Europe’s top leagues are well and truly back with a weekend full of big clashes between top clubs from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig
Saturday 3:30pm European time - German Bundesliga
Two of last season’s top five in the Bundesliga meet on Saturday afternoon with both Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig looking to recover after losing key players over the off-season in Kai Havertz and Timo Werner respectively to Chelsea. Peter Bosz’s Leverkusen started the season with a goalless draw at Wolfsburg with Patrik Schick their main off-season signing despite losing last season’s two most prolific players Havertz and Kevin Volland. Julian Nagelsmann’s Leipzig won 3-1 over Mainz on Sunday and they’ve added Norwegian hot property Alexander Sorloth during the week too.
Saturday 5pm European time - French Ligue 1
This match-up wouldn’t normally attract our interest but after four rounds in Ligue 1 somehow these two normally inconspicuous clubs are the top two. Saint Etienne and Rennes have both collected 10 points from their four games. The hosts also won 2-0 at Olympique Marseille to offer genuine credibility under ex-Lyon and Leicester boss Claude Puel who took over last October. Rennes knocked off Monaco last weekend and appear capable of backing up last term’s remarkable third-place finish.
Sunday 5:30pm European time - English Premier League
Josep Guardiola’s Manchester City front up on Sunday against last season’s surprise packets Leicester City, who’ve won both of their opening two matches. The Foxes have scored an equal league high seven goals too, led by Jamie Vardy with two strikes. Both sides won in the League Cup in midweek having rested some key players, but City have some key absences including Sergio Aguero and Ilkay Gundogan who has tested positive to coronavirus. City impressed in their first-up 3-1 win at Wolverhampton on Monday.
Sunday 8:45pm European time - Italian Serie A
Two of Serie A’s traditionally strong outfits AS Roma and Juventus meet in the late Sunday kick-off in the second round of 2020-21 fixtures. Reigning champions Juve started the season with a relatively routine 3-0 win over Sampdoria, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring in Andrea Pirlo’s first league game in charge. Roma, on the contrary, were handed a 3-0 loss to Verona, despite a goalless draw, due to a clerical error with Amadou Diawara’s registration. There’s already pressure mounting on Roma coach Paulo Fonseca too.
Sunday 9pm European time - Spanish La Liga
The new era at FC Barcelona under Ronald Koeman begins in La Liga on Sunday when they host last season’s fifth-place getters Villarreal. It’s been change aplenty at Camp Nou this off-season with Luis Suarez the latest to depart, along with Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Arturo Vidal, although Lionel Messi has stayed despite initially wanting to leave. Francisco Trincao, Pedri, Matheus Fernandes and Miralem Pjanic have all joined. For the Yellow Submarine, they’ve collected four points from their opening two games with ex-Espanyol forward Gerard Moreno netting twice.