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La Liga Returns: Your Must-Watch Soccer Schedule For The Weekend.

Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona have had a weird last ten days.  Barca hoisted the UEFA Super Cup trophy in Tbilisi, Georgia on August 11th thanks to a 117th minute goal from Pedro that defeated a Sevilla team 5-4. Sevilla had clawed back from a 4-1 second half deficit to send the game into extra time.

Barcelona returned to Spain to face Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup, and got throttled 4-0 at the San Mames Stadium in the first leg behind a hat trick from Artiz Aduriz.  The second leg at Camp Nou saw Barcelona pull ahead behind Messi’s 44th minute goal, but any hopes of an historic comeback were derailed when Gerard Pique saw a straight red in the 55th minute for…um, a colorful turn of phase directed at the sideline referee’s mother.   Athletic set aside any doubt with another Aduriz goal in the 75th minute.  The 5-1 aggregate victory secured the Lions’ first trophy in 31 years and unleashed a mammoth celebration

The scheduling gods have once again shown their sense of humor, as Barcelona must travel back to the Basque Country for the start of the La Liga season this Sunday. The Blaugrana will be without Pique suspended for four games for his outburst and UEFA Super Cup savior Pedro, who transferred to Chelsea. However, the cupboard is hardly bare for head coach Luis Enrique, as the attacking trio of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar should see plenty of action as they seek the club’s sixth league title in the last eight years. Barcelona v. Athletic Bilbao will air on BeIN Sports Sunday at 12:30 PM ET.  

The Spanish season starts Friday as Malaga hosts Sevilla on BeIN Sports Espanol at 2:30 PM ET.   Saturday’s highlight is Atletico Madrid’s match against newly promoted Las Palmas at 2:30 PM ET on BeIN.  Real Madrid hopes to start strong as it travels to Gijon to welcome Sporting Gijon back to the first division of Spanish football Sunday at 2:30 PM ET on BeIN Sports.  

For those Comcast subscribers who have suffered through the past few seasons of La Liga on BeIN in standard definition, check your broadcast guide, as a high definition BeIN channel magically appeared just the other day.  Now you can watch Ronaldo, Messi and the best of Spain (and also Lique 1 and Serie A) in high definition!

The Best of the Rest for the Weekend

In France, ZLATAN and Paris Saint-Germain look for a third win in a row to start the season as they travel to winless Montpellier, Friday at 2:30 PM ET on BeIN.  Lille and Bordeaux both look for their first win of the season as they face off Sunday at 8:00 AM ET on BeIN.

In Italy, the Serie A season begins as Roma, 2nd place finisher from last season, hosts Rafael Marquez and Hellas Verona on BeIN at 12:00 PM ET on Saturday.

The marquee matchup in England won’t happen until Monday at 2:45 PM ET when Liverpool travels to the Emirates to face Arsenal on NBCSN. Before that cracker, Manchester United hosts Newcastle on Saturday morning at 7:45 AM ET on NSBCSN, early season darlings Leicester City look to stay hot as Tottenham pays them a visit Saturday at 10:00 AM ET on NBCSN, Chelsea, travels to West Bromwich Albion Sunday at 8:30 AM ET on USA Network, in search of their first win of the season and, finally, Tim Howard and Everton look to derail the Man City freight train as the light blue brigade visits Goodison Park Sunday at 11:00 AM ET on NBCSN.

The second weekend of Bundesliga football has Bayern Munich matched up against 1889 Hoffenheim, Saturday at 9:30 AM ET on Fox Sports 1.  Borussia Dortmund will try to keep pace as they travel to Ingolstadt, Sunday at 9:30 AM ET, also on Fox Sports 1.

Moving to the western hemisphere, where in Liga MX, first place Club Leon host Chivas Saturday at 9:06 PM ET (and not a minute later!!) on Telemundo.  Also on Saturday, Club America welcomes second place Veracruz to Azteca at 6:00 PM ET on Univision Deportes.  

Finally, the match of the weekend in the MLS is an easy choice as New York City Football Club fly across the country to take on the L.A. Galaxy. Dubbed “The British Invasion” by the Galaxy, the promoted matchup of Frank Lampard versus Steven Gerrard has lost a little luster as Lampard may not play due to a thigh strain, but there will still be more than enough star-power on the Stubhub Center pitch as David Villa and Andrea Pirlo will lead NYCFC against Robbie Keane, Gio Dos Santos and Gerrard Sunday at 3:00 PM ET on ESPN.

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