By ADAM TROXTELL
Athletic Bilbao can throw a wrench into the La Liga title race, but needs to overcome very big odds in the process.
In the past nine meetings with Spanish Primera Division leaders Real Madrid, Athletic has only managed a single draw and lost all the other matches. Los Blancos need to stretch that streak in order to overcome last weekend’s draw with Villarreal that leaves them just two points ahead of Barcelona in the standings.
Real routed Athletic 5-0 earlier this season behind a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick. Athletic held its mighty visitors 1-1 in the corresponding game last season, proving wins at San Mames Barria do not always come easy.
In England, rivals Aston Villa and West Brom meet to decide who goes to Wembley in FA Cup quarterfinal action. League One team Bradford hosts Reading in the early match, and struggling QPR plays Tottenham in the day’s only English Premier League game.
Opening weekend in MLS continues with teams attempting to make early statements. Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC lock horns in an all-Canadian battle, while Columbus Crew will try to claim victory on the road against Houston Dynamo for the first time since June 2011.
Cruz Azul will try to halt a two-game skid against Atlas as sixth meets seventh to start the day’s Liga MX action.
If you will be watching today’s action, feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (today’s soccer on TV schedule after the jump):
7:30 a.m. — Fox Sports 1 — Bradford City vs. Reading
9:30 a.m. — GolTV USA — Hannover vs. Bayern Munich
10 a.m. — NBCSN — QPR vs. Tottenham
10 a.m. — beIN Sports en Espanol — Deportivo La Coruna vs. Sevilla
Noon — beIN Sports USA — Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid
12:30 p.m. — Fox Soccer Plus — Aston Villa vs. West Brom
12:30 p.m. — GolTV USA — Mainz vs. Borussia M’gladbach
2 p.m. — beIN Sports en Espanol — Elche vs. Almeria
2:45 p.m. — beIN Sports USA — Milan vs. Hellas Verona
3 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact
4 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids
4 p.m. — beIN Sports en Espanol — Granada vs. Malaga
6 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC
6 p.m. — Univision — Cruz Azul vs. Atlas
8 p.m. — Univision Deportes — Monterrey vs. Toluca
8:30 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — FC Dallas vs. San Jose Earthquakes
8:30 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew SC
9:06 p.m. — Telemundo — Pachuca vs. Club America
10 p.m. — Univision Deportes — Chiapas vs. Puebla
10:30 p.m. — DirecTV/MLS Live — Portland Timbers vs. Real Salt Lake