BE PART OF THE TEAM

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

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

Euro Vision: 4 continental games not to be missed this weekend

The Rome derby and the battle of France’s richest clubs are highlights of the European weekend.

Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti celebrates as Roma forward Mattia Destro despairs at the final whistle of the most recent Rome derby.
Lazio keeper Federico Marchetti celebrates as Roma forward Mattia Destro despairs at the final whistle of the most recent Rome derby.
Image: Riccardo De Luca/AP/Press Association Images

Serie A: Roma v Lazio

Saturday, 1pm

ROMA’S 100% START to the league will come under serious scrutiny with the visit of their bitter neighbouring rivals Lazio for the first Derby della Capitale of the season.

This will also be the first time the sides have met since Lazio triumphed 1-0 in the Coppa Italia final last May. Roma fans have been biding their time, desperate for revenge. Their chance comes at the perfect time, with three wins from three in the Serie A boosting confidence early in the season.

The Giallorossi played attractive football in the wins over Livorno, Verona and Parma, with new coach Rudi Garcia staying true to the attacking principles with which he made his name at Lille. The likes of Daniele De Rossi, Miralem Pjanic and the evergreen Francesco Totti appear to be enjoying his management so far. New faces like Gervinho and Adem Ljajić look suited to the fluid style Garcia prefers.

Lazio have had a solid opening few weeks too, with wins over Chievo and Udinese offering encouragement for a club hoping to improve on last season’s seventh position. A loss to Juventus was understandable, and key players like Miroslav Klose and Antonio Candreva have begun the campaign in sharp form.

Both sides look in good shape for what can still claim to be the biggest derby in Italy. Expect the usual fireworks in Rome.

On TV? Extended highlights on BT Sport 1, Monday 10.30am

Bundesliga: Schalke 04 v Bayern Munich

Saturday, 5.30pm

While Borussia Dortmund have kicked off their Bundesliga campaign with five wins in five games, Bayern slipped up with a 1-1 draw away to relegation contenders Freiburg in round four. That means Pep Guardiola’s men are two point behind Dortmund and eager to make up the difference.

Having begun their Champions League defence with a comfortable 3-0 win over CSKA Moscow on Tuesday night, Bayern’s attention returns to domestic matters. Mario Mandzukic has three goals in five games so far, and looks to be adapting well to Guardiola’s demands.

Standing in their way on Saturday is a Schalke team that has endured a wildly inconsistent start to the season. Hammered 4-0 by Wolfsburg on the second weekend of the Bundesliga, the Gelsenkirchen-based side have gone on to beat Leverkusen and Mainz.

Coach Jens Keller needs to ensure a constant supply line to Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has managed two goals despite Schalke’s poor overall form. Players like Jefferson Farfán and Kevin-Prince Boateng have the ability to cause Bayern problems.

An interesting subtext to this clash is the fact that Kevin-Prince and Jerome Boateng are set to become direct Bundesliga opponents for the first time in over four years. The last time they faced each other Kevin-Prince’s Dortmund beat Jerome’s Hamburg. An omen of what is to follow?

On TV? BT Sport 1

La Liga: Valencia v Sevilla

Sunday, 8pm

Be part
of the team

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

Become a Member

image

Valencia are coming off the back of a worrying defeat to Swansea. Alberto Saiz/AP/Press Association Images.

The big guns of Real Madrid and Barcelona should have no trouble dealing with Rayo Vallecano and Getafe respectively this weekend, but at the other end of the table is a clash between two clubs who have endured worrying starts to La Liga.

Valencia have won just one in four domestically under new coach Miroslav Dukic, followed by a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Swansea at the Mestalla on Thursday evening. The sight of home fans leaving the stadium early in the game was worrying for the club who have finished 5th, 3rd and 3rd in the last three seasons.

Even worse, Sevilla have no wins in their four games so far, although fixtures against Athletico Madrid, Malaga and Barcelona haven’t made for the easiest opening run. It’s certainly too early to be writing off Sevilla’s season, but manager Unai Emery will be keen to kick-start their campaign as soon as possible.

A crucial turning point in both side’s seasons or a battle between two clubs on the slide? It remains to be seen.

On TV? Sky Sports 1

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain v Monaco

Sunday, 8pm

The battle of the über-rich in France takes place on Sunday evening, with Ibrahimovic’s PSG hosting Falcao’s Monaco.

Claudio Ranieri, the Monaco boss, has wisely heaped the pressure on PSG despite the fact that his own side lead the table after an unbeaten start in the opening rounds. With new additions in Falcao, Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez, the recently-promoted side have blasted their way to four wins in five games so far.

Falcao has already notched four goals, but Ranieri claims he hasn’t even hit top form yet: “Falcao is not 100% yet but has a fantastic mentality.” Alongside the Colombian, 23-year-old Emmanuel Rivière has scored five, and PSG will have their hands full preventing more goals for that duo.

Not that the Parisian are short of their own fire power. Ibrahimovic is the obvious focal point, but Edison Cavani has settled well since joining in the summer and has scored twice so far. PSG are also unbeaten, but draws against Montpellier and Ajaccio on the first two weekends of the league mean they’re two points behind Monaco in third coming into this weekend.

For manager Laurent Blanc, a loss at home to one their main title rivals would be unacceptable.

On TV? BT Sport 1

Everton legend and cancer survivor Alan Stubbs shows support for Drogheda’s Gary O’Neill

Ireland confirmed as one of 32 possible hosts for Euro 2020

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

Read next:

COMMENTS (2)