European Weekend Preview: Bayern faces Dortmund in SuperCup, Ligue 1 begins, and more

European Weekend Preview: Bayern faces Dortmund in SuperCup, Ligue 1 begins, and more

European Soccer

European Weekend Preview: Bayern faces Dortmund in SuperCup, Ligue 1 begins, and more

European action kicks off this weekend with a German SuperCup showdown featuring two of the Bundesliga’s best sides.

Reigning Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich travel to German DFB Pokal winners Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, in a rematch of last year’s SuperCup. Munich used a 2-0 victory over Dortmund in the 2016 edition, and are tied with Dortmund for the most SuperCup victories with five apiece.

This could be a taste of the Bundesliga race this season, with Borussia Dortmund looking to snatch their first league crown since 2012. Plenty of talent will be on display at the Signal Iduna Park, which is sure to be rocking from the opening whistle.

Elsewhere, Ligue 1 champs Monaco look to defend their crown as they welcome Toulouse to the Stade Louis II. Paris Saint-Germain welcome newly promoted Amiens to the Parc Des Princes, in what could be record signing Neymar’s first competitive action with the club. The EFL Championship kicks off on Friday with two matches, while the Johan Cruyff Shield takes place in the Netherlands on Saturday.

Here is a closer look at this weekend’s action:

ENGLISH CHAMPIONSHIP

The second-tier of English football kicks off on Friday with Sunderland welcoming Derby County to the Stadium of Light. After several late escapes in years past, the Black Cats were relegated from the Premier League last May and will look to bounce straight back up. Simon Grayson is now in charge and has several new players to start on Friday. Derby finished ninth a year ago and will look to make the next move into the playoff places, and hopefully contend for the league title. Gary Rowett has several impressive players on the roster with Darren Bent (nine goals) and David Nugent (five goals) leading the way.

On Saturday, the marquee match takes place at Villa Park where the host Villains face off with Hull City. Between both Roberto Di Matteo and Steve Bruce, Aston Villa finished in 13th a year ago. Striker Jonathan Kodjia was the only Aston Villa player to hit double-digits a year ago with 19 goals. Jack Grealish and Ross McCormack are also two players to watch. Hull City dropped down to the Championship, despite manager Marco Silva almost saving them. New boss Leonid Slutsky takes over now, with several players remaining from that relegated side. Striker Abel Hernandez and midfielder Ryan Mason will be key to the Tigers success this year.

Here are all of this weekend’s English Championship fixtures:

Friday

  • Sunderland vs. Derby County
  • Nottingham Forest vs. Millwall

Saturday

  • Bristol City vs. Barnsley
  • Burton Albion vs. Cardiff City
  • Fulham vs. Norwich City
  • Ipswich Town vs. Birmingham City
  • Preston North End vs. Sheffield Wednesday
  • QPR vs. Reading
  • Sheffield United vs. Brentford
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Middlesbrough
  • Aston Villa vs. Hull City

Sunday

  • Bolton Wanderers vs. Leeds United

GERMAN SUPERCUP

Saturday

  • Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich

FRENCH LIGUE 1

In Ligue 1, defending champions Monaco welcome Toulouse to the Stade Louis II on Friday. Leonardo Jardim still has plenty of talent on his roster despite losing Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, and Tiemoue Bakayoko all to the EPL this summer.  Strikers Kylian Mbappe and Radamel Falcao combined for 36 league goals a year ago and if they stay with the club, they can easily replicate those numbers. As for Toulouse, Ova Toivonen looks like the man to watch after seven goals a year ago. The visitors will surely look to spoil the opening night excitement in Monaco.

PSG kick off their Ligue 1 campaign welcoming newly promoted Amiens to the Parc Des Princes on Saturday. Unai Emery’s squad got a whole lot deeper with former Barcelona winger Neymar signing earlier this week. The Brazilian scored 20 goals and added 21 assists in all competitions last season, and now partners up with another deadly striker in Edinson Cavani (43 goals in all comps last season). Amiens finished as runners-up in Ligue 2 last season, securing automatic promotion on the final day.

The must-watch match from the opening round takes place in St. Etienne, as the hosts welcome Nice to town. Saint-Etienne finished eighth a year ago on 50 points, while Nice finished third on 78. Leading scorer Romain Hamouma returns and will look to add to his seven-league goals from a year ago. As for Nice, they are heavy favorites to compete for the Ligue 1 title again, returning the striker pair of Mario Balotelli (15 league goals in 2016/17) and Alassane Plea (11 league goals in 2016/17).

Here are all of this weekend’s Ligue 1 fixtures:

Friday

  • Monaco vs. Toulouse

Saturday

  • PSG vs. Amiens
  • Lyon vs. Strasbourg
  • Metz vs. Guingamp
  • Montpellier vs. Caen
  • St. Etienne vs. Nice
  • Troyes vs. Rennes

Sunday

  • Lille vs. Nantes
  • Angers vs. Bordeaux
  • Marseille vs. Dijon

DUTCH SUPER CUP

In Holland, the Johan Cruyff Shield takes place on Saturday with Feyenoord taking on Vitesse. Defending league champs Feyenoord are looking for their third shield title and their first since 1999. Striker Nicolai Jorgensen led Feyenoord with 21 league goals a season ago, while midfielder Jens Toornstra added 14. Vitesse is making their first ever appearance in the shield after winning last season’s KNVB Cup. U.S. international Matt Miazga will look to start Saturday’s Shield for Vitesse after making 23 league appearances last season on-loan from Chelsea.

Saturday

  • Feyenoord vs. Vitesse

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