lot of club's scrapping for the remaining two places. When I think of Bristol City I think of lengthy unbeaten runs before falling away at the business end of a season. It would be fitting in this craziest of seasons if The Robins could return to the top flight for the first time since 1980. They've started the season well, sitting one place above their opponents in fourth. If they're to prove their credentials, then a win against the freshly relegated Norwich would help their confidence no end. They'll have to do it without six first-team players however including Alfie Mawsom, Andi Weimann and record signing Steve Sessengon. The Canaries have injury concerns of their own. Among them Kieran Dowell, Onel Hernandez and Christoph Zimmermann. Daniel Farke's crude metaphor of life back in the Championship aside, the German coach can be relatively happy with their start to the campaign. TD

La Liga: Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla
15.00 on LaLigaTV
La Liga expert Jon Driscoll was on the podcast this week and he told us that a lot of the league's aficionados fancied Sevilla for the title. However, recent defeats to Granada and Eibar have quashed expectations somewhat. They're doing OK in the Champions League, mind you, which is a bit worrying for anyone who has put money on them to win the Europa League. That said, Julen Lopetegui's side are still a more than decent watch and if Real Madrid And Barcelona don't get their act together, may yet be in with a shout after all. Athletic Club are preparing themselves for a full-blown crisis. Gaizka Garitano side are in sixteenth place with only 6th points. As Driscoll pointed out, their star striker Iniaki Williams is out of form and the squad is in danger of getting embroiled in a relegation struggle. Athletic club have never been relegated. Even if the Basque team lose, a goal from the wayward attacker might help shift the narrative. TD

Scottish FA Cup Semi-final: Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian
17.00 on BBC Scotland and Premier Sports 2
It's incredible to believe that this fixture was originally scheduled to take place in April, but, as with some many parts of our lives, the virus sets the timetable, not us. Thankfully, football has returned, however it's fixtures like this, one of the biggest in Scottish football, that the calls of "it’s not the same without the fans" hits home. Since his untimely exit from the Sunderland hotseat, Jack Ross has proven his doubters wrong (and they were wrong!) with Hibernian now third in the league, sitting just behind the Glasgow giants. Across Edinburgh, Hearts are also off to a good start, with two wins out of two in their opening games in the Championship. Having been controversially dumped out of the Premiership last term, this fixture offers Hearts the opportunity to show that they’re still relevant in football north of the wall. Sadly for them, they meet a confident Hibernian side who, by all accounts, are right up for this fixture. The writing’s on the wall, then? Not quite. In a strange turn of fate, Hibernian have never beaten Hearts at a neutral venue since 1896 - make of that what you will. JB

Sunday

Women's FA Cup Final: Everton v Manchester City
14.30 on BBC One and BT Sport 1
While holders City go into this game as firm favourites, Everton are showing themselves to be a side that can once again challenge, and lift the Cup for the first time since 2010. The sides met in the League Cup just a few weeks ago, a game which Everton led at half time but went on to lose in the closing stages. Everton best performance in the Cup so far was their surprise victory against Chelsea in the quarter finals. While City have strengthened by adding Lucy Bronze and Rose Lavelle to their squad, they haven't got off to a blistering start in the WSL having won just two of their opening five games but did beat run away WSL leaders Arsenal in the semis. This match promises to be finely balanced and should be a cracker despite being in an empty Wembley. In one of those many thoughtlessly disappointing scheduling decisions, the Premier League has decided that it would be a good idea to put Everton's men's match against Newcastle on at the same time. Thankfully, because this match is on BBC One it will have more people watching. GS

Premier League: Manchester United v Arsenal
16.30 on Sky Sports Premier League & Main Event
In the first part of this week's podcast we discussed the differing outcomes of players using their platform to discuss matters of importance. The incredible work that Marcus Rashford has done to provide help to families who will be struggling over the half term break has made fools of the govermment and has helped reshape the public image of young high profile footballers. In the opposite extreme Arsenal's Mezut Ozil finds himself side-lined after a breakdown in his relationship with the club, many believe stems from his public condemnation of the Chinese authorities. Rather than being a distraction, if anything Rashford's work has enlivened his play and on the back of his off-the-bench Champions League hat-trick against RB Leipzig in midweek he looks set to start here brimming with confidence. Arsenal on the other hand laboured to break down a hard-working but limited Dundalk side in the Europa League, though having rested many of their key players neither side go into this with a European hangover. Both sides sit in the bottom half and need a win, so don't expect the blood and thunder of this match from years' past - this one look set to be very cagey. GS

Serie A: Sampdoria v Genoa
19.45 on Premier Sports 1
The 101st Derby Della Lanterna is played, and like the last fixture in July will be played in front of little or no fans. Even if it were this fixture is considered to be one of the friendlier rivalries, especially in light of recent of events. The collapse the Ponte Morandi viaduct that killed 43 people was only two years ago and the city is still recovering from that loss in addition to living, as we all do, under the threat of the Coronavirus. Claudio Ranieri's Sampdoria have made a better start than Genoa but it's a little early in the season to put them favourites. 37 year old Fabio Quagliarella is still banging them in. The veteran striker has 4 goals already for Samp. Genoa are a game behind after 14 (fourteen) of their players were tested positive for COVID19 just over a month ago. TD

Whatever you watch, have a great weekend.

Terry, Graham and Jan


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