America isn’t the only place to find playoffs, as the English Championship fight for the final promotion spot will kick off this weekend with a pair of semifinal matchups that feature USMNT players in key roles for their clubs. There isn’t much action on Friday, but things really heat up on Saturday, let’s get to it.
Leeds United v Newcastle United - 7:30a on USA Network
With three matches remaining, Weston McKennie, Brenden Aaronson, and Leeds have fallen into relegation position thanks to huge wins by Everton and Nottingham Forest on Monday. Leeds are now two points from safety and will need to pick up results over their last three matches, starting this weekend against a Newcastle side that lost last weekend to Arsenal FC and have work to do themselves in order to secure Champions League qualification.
Union Berlin v Freiburg - 9:30a on ESPN+
Jordan Pefok and Union Berlin have fallen into a tie for fourth place in the Bundesliga following their 1-0 loss to Augsburg last weekend. Union have had difficulty scoring...their 44 goals scored this season would put them in the bottom half of the table and now would be a fine time for Pefok to relocate his scoring boots.
Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz - 9:30a on ESPN+
Paxten Aaronson’s call-up to the U-20 World Cup was denied by Eintracht Frankfurt, so by golly he better get some playing time down the stretch for an Eintracht side that don’t really have much to play for. The team is currently in 9th place, 5 points back of qualifying for any European competition. Aaronson has seen the field for at least 20 minutes in the club’s last four matches, including coming on as a halftime substitute last weekend.
Wolfsburg v Hoffenheim - 9:30a on ESPN+
Kevin Paredes and Wolfsburg are just two points back of Bayer Leverkusen for sixth place and qualification to the Europa Conference League. Paredes was called up to the U-20s, but will wait to join the team until after the knockout rounds and the conclusion of Wolfsburg’s season. Paredes came back from injury last weekend to play 45 minutes in the embarrassing 6-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund. On the other side, John Brooks and Hoffenheim now sit four points clear of relegation in 14th place, as they are coming off a 3-1 win over Frankfurt.
Chelsea FC v Nottingham Forest - 10a on USA Network
Christian Pulisic was an unused substitute again last week and hasn’t played in nearly a month but Chelsea did break a seven game winless streak in a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth last weekend. They face a relegation threatened Nottingham Forest, who are coming off a huge 4-3 win over Southampton.
Crystal Palace v Bournemouth - 10a on Peacock
Chris Richards has just one appearance (albeit a start) in the past three months for a Crystal Palace side that are solidly middle of the table and reportedly moving on from one or more of their starting center backs this Summer.
Southampton v Fulham FC - 10a on Peacock
Antonee Robinson and Fulham smashed Leicester last weekend, sending them into the relegation zone with three matches to play. Fulham will look to finish the season strong over the next few weeks, starting with a match against bottom of the table Southampton on Saturday.
Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Mönchengladbach - 12:30p on ESPN+
Gio Reyna saw 20 minutes last weekend as Borussia Dortmund thumped Wolfsburg 6-0. It was a resounding result for the club, but they remain a point behind Bayern Munich with three matches to play. This weekend, they will face Joe Scally and Borussia Mönchengladbach, who are middle of the table and will be mathematically eliminated from European competition with a loss, draw, or a Leverkusen win.
Sunderland v Luton Town - 12:30p on ESPN+
It’s an American matchup in the English Championship playoffs as Lynden Gooch and Sunderland squeaked into the playoffs on the final matchday and now face Ethan Horvath and Luton Town in a home-and-away semifinal. Sunderland host this weekend with the return match coming at Luton Town on Tuesday.
Coventry City v Middlesbrough - 7a on ESPN+
The second Championship playoff of the weekend also has American influence, with Zack Steffen and Middlesbrough taking on a Yankee-less Coventry City side. The two teams ended their regular seasons with a 1-1 draw last weekend and Middlesbrough are in a bit of a rough patch, winless in their past three matches.
Celta Vigo v Valencia - 8a on ESPN Deportes and ESPN+
Americans are matching up in La Liga this weekend as well, as Luca de la Torre and Celta Vigo face Yunus Musah and Valencia. With five matches left in the season, 13th place Celta Vigo sit four spots and five points ahead of Valencia, who are currently tied for the final relegation spot with Getafe.
Monaco v Lille - 11:05 on beIN Sports
After a long stretch of starts at right and left back, Tim Weah has come off the bench in the past three matches for Lille. Lille trail their opponent this weekend by five points in the table, as Monaco hold the inside edge on qualifying for Europa League competition next season.
LA Galaxy v San Jose Earthquakes - 9:30p on FS1
Finish the weekend with some MLS After Dark action as Jalen Neal and the LA Galaxy face Jeremy Ebobisse and the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night. Neal was another player held back by his club from the U-20 World Cup, as he has been a key starter early this season.
Hit the comments and discuss all the club action this weekend!