Change is a coming! Based on some recent feedback we’re working on incorporating some changes into the weekly viewing guide. We’ll continue to highlight one or two games that are available on the major networks and call out all the other major network games featuring USMNT players in the “Other Notes” section but we’re adding a new piece moving forward which will be some notes of the USMNT players in the top five leagues you can watch if you’re willing to fork over some cash for the various paid services (NBC Sports Gold, Fox Soccer Match Pass, etc.). This is still undergoing some thought so you may see it morph over the next several weeks, but the masses have spoken (both of you) and we think it’s worth following through on so we’re going to give it a go. One final caveat: we still don’t have time to cover every player with potential connections to the USMNT (in fact we don’t even have the time to do the research on how long this list might be) so while this might evolve too, for now at least, we’re going to stick with players who have seen time with the USMNT or USYNT’s in the past when creating these lists.
That’s more than enough preamble so let’s get to the real action by starting with Friday’s activity.
Borussia Dortmund v Koln - 2:30p on FS2
Giovanni Reyna saw his Bundesliga debut last weekend in Borussia Dortmund’s come from behind victory over tenth place Augsburg and could be in line for more minutes this Friday when BVB faces Koln. Reyna came in to the game in the 72nd minute just after his team had taken the lead for the first time on the day and saw out the final 20 minutes including contributing in the buildup to the fifth and final goal. The win saw Dortmund maintain their grip on fourth place in the table, albeit tied with fifth place Schalke on points. Second place through seventh place in the table are separated by just seven points so there will be crucial matches ahead and it would be a fantastic development to see Reyna continue to be used in these matches moving forward for such a strong team.
This weekend the match-up is with 13th place Koln who have actually risen in the standings recently thanks to a four game winning streak that includes victories over Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Werder Bremen. The team has scored ten goals over those four matches and combined with BVB’s strong offense / poor defense it seems likely the match will be a high scoring affair.
Eintracht Frankfurt v RB Leipzig - 9:30a on FS1
Saturday brings us an American’s Abroad matchup as Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt face off against Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig. Chandler started and scored the match winner last weekend as Frankfurt snapped a seven game winless streak that has seen them drop to 11th place in the table. It was the fourth straight start for Chandler who looks to have secured himself a position back in the lineup following a rough start to the season where he saw just over 120 minutes of action through their first 14 games.
It will be difficult for Frankfurt to build any sort of streak as they now face first place RB Leipzig and newly returned Tyler Adams. Adams was back in his typical midfield role last weekend after getting his first start of the season just before the winter break when the team got him on the field as a right back. Leipzig hold a four point lead in the standings as they’ve seen their normally stingy defense now combined with a potent offense as well. The team is on a nine game undefeated streak and has lost just twice in their first 18 matches.
- Fabian Johnson and Borussia Monchengladbach face Mainz at 9:30a on FS2. It’s been a strong season for Gladbach as they sit in third place but Johnson has barely played a role with just two minutes in the last fifteen games.
- Bayern Munich and Schalke 04 meet at 12:30p on FS2 in a top five matchup and late breaking news has indicated that Weston McKennie will be available for Schalke.
Off the beaten path:
- John Brooks and Wolfsburg face Hertha Berlin at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Match Pass. The team has been struggling recently after a very solid start to the season and now find themselves in 9th place.
- Newcastle United faces third tier Oxford United F.C. in FA Cup action at 10a on ESPN+. Given DeAndre Yedlin’s recent injuries it would be surprising to see him rushed back for this match.
- Christian Pulisic also remains out injured likely until early February so will miss Chelsea’s FA Cup match against Hull City and fellow American Eric Lichaj at 12:30p on ESPN+.
Werder Bremen v Hoffenheim - 9:30a on FS1
Josh Sargent received his first start since October last weekend with Werder Bremen looking to snap a four game loosing streak and climb out of the relegation zone. The team scrapped for a 1-0 win over Fortuna Dusseldorf who are also in danger of relegation and were without Zack Steffen. While Sargent wasn’t in on the scoring perhaps the teams change of fortunes will see him continue to be given opportunities to make an impact.
The team will face 8th place Hoffenheim this weekend who are coming off a 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and whose defense has been poor relative to their position in the Bundesliga table so there may be opportunities for Sargent to make his mark.
- The aforementioned relegation threatened Fortuna Dusseldorf will face Bayer Leverkusen at Noon on FS1. Zack Steffen was unavailable for Dusseldorf last weekend with ongoing knee concerns that are troubling but Alfredo Morales did start and play 70.
- Ventura Alvarado and Necaxa play Atletico San Luis at 6p on TUDN. Nexcaxa are 1-1 in the Clausura.
Off the beaten path:
- Tim Ream and Fulham face Manchester City in FA Cup action at 8a on ESPN+.
- Timothy Weah has yet to return for a Lille team that face PSG at 3p on beIN Sports Connect.
Let us know what else you’re following in the comments section below.