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Weekend Preview: La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A

Every now and then, one must expand their horizons and experience new things. For those of you that have been captivated by the English Premier League, I understand, it’s a beautiful thing. But there’s a whole other world (ok continent) out there of European football to enjoy, so here’s a look at the stories and key matchups taking place this weekend outside the Premier League. Get ready for lots of BEIN Sport.


Peek at the Table:

Real Madrid, last season’s Champions League winners, currently sits on top of the La Liga table with 33 points, 2 ahead of their arch-rival Barcelona. Madrid has an almost-unbelievable +36 goal difference after only 13 matches and has rebounded quite nicely after a slow (for their standards) start to the campaign. Madrid has not lost in any competition since a 2-1 defeat to cross-town nemesis Atletico Madrid back on September 13th. “Los Blancos” are led by their global icon Cristiano Ronaldo, considered by many to be the favorite to claim the Ballon d’Or award as the world’s greatest player when it is awarded in January. As incredible (and stunningly handsome) as Ronaldo has been, there are some folks who believe that he is only getting better.

Barcelona sits second in the table, but so far, this season has been a bit of a disappointment for this juggernaut. They are behind their rivals in the domestic standings (thanks to a 3-1 loss in El Clasico in October), second in their group in the Champions League, and marquee signing Luis Suarez has only scored once in the seven matches since his debut. With the current form that Madrid is in, Barcelona cannot afford a slip-up this weekend against their cross-town rival. The pressure is already on first-year manager Luis Enrique and it will continue to ratchet up if the club falls any further behind Madrid.

It hasn't been all two thumbs up for Suarez and Barcelona this season. Look at those protruding teeth...he's hungry for goals..and other things. 

This Weekend’s Action:

Real Madrid hosts 8th place Celta Vigo at home on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. EST on BEIN sport.

Barcelona plays Espanyol in the Barcelona derby on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. EST on BEIN sport.


Peek at the Table:

Surprise, surprise. Bayern Munich sits atop the table, with a comfortable seven-point advantage over Vfl Wolfsburg. Though it has suffered injuries to captain Phillip Lahm (out for 3 months with a fractured ankle) and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger (missed the last 3 months with knee issues), Bayern is on cruise control and headed towards another Bundesliga title and a deep run in the Champions League.

The story of the season in the Bundesliga (and perhaps all of Europe) is that Borussia Dortmund, who won the Bundesliga title in 2010-11 and 2011-12 and reached the Champions League Final in 2012-13, are currently in LAST place in the table. 

You read that correctly. Last season’s runners up in the league have only won 3 of its 13 matches in the league to date. 

Dortmund and universally-acclaimed manager Jürgen Klopp currently find themselves in the relegation zone. With the potential for Klopp to potentially move from his position (Arsenal? Liverpool?), there is no question that Dortmund and its passionate fans are in crisis mode.

But, of course, because nothing makes sense in the crazy game of football, despite its domestic catastrophe, Dortmund currently lead their Champions League group and are assured of advancing to the knockout stage. Logical.

The passionate Dortmund fans are incredulous at the club’s form this season.

This Weekend’s Action:  

Dortmund face off against 7th place TSG Hoffenheim on Friday at 2:30 p.m. EST on GolTV. Does anyone get GolTV? I don’t get GolTV. Next season’s Bundesliga contract with Fox can’t get here soon enough.

The big match of the weekend features leaders Bayern hosting 3rd-place Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. EST on GolTV. Hopefully such an important match is not soiled by any goal-line controversies, as though the Bundesliga has approved goal-line technology, it will not go into effect until next season. 


Peek at the Table:

Three-time defending champion Juventus is once again at the top of the table. The club known as “The Old Lady,” which is either the greatest or the worst nickname I have ever heard and I cannot decide which. Led by über-gentleman, the ageless Andrea Pirlo, a maestro of the midfield, Juventus is 3 points clear of Roma, but has an 11 point advantage over 3rd-place Napoli. 

This Weekend’s Action

 Juventus plays rival Fiorentina on Friday at 2:45 p.m. EST on BEIN sport. While Juventus claims that it is not a rivalry because they are “above” having Fiorentina as a rival, the lads from Florence disagree. It certainly would add a little spice to this “rivalry” should Fiorentina prevail on Friday afternoon. 

2nd place Roma faces off against 10th place Sassuolo on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. EST on BEIN Sport. 

Also, do not forget about the MLS Cup Final on Sunday evening. To learn more about that, check out our preview here. 

Follow Mike Smith on Twitter @thefootiegent

Get your Sangria, Pilsner, and Red Wine ready.It is important to match your drinks with the culture.

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