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USMNT weekend viewing guide: tournament time

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FA Cup action could mean additional minutes for a few key USMNT starters.

Manchester City Training Session Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

You may or may not have heard that there are some tournament games happening this weekend, but there’s a ton of league action as well. That’s right, in addition to the FA Cup and CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, there is also Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 action, and it all starts today! Let’s get to it.

Friday

Arminia Bielefeld v RB Leipzig - 2:30p on ESPN+

RB Leipzig’s slight misstep, in the form of a draw last weekend with fourth place Eintracht Frankfurt, mean that Bayern Munich now hold a four point lead for the league title and Leipzig will need some help if they are going to track them down. They’ll look to rebound this weekend and avoid a major disaster when they face an Arminia Bielefeld team that is in a relegation scrap, but is coming off a stunning 2-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen. Tyler Adams played just five minutes in the draw with Frankfurt, which broke a three game consecutive start streak. He should be well rested and prepared to help Leipzig return to their winning ways.

Other Notes:

  • Fulham FC face Leeds United in League play and could jump Newcastle United in the standings with a win though Newcastle would have two games in hand at that point. Antonee Robinson has come off the bench in two straight so seems to be a bit out of favor after a streak early in the season where he looked like an automatic starter. You can see Fulham face 12th place Leeds at 3p on NBCSN.

Saturday

Werder Bremen v Wolfsburg - 10:30a on ESPN+

It doesn’t matter how often it happens (and these days it seems to happen nearly every weekend), we never get sick of seeing USMNT players match up in the Bundesliga. This weekend, it comes courtesy of Josh Sargent and Werder Bremen going up against John Brooks and Wolfsburg. This is also one of the more direct matchups, as Sargent and Brooks could clash directly if Werder Bremen is able to get a bit of possession. They will have their work cut out for them as they face the 3rd place side who are coming off a 5-0 trouncing of Schalke. Werder are coming off a 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich in a game that also saw Josh Sargent’s scoring streak snapped. The good news is the club does appear to be comfortably out of the relegation zone, nine points ahead of Hertha Berlin and Mainz.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Giovanni Reyna has been seeing fewer and fewer minutes as his first full season with the first team drags on. He did play 20 minutes last weekend off the bench after missing the previous two matches. The team will face Köln at 10:30a on EPSN+.
  • Pellegrino Matarazzo and Stuttgart will face Bayern Munich at 10:30a on ESPN+. Matarazzo’s Stuttgart are on a five game unbeaten streak and have worked their way into the top half of the table.
  • Zack Steffen could get the start for Manchester City in FA Cup action on Saturday when Manchester City face Everton at 1:30p on ESPN+. Steffen has started every cup match for City, and this would represent his fifth match against a Premier League side.
  • Matthew Hoppe and Schalke will face Borussia Mönchengladbach at 1:30p on ESPN+. ‘Gladbach have been in a slide since their managers departure was announced, and the club has lost seven straight matches, but they should see a respite against a hapless Schalke side.

Sunday

Chelsea v Sheffield United - 9:30a on ESPN+

Christian Pulisic started on the bench yet again for Chelsea when the team met Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Champions league matchup. Pulisic came on as a substitute in the 77th minute with his team up 1-0 in the match, 2-0 on aggregate. Then in the dying minutes, Pulisic earned the assist to put the nail in Atletico’s Champions League dreams for this year. While it wasn’t exactly necessary for the outcome of the tie, perhaps the assist will provide a bit of a confidence boost and breakthrough for the young man who now has just two assists and two goals across all competitions.

This weekend, Chelsea have an FA Cup match with fellow Premier League side Sheffield United, and it seems like a good opportunity for Pulisic to get the start and build on his production. While he’s started just one Premier League game since Tuchel took over, Pulisic has started both FA Cup matches. Chelsea’s opponent this weekend are Sheffield United, who have just four wins and two draws through 29 league games and are headed for relegation though they are coming off a 1-0 win over Aston Villa.

Looking through the paywall:

  • Chris Richards and Hoffenheim face Mainz Sunday at 8:30a on ESPN+. Richards started last week’s 2-0 loss to Stuttgart and seems likely to get more time this weekend against relegation candidate Mainz.
  • Weston McKennie is apparently nursing a bit of an injury and has come off the bench in Juventus’ last two league matches. His side will face Benevento at 10a on ESPN+.
  • Timothy Weah continues to get a good deal of playing time for a Lille side that hold a three point lead over PSG for the Ligue One title. They face relegation candidate Nimes at 12:05p on beIN Sports and Fanatiz USA. Nimes have allowed a league worst 55 goals through 29 games.
  • Bryan Reynolds made his Roma debut last weekend with a 30 minute performance off the bench in the club’s 2-0 loss to Parma. This weekend, Roma face fifth place Napoli who are tied with them at fifty points. The match is at 3:45p on ESPN+.
  • Sergiño Dest and FC Barcelona are now just four points back of Atletico Madrid, but have a tough test this weekend when they face Real Sociedad at 4p on beIN Sports and Fanatiz USA.