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USMNT weekend viewing guide: double the fun

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Here comes the English Premier League as the Bundesliga hits crunch time

Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea FC - Premier League Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

The English Premier League is back, the Bundesliga is entering their final two weeks of play, and there are several USMNT v USMNT match-ups, all making for a solid weekend of viewing options. Unfortunately options will be a little bit restricted as all nine Bundesliga matches kick off simultaneously Saturday morning, resulting in the majority being behind a paywall. We’re not going to let that slow us down though, here’s the slate of games to keep your eye on this weekend:

Friday

There are no USMNT centric games on Friday so your best best for some early weekend action with USMNT impact would be Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur at 3:15p on NBCSN. While there won’t be any American’s suiting up Manchester United are three points back of Chelsea for fourth place which is typically the cut off for Champions League play. If Manchester City’s Champions League ban is upheld (the appeal was heard earlier this month) fourth and fifth place will both qualify but it is a tight race and the teams would like to leave nothing to chance. Besides, we’re just looking for some sort of hook for a Friday afternoon match, now go enjoy it.

Saturday

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - 9:30a on FS2

Our first head-to-head match-up of the weekend features Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig kicking things off against Borussia Dortmund and Giovanni Reyna. Both teams are coming off rather shocking results mid-week though both results did more to hurt Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen’s chances of avoiding relegation than the respective club’s results moving forward. BVB’s place in Champions League play has been secured and RB Leipzig can see the same happen this weekend.

Tyler Adams started and went the full 90’ for RB Leipzig, playing in the middle of the pitch which was a nice sight for USMNT fans. The team built up a 2-0 lead over Fortuna Dusseldorf and was generally dominant with over 70% possession but gave up two late goals, including one in the 2nd minute of stoppage time and had to settle for the draw. The draw allowed Dusseldorf to pull one point ahead of Werder Bremen for the relegation playoff position. Adams has started alternating matches for Leipzig since the restart so given his start on Wednesday look for him to come off the bench on Saturday and get a solid 20+ minutes.

As surprising as RB Leipzig’s last second loss to Dusseldorf Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 loss to Mainz was at least equally as shocking. Mainz are in 14th place and had been just three points ahead of Werder Bremen for relegation so the win was a serious blow to Werder’s hopes of survival. Dortmund also controlled possession but didn’t finish their chances and allowed a goal from open play as well as giving up a penalty. Giovanni Reyna missed the match with a bacterial infection that was initially making the Twitterverse freak out about “flu-like symptoms” and covid-19 concerns. The late scratch was especially disappointing given that Reyna was rumored to be starting the mid-week match. The good news is that Reyna is healthy and the club expects him to be available this weekend for the trip to Leipzig.

Other notes:

  • Owen Otasowie is one to keep an eye on in the Premier League as things resume, particularly with the extended subs available. The youngster had made the bench several times for the Wolverhampton Wanderers in December - January including a handful of minutes in Europa League play but is still looking for his first Premier League minutes. The team is currently in 7th place, still within striking distance of Champions League qualification as they face West Ham United at 12:30p on NBC.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Alfredo Morales and Fortuna Dusseldorf face Augsburg at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Match Pass. Augsburg have very little to play for at this point but a win for Dusseldorf combined with a Werder Bremen loss would see them secure the relegation playoff position.
  • Mainz and Werder Bremen play at 9:30a on Fox Soccer Match Pass in a match with massive relegation implications. A loss for Werder Bremen combined with a Dusseldorf win would ensure their relegation while a win for Werder Bremen could see them vault Dusseldorf. It would take a massive goal differential turnaround for Mainz to finish in the relegation spot so their fate actually seems pretty secure thanks to their aforementioned 2-0 over BVB.
  • The second head-to-head match-up of USMNT players, and the one that’s far more likely to see both players on the field from the start, is unfortunately buried on Fox Soccer Plus (also at 9:30a). John Brooks went through a spell in early February where he was on the bench but has started the past 11 matches for Wolfsburg. The teams is currently tied for 6th place and the final Europa League qualifying spot. Weston McKennie scored but Schalke lost again Wednesday bringing their winless streak to fourteen games.
  • Timothy Chandler and Eintracht Frankfurt have not technically been eliminated from the European qualifying spots but it would take a dramatic swing over the last two weeks as they are five points back. The team plays Koln on Fox Soccer Match Pass at 9:30a.
  • Fabian Johnson, moving on a free this summer and not having appeared since February seems unlikely to be available this weekend as Borussia Monchengladbach play Paderborn at 9:30a on TUDN en vivo and Fox Soccer Match Pass.

Sunday

Newcastle United v Sheffield United - 9:00a on NBCSN

DeAndre Yedlin had seeing the field on a very limited basis before play was suspended in March so perhaps the elongated break will have allowed him a chance to find a role with the side. Newcastle are solidly in the middle of the table in 13th place, eight points clear of relegation positions and nine points below Europa league qualifying. This weekend they will face sixth place Sheffield United.

Aston Villa v Chelsea - 11:15a on NBCSN

Welcome back son! Christian Pulisic and Chelsea resume their season Sunday morning when they face Aston Villa. The unexpected break actually came at a decent time for Pulisic who had missed the previous eight games and was still recovering from a torn abductor muscle. Pulisic is recovered now and expected to be included in the side. The team is currently in fourth place and in the drivers seat for Champions League qualifying. It’s also possible that this could turn in to our third USMNT match-up of the weekend as Indiana Vassilev was included on the bench mid-week for Aston Villa though he did not see any minutes. Aston Villa are currently in 19th place, one point behind a cluster of three teams so an unexpected point could be a big boost to their hopes of avoiding relegation.

There’s a lot happening this weekend so hit the comments section below to let us know what you’re tracking.