On Tap (Dec 4th-10th)

Friday the 4th – 1:30 PM Hertha Berlin – Union Berlin (ESPN+): Derbies don’t come much more serious than this.  This features West v East Berlin and Neo-Liberal v Socialist aesthetics, with the added twist that upstart Union are significantly outperforming the traditional top-flight Hertha this season, thanks in no small part to the addition of iconoclastic star, Max Kruse.  This is NOT one to overlook. And because ESPN+ archives, you can still watch it even if you missed the original broadcast.

Saturday the 5th – 6:30 AM Burnley – Everton (NBCSN): There’s nothing else on, so feel free to sleep in if you don’t have Calvert-Lewin, James, or Richarlison in your fantasy team.

  • 9:15 AM Sevilla – Real Madrid (BeIN Sports): Sevilla are a point behind Real Madrid–but with a game in hand–going into this game. More importantly, Sevilla is one of the trio of upstarts (along with Real Sociedad and Villarreal) seeking to challenge Atlético Madrid in taking advantage of the current struggles among the big two. Chances are, winning games like this one against the struggling La Liga giants will be important to making that challenge real.
  • 11:30 AM Bayern Munich – RB Leipzig (ESPN+): The top two Bundesliga sides square off in the most important game of the weekend. Leipzig trails Bayern by 2 points, so a win would put them at the top of the table.
  • 2:00 PM Chelsea – Leeds United (NBCSN) or Hérault Montpellier – Paris Saint-Germain (BeIN Sports): It’s difficult to imagine why anyone would miss watching Leeds if they could possibly avoid it. Chelsea is starting to become more defensively responsible of late, but there is little chance that this won’t be a spirited, high energy game. But on the other hand, Montpellier are only two points behind PSG, so a win would put them ahead of the perennial French champions. It’s been 9 years since Montpellier pipped PSG to the title in that team’s first season of Qatari investment, and in truth this Montpellier side is unlikely to repeat that feat even if they can secure a win in this game. But this one is certainly worth keeping on the radar, just in case things start going pear-shaped for the capital city’s side.

Sunday the 6th – 6:00 AM LOSC Lille – AS Monaco (BeIN SportsXTRA): Sadly, BeIN Sports is still offering paid programming in lieu of an early game, so you’ll have to go to their streaming service to get access to this game live (though it is set for a 5:00 PM network re-broadcast). But this match between two of the four sides tied on 23 points (just two behind league leaders, PSG) is the marquee Ligue 1 match of the weekend. If it’s not available, your next best options are probably Hellas Verona – Cagliari (5:30 AM on ESPN2), or an admittedly mismatched London derby in the Women’s Super League between Chelsea and West Ham United (6:30 AM on NBCSN). Under no circumstances should you give in to your Premier League biases and suffer through West Bromwich Albion-Crystal Palace (6:00 AM on Peacock). You’re better than that.

  • 8:00 AM Roma – Sassuolo (ESPN+): Despite a loss to Internazionale last weekend, dropping them to 3rd on goal difference, Sassuolo remain a point ahead of 6th place Roma in a tight crowd near the top of the table. It will be interesting to see whether Walter Di Zerbi’s men can continue their surprise run. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, having a late-career revival with the Giallorossi, is one to watch.
  • 10:30 AM Tottenham Hotspur – Arsenal (Peacock): Neither team comes into this North London derby quite in top key. Arsenal’s struggles are certainly longer-standing and deeper, on a three-game winless streak in the league. Spurs come in looking to recover from a wobble in the form of a goalless draw against Chelsea, but only two weeks removed from a win against Manchester City. The game probably matters less for José Mourinho than for Mikel Arteta, who needs to figure out a way to pull Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of his scoring slump.
  • 1:15 PM Liverpool – Wolverhampton Wanderers (Peacock): Liverpool remain the second best team in world football, and while Wolves have been slightly less impressive this season than last, they are still a team with plenty to offer. Assuming he plays, Diogo Jota will face his old side for the first time since his summer transfer.

Monday the 7th – 2:00 PM Brighton & Hove Albion – Southampton (NBCSN): It’s a slow Monday, but Brighton and Southampton are both entertaining teams to watch. Think of it as a palate cleanser.

Tuesday the 8th – 11:55 AM Lazio – Club Brugge (CBS All Access): The most pressing of the early games, as the winner will advance in the Champions League, while the loser will move to the Europa League. Sadly, this is only available streaming, as the Spanish-language market is chasing Borussia Dortmund fans, in a deadish rubber against Zenit Saint Petersburg.

  • 2:00 PM RB Leipzig – Manchester United (CBS All Access): This is probably the more interesting of the two Group H games, as both Leipzig and United are level with Paris Saint-Germain on 9 points. A tie for United or a win for Leipzig will see them through; while PSG need only a tie against Başakşehir. Barcelona-Juventus looks a big game, but it’s one without consequences.

Wednesday the 9th – 11:55 AM Ajax – Atalanta (CBS All Access): As with Tuesday’s early game, the winner moves on and the loser is Europa-bound. 

  • 2:00 PM Real Madrid – Borussia Mönchengladbach (CBS All Access or TUDN/Unimas): Like Group H from Tuesday, Group B still has much to play for. Gladbach leads the group with 8 points, but both Real and Shakhtar Donetsk are on 7 points, with Internazionale still in the mix on 5 points. Given the permutations, opting for Inter – Shakhtar (CBS All Access) would not be an unreasonable choice. For that matter, RB Salzberg face Atlético Madrid at home (CBS All Access) to decide which team will advance from their group in another worthy option.

Thursday the 10th – 11:55 AM Napoli – Real Sociedad (CBS All Access): The game of the day for the final round of the Europa League group stage. Only one of these Champions League-quality sides will advance. Of course, whether either side wants to advance is a question, as an even more tightly-packed schedule than usual must be weighed against a season where every extra dollar counts. Regardless, it should be a meaningful game between two of the better teams in Europe.

  • 2:00 PM Tottenham Hotspur – Antwerp (CBS All Access or TUDN): With Antwerp leading their group, Spurs need a win to win the group, even though they are assured of advancing.

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