By FRANCO PANIZO
Clint Dempsey joined Tottenham last summer with the idea and hopes that the club would eventually give him the opportunity to play in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in his career.
Well, that idea and those hopes hinge on this dramatic final weekend of action.
Dempsey and Spurs face a must-win situation against Sunderland on Sunday if they are to have any shot of partaking in next season’s Champions League, but picking up a victory at home is not all they need. On top of needing the three points, Tottenham need Newcastle United to hold Arsenal to at least a draw in order for Spurs to finish the campaign in fourth place and claim the Premiership’s only Champions League qualifiers spot.
Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim are also shooting for a win and some help, but they are doing so under a different kind of pressure. Hoffenheim are staring relegation right in the face and the only way they have a shot at avoiding the drop is by picking up what would be a shocking win vs. second-place Borussia Dortmund and either an FC Augsburg loss to cellar-dwellers SpVgg Greuther Furth or Fortuna Dusseldorf defeat to Hannover. Even then, Hoffenheim might still need to play in the relegation play-offs to determine their Bundesliga future.
A similar uphill battle is what Herculez Gomez and Santos Laguna will need to climb in order to keep their season alive. Santos suffered a 3-0 loss at home in the first leg of their Liga MX semifinals series against Cruz Azul and a big victory will be needed in order to prevent their playoff hopes from ending.
Here is who the Americans Abroad take on this weekend:
Eugene Starikov and FK Rostov play FK Amkar Perm’.
Fabian Johnson, Danny Williams and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim play Borussia Dortmund. (Williams is out injured.)
Michael Parkhurst and FC Augsburg play SpVgg Greuther Furth.
David Yelldell and Bayer Leverkusen play Hamburg SV.
Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 play Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Timmy Chandler and FC Nurnberg play Werder Bremen. (Chandler is out injured.)
Jermaine Jones and Schalke 04 play SC Freiburg.
Maurice Edu and Bursaspor play Genclerbirligi.
Terrence Boyd and Rapid Vienna play SV Mattersburg.
Ventura Alvarado and Club America play Joaquin Alonso Hernandez and Monterrey in the Liga MX playoffs.
Tim Howard and Everton play Chelsea.
Geoff Cameron, Brek Shea and Stoke City play Southampton.
Clint Dempsey, Brad Friedel and Tottenham Hotspur play Sunderland.
Sebastian Lletget and West Ham United play Reading.
Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj and Aston Villa play Wigan Athletic.
Carlos Bocanegra and Racing Santander play CD Sabadell.
Michael Bradley and AS Roma play Napoli.
Alfredo Morales, John Anthony Brooks and Hertha Berlin play Energie Cottbus.
Joe Gyau and St Pauli play Kaiserslautern.
Andrew Wooten and SV Sandhausen play FC Erzgebirge Aue.
Bobby Wood and TSV 1860 Munich play VfR Aalen.
Tony Taylor and Estoril Praia play Gil Vicente.
Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Vitoria Setubal play Braga.
Sacha Kljestan and RSC Anderlecht play Zulte-Waregem in the Pro League playoffs.
Brian Span and Djurgarden IF play Halmstad.
Herculez Gomez, Benji Joya and Santos Laguna play Cruz Azul in the Liga MX playoffs.
Freddy Adu and Bahia play Vitoria in the second leg of the Baiano finals. Bahia trail on aggregate, 7-3.
Charlie Davies and Randers FC play Aalborg BK.
Clarence Goodson and Brondby IF play AC Horsens.
Conor O’Brien and FC Nordsjaelland play Esbjerg.
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg IF play Elfsborg.
Mix Diskerud and Rosenborg BK play Josh Gatt and Molde FK.
Steve Clark and Honefoss BK play Lillestrom.
Which of these games are you most looking forward to? Think Dempsey and Tottenham grab that Champions League qualifiers spot? Can you see Johnson and Hoffenheim doing the unthinkable and beating Dortmund while seeing another result go in their favor?
Share your thoughts below.