Weekend Preview by the Numbers: Two Derbies + Two Historic Rivalries + Six Big Matches = One Perfect Weekend

  Throwback: A young Arjen Robben respectfully disagrees with his soon-to-be Netherlands teammate, Wesley Sneijder, in the classic Eredivisie De Topper rivalry (2003/04) (Source: Pinterest)

Throwback: A young Arjen Robben respectfully disagrees with his soon-to-be Netherlands teammate, Wesley Sneijder, in the classic Eredivisie De Topper rivalry (2003/04)(Source: Pinterest)

All four corners of Europe are filled with top-notch matches this weekend. The Primeira Liga will feature the most prominent game in Portugal: the O Classico between Benfica and Porto. The most anticipated fixture in the Dutch Eredivisie is also in store as PSV Eindhoven and Ajax will clash on Sunday in the De Topper rivalry.

Ligue 1 leaders Paris St. Germain will meet second placed Monaco on Sunday. Over in Italy, Lazio will host Champions League semifinalists Roma on Sunday as well in the Derby della Capitale. England wasn’t left out of the must-see fixtures party as Manchester City will face Tottenham on Saturday evening. In the Bundesliga, Dortmund travel to Schalke to write the next page in Revierderby history.

Seven countries involved, 10 numbers, let’s see what European soccer has in the oven for you this weekend:

10. Real Madrid is traveling to Malaga on Sunday after their controversial win over Juventus in the UEFA Champions League. Real is on a 10-match winning run over Malaga. Los Blancos superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s wining penalty kick over Juve pushed him to a ridiculous 10+ game scoring run. Coincidentally, last time Ronaldo missed a PK for Real was against Malaga. The Portuguese goal-scorer did make up for his miss by blasting the rebound over keeper Roberto Jimenez and into the net.

9. Paris St. Germain’s 19-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe will be going against his former club Monaco on Sunday at the Parc des Princes. Mbappe was named Man of the Match last time the two sides met in the Coupe de la Ligue. Paris number 9, Edinson Cavani, netted a brace in that game. Cavani actually leads the league in scoring. Expect the Uruguayan striker to pose a major threat to the Monaco defenders all night long.

Monaco’s number 9, Radamel Falcao, isn’t too bad himself; a goal against PSG will put him at 19 league goals.

8. Manchester City is playing one of the hottest teams in England this weekend during their worst form of the season. City hasn’t won a game this month yet and has conceded 8 goals. Tottenham defeated Stoke City in their last outing with a Harry Kane winner, and they beat Chelsea in the previous match-week. Spurs haven’t lost at home in the Premier League since the 8th month of last year. If Mauricio Pochettino’s men continue their winning run they will inflict the Citizens their 8th loss of the season in all competitions.

7. After Juve was hit with a CR7 late game-winning PK, which Real’s number 17 Lucas Vasquez controversially drew, they will face the last team that beat them in the Serie A, Sampodria. Sampdoria defeated the Old Lady by a goal back in November 2017. Samp drew their last outing 0-0 with Genoa.

6. Roma fans couldn’t ask for a more ideal game after knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League than a match versus Lazio in the Derby della Capitale. Both teams notched 60 points in the league. Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is no doubt one of the most prolific striker of the season in Europe. The 6 foot forward leads the Serie A in goals, and Ciro scored against FC Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday in addition to finding the net in Lazio’s last game against Roma.

Roma also has a tall forward who’s not shy when it comes to scoring goals, 2016 signing Edin Dzeko. The Bosnian started Roma’s miraculous comeback win versus Barca with a sublime finish after controlling Daniele De Rossi’s ball over the top. Let’s see who will put more in the net, Immobile or Dzeko.

5. Barcelona will look to shake their Champions League exit against Valencia after being unable to score 5 goals on aggregate against Roma. Barca holds a 5-game winless run versus Los Che. A win or a draw on Sunday for Barcelona will break Real Sociedad’s record of the longest undefeated run in La Liga.

Valencia’s winger, Rodrigo, might have other things in mind. The Brazilian scored in each of his last 5 games for Valencia. Rodrigo scored a winner against Espanyol last week and also had one in the previous round against Leganes.

4. In Germany, Schalke 04 will host Borussia Dortmund at Arena AufSchalke in the Revierderby on Sunday. The last Revier battle ended in a 4-4 draw after Dortmund took a 4-0 lead into the halftime break. Schalke striker, Naldo, capped the Schalke comeback, scoring the equalizer in the 94th minute. The veteran striker was also on target in his last game for The Royal Blues, which was against Hamburg.

AS for BVB, one of their players broke a 4-month goal drought with the best, albeit lucky, Bundesliga goal from last weekend. American prodigy, Christian Pulisic, broke his scoreless run with a misplaced cross that found the far top corner.

3. Back in Italy, Milan will fight to break out of a 3-match winless run in a home game versus Napoli. That won’t be easy, Milan hasn’t won a game against Napoli in the past 3 years. Nap scored a last minute goal through Amadou Diawara to win their last game versus Chievo and save an unbeaten run they started on March 3rd.

2. Eredivisie league toppers PSV Eindhoven have a much anticipated match against second placed Ajax this weekend. Top 2 teams in Netherlands, no wonder they named that fixture the De Topper rivalry. A man who started his career with PSV leads Ajax in scoring, Klass-Jan Huntelaar. Huntelaar owns 12 goals in the league. Meanwhile 22-year-old Mexican starlet Hirving Lozano is PSV’s current top scorer with 15 league goals.

1. Only 1 point separates Primeira Liga leaders Benfica from FC Porto. Both teams will hope to break that up this weekend as they will wrestle each other in O Classico. There wasn’t a winner the last time Benfica played Porto as they drew 1-1. Rui Vitoria’s men are going into O Classico with a far better form, not having lost a match since last December while Porto has already lost two games since April began.


Author: Onz Chery