On Tap (April 2-8)

This Saturday may well be the most exciting day of the 20-21 season, with 5 must-watch games (three of them, unfortunately, at the same time). Hope you find time to enjoy it all. All times are CDT.

Friday, April 2nd

2:00 PM Levante – Huesca (BeIN Sports). A slow start to the weekend. Huesca are better than their 20th position would suggest, but this is definitely a missable game that is taking advantage of nothing else being on.

Saturday, April 3rd

5:30 AM AC Milan – Sampdoria (ESPN+). Unless you can’t resist watching Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea overpower West Brom (6:00 AM, NBCSN) this is probably the early game to watch. Mid-table Sampdoria aren’t in great current form, but AC Milan need to beat them to stay in touching distance of their crosstown rivals at the top of the Serie A table.

8:30 AM Borussia Dortmund – Eintracht Frankfurt (ESPN+). Frankfurt have been one of the surprise sides in the Bundesliga, and they currently sit above Dortmund in a Champions League spot the more glamorous side needs to retake if they want to have any chance of holding onto star striker Erling Håland. In 2021, Frankfurt have gone 9-3-1, with a win at Bayern and a tie at RB Leipzig. This is a Champions League six-pointer, for sure.

11:30 AM RB Leipzig – Bayern Munich (ESPN2). In a match window that features three likely league winners facing off against 2nd (or 3rd) place competition, this is probably the game to watch–so much so that ESPN has chosen to use it as one of their four cable broadcast Bundesliga games this season. The injury to Robert Lewandowski in a Poland match against Andorra probably heightens the significance of the game, which Leipzig need to win to keep hopes of a title race in Germany alive. This would be a good time, though, to have access to multiple screens. Though scheduled to start at 10:00 AM, Paris Saint-Germain – LOSC Lille is also being broadcast, on BeIN Sports, at 11:30 AM, while 3rd place Leicester City simultaneously take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on NBCSN. That’s a hell of a lot of mission critical, top-of-the-table football for a single time slot.

2:30 PM Athletic Bilbao – Real Sociedad (ESPN+). Last year’s all-Basque Copa del Rey final is finally happening, sadly still without the live fans that the game was delayed in order to accommodate. Even so, this should prove a fitting end to what could easily prove the most important day of the 20-21 season.

Sunday, April 4th

6:00 AM Southampton – Burnley (Peacock). If you squint hard enough and look exceptionally optimistically at Fulham’s chances, you could convince yourself that this match between teams tied on points at 14th and 15th could drop the loser into the relegation scrap. If you find yourself awake this early on Sunday, I guess you should probably try to believe that.

9:15 AM Elche – Real Betis (BeIN Sports). Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis are a very good side at the moment, which makes them a team worth watching.

11:00 AM Union Berlin – Hertha Berlin (ESPN+). In truth, Hertha are a disaster this season, and the excitement in this game comes from the very different objectives of the two sides: Union seeking to chase a European spot, while Hertha are hoping to stave off a relegation scrap. Regardless, a Berlin Derby in the top flight is always worth paying attention to.

2:00 PM Sevilla – Atlético Madrid (BeIN Sports). With Atlético struggling to hold onto their lead at the top of the La Liga table, this clash with 4th place Sevilla is critical, especially up against relatively easy fixtures for Barcelona (Real Valladolid) and Real Madrid (Eibar) this weekend. Though it should be a fascinating game too, the truth is that you’d have to be a Premier League homer to choose Arsenal – Liverpool (NBCSN) over this one.

Monday, April 5th

12:00 PM Everton – Crystal Palace (Peacock). It’s what’s on. Everton, at least, are a fun side to watch under Carlo Ancelotti.

2:15 PM Wolverhampton Wanderers – West Ham United (Peacock). This should be an entertaining match, which David Moyes’s West Ham will need to win if they want to stay in contention for a European place at the end of the season.

Tuesday, April 6th

2:00 PM Manchester City – Borussia Dortmund (Paramount+) or Real Madrid – Liverpool (Paramount+, TUDN). My preference would lean toward City – Dortmund, given City’s extreme style and Guardiola’s penchant for radical formation changes in big matches. In truth, though, Madrid – Liverpool is probably more likely to deliver a competitive match, even if neither of these world-class sides is in top form at the moment.

Wednesday, April 7th

11:45 AM Juventus – Napoli (ESPN+). This critical rescheduling of a Covid-postponed league match from back in October should produce a fantastic appetizer for the Champions League football to follow.

2:00 PM Bayern Munich – Paris Saint-Germain (Paramount+, TUDN). Without Robert Lewandowski (injured over the international break), Bayern seem less certain to advance, though they are still the favorites here. It should be a compelling end to a fantastic week of European football.

Thursday, April 8th

2:00 PM Granada – Manchester United (Paramount+). And then there’s the Europa League. Granada has suffered in La Liga this season, but have maintained focus in Europe and could prove a challenge for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. The fact that they have already eliminated Real Sociedad and AC Milan might suggest that they are up to the challenge, but it has generally been against more defensive, regressive sides like Granada that Manchester United have struggled.

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