Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 5°C Monday 8 March 2021

Euro Vision: Four continental games not to be missed this weekend

The Derby d’Italia and Gareth Bale’s debut are part of an action-packed couple of days.

Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Inter Milan defender Juan Jesus.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Inter Milan defender Juan Jesus.
Image: Wilfredo Lee/AP/Press Association Images

Serie A: Inter Milan v Juventus

Saturday, 5pm

JUVENTUS AND INTER put their winning starts on the line on Saturday as they go head-to-head in the Derby d’Italia at San Siro.

Both sides have won their opening two matches of the season and will consider themselves contenders for the Serie A crown. Juventus have the better record in the past 10 meetings, with five wins to Inter’s three, and Conte will be hoping that his side can repeat last season’s impressive 2-1 victory.

After a disappointing season under Andrea Stramaccioni in which they finished ninth, things are starting to look more promising under new coach Walter Mazzarri. The former Napoli manager brought in 13 players during the close-season and they have made a solid start to the campaign.

Both teams have scored five goals in the league so far, with Inter yet to concede, while Gianluigi Buffon has been beaten once.

Carlos Tevez is due to start for the defending champions, but his partner could be Fernando Llorente, Sebastian Giovinco or Fabio Quagliarella. Inter have no new injury worries but are still without long-term absentees Diego Milito, Walter Samuel, Cristian Chivu and captain Javier Zanetti.

On TV? BT Sports 2

Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund v Hamburg

Saturday, 5.30pm

Borussia Dortmund will look to extend their perfect start to the Bundesliga season when they host Hamburg.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have started the new campaign brilliantly, posting victories in all four of their league fixtures. New signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have slotted in seamlessly, scoring five Bundesliga goals between them, and Klopp’s men look a serious threat to reigning champions Bayern Munich this season.

They could be missing Polish forward Robert Lewandowski, though, with the 25-year-old returning to Germany early after suffering an injury while on international duty. Also in doubt for Dortmund is Marco Reus (gastroenteritis) and Marcel Schmelzer (facial injury).

Hamburg captain Rafael van der Vaart is in doubt for the clash with a thigh strain that ruled him out of the Netherlands squad, with coach Thorsten Fink admitting it was unlikely that he would feature. Van der Vaart’s absence may give 19-year-old Turkey international Hakan Calhanoglu a chance to shine, though.

On TV? BT Sports 1

La Liga: Villarreal v Real Madrid

Saturday, 9pm

imageGareth Bale will make his debut tonight. Credit: GREGORIO LOPEZ/CORDON/Press Association Images

Following his world-record transfer from Tottenham, Carlo Ancelotti has said he confirmed that the Gareth Bale will make his debut – possibly from the start but most likely off the bench. Both sides have started the season with three wins out of three, but with Madrid dominating their opponents in recent meetings, they will be favourites to maintain their winning start.

Real have won 17 of their 26 meetings, and have not lost any of their last six encounters. Villarreal only lost seven games on the way to a second-place finish and automatic promotion from the Segunda Division last season and they have started the new campaign well.

The Estadio el Madrigal has been a tough place for teams to visit in the past 12 months with only three sides having left with all three points, and captain Bruno Soriano remains confident they can surprise Real. “It’s a chance to show that we can compete with anyone and that we can fight against a team like Madrid,” he said.

“Last year, we were dreaming about playing these teams and now the opportunity has arrived and we want to put in a great performance. Personally I prefer it if an opponent is at full strength and that the best come so we can take them on. Although even if Madrid has some players out, I am sure they will have the same level of quality.”

On TV? Sky Sports 1

Ligue 1: Monaco v Lorient

Sunday, 1pm

Ligue 1 table-toppers Monaco will look to extend their unbeaten record to five matches when they host Lorient on Sunday.

The early signs look promising for the newly-promoted big spenders o, who have won three of their four matches this season.Their title credentials received a true test before the international break, but it was one they passed with flying colours, as they came from behind to defeat Marseille 2-1.

Falcao and Emmanuel Riviere scored after the break for Monaco, as they won at Stade Velodrome, something just three Ligue 1 sides managed to do last term. Riviere is the leading scorer in the league with five goals in his four matches, and alongside Falcao, Monaco look to have the firepower to make them a serious title threat.

Lorient’s form has been mixed, winning two and losing two of their four matches this season. Both of their defeats have come on the road and Monaco will take confidence from that ahead of Sunday’s meeting.

On TV? BT Sport 2 (delayed coverage)

Diary of a Fantasy Gaffer: Welcome to Wearside, Mesut

Kagawa gets lost in translation

About the author:

TheScore Team

Read next: