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SB Nation Soccer News | January 30, 2015

What to watch this weekend in the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A - January 30th

(click to expand schedule)

Premier League

Saturday, January 31

07:45 ET Hull City vs. Newcastle United video
10:00 ET Crystal Palace vs. Everton video
10:00 ET Liverpool vs. West Ham United video
10:00 ET Manchester United vs. Leicester City video
10:00 ET Stoke City vs. Queens Park Rangers video
10:00 ET West Bromwich Albion vs. Tottenham Hotspur video
12:30 ET Chelsea vs. Manchester City video

Sunday, February 1

08:30 ET Arsenal vs. Aston Villa video
11:00 ET Southampton vs. Swansea City video

La Liga

Friday, January 30

14:45 ET Rayo Vallecano vs. Deportivo La Coruña video

Saturday, January 31

10:00 ET Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad video
12:00 ET Eibar vs. Atlético Madrid video
14:00 ET Granada vs. Elche video
16:00 ET Celta Vigo vs. Córdoba video

Sunday, February 1

11:00 ET Almería vs. Getafe video
13:00 ET Sevilla vs. Espanyol video
15:00 ET Villarreal vs. Barcelona video

Bundesliga

Friday, January 30

14:30 ET Wolfsburg vs. Bayern Munich video

Saturday, January 31

09:30 ET Freiburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt video
09:30 ET Hamburger SV vs. Köln video
09:30 ET Mainz 05 vs. Paderborn video
09:30 ET Schalke 04 vs. Hannover video
09:30 ET Stuttgart vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach video
12:30 ET Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund video

Sunday, February 1

09:30 ET Werder Bremen vs. Hertha BSC video
11:30 ET Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim video

Serie A

Saturday, January 31

12:00 ET Genoa vs. Fiorentina video
14:45 ET AS Roma vs. Empoli video

Sunday, February 1

06:30 ET Sassuolo vs. Inter Milan video
09:00 ET Atalanta vs. Cagliari video
09:00 ET Cesena vs. Lazio video
09:00 ET Chievo vs. Napoli video
09:00 ET Palermo vs. Verona video
09:00 ET Torino vs. Sampdoria video
09:00 ET Udinese vs. Juventus video
14:45 ET Milan vs. Parma video

3 To Watch
  • Bayer Leverkusen vs. Borussia Dortmund

    After a long, cold, lonely January in which fans were deprived of any and all Bundesliga action, Europe's most exciting league has finally returned. The Rückrunde kicks off with Bayern Munich visiting Wolfsburg, but even though the hosts sit second, we all know how that one is going to turn out. In fact, we all know how the end of the season will turn out, considering the Bavarians have likely already printed up their championship tee shirts and handed out seating assignments on the parade floats.

    The trophy might already have been engraved, but there's still more questions than answers to be had in the Bundesliga. And right now, the biggest puzzler involves Borussia Dortmund, the team that should've been a thorn in Bayern's side, but that is now forced to expend all their energy climbing up from the bottom of the table.

    Yes, that's still Jürgen Klopp's Dortmund, the side that captivates with their pressing and their counters and their quickness. It's the side that faced off against Bayern in the Champions League final less than two years ago, the side that finished second in the Bundesliga last season. It's the side that beat out Arsenal for the top spot in their Champions League group this time around.

    In other words, it seems inconceivable that it's the same side that's now tied with Freiburg for last in the league. And to be quite honest, no one really believes that Dortmund will finish the season in the danger zone. But the club must be tired of the constant questions, the jokes at their expense, the having to expand the Bundesliga table to see their own name. They've got to stop the bleeding. They've got to start the second half off with a win.

    Easier said then done, considering Dortmund travel to Leverkusen to take on the league's 3rd-placed side. And Bayer Leverkusen, who struggled in December, will be hyper-aware of just how close the Schalkes, the Gladbachs, the Augsburgs are to overtaking them. Roger Schmidt's side have managed to fix many of the problems in defense, but they've now been struggling to score enough goals. Fortunately for those looking for typical Bundesliga excitement, Schmidt does still prioritize attack -- and with Dortmund so prone to errors at the back, it may not matter that Leverkusen sometimes have issues with precision.

    Yes, this match conflicts with Chelsea vs. Manchester City, a game that could well end up deciding the Premier League title. We're confident that you're skilled enough to focus your right eye on José Mourinho's ever-changing expressions of irritation, while your left eye can watch Dortmund racing into position, only to somehow shoot wide of goal. Besides, if BVB actually manage to pull off a win, don't you want to be able to tell everyone that you witnessed the goal that kicked off their comeback, especially when you're standing in line to view the heartwarming tale at your local cinema?

  • Chelsea vs. Manchester City

    This was supposed to be massive.

    At the beginning of January, Chelsea and Manchester City emerged from England's gruelling festive schedule as close as any two title competitors could possibly be. Twenty games played, 46 points apiece, 44 goals for and 19 against. For once, it literally could not have been closer, Clive. Only Chelsea's clever decision to place themselves closer to the beginning of the alphabet was keeping them top.

    So this Saturday's meeting started, naturally, to look like a bit of a title decider. A championship six-pointer, if that's a thing. Only somebody forgot to tell Manchester City: having done excellently to slash Chelsea's early-season lead to nothing, the champions promptly dropped five points, first drawing away at Everton and then, in defiance of all the known rules of football and the universe, getting turned over by Arsenal at home.

    Yaya Touré's Cup of Nations absence isn't helping; while the Ivorian hasn't been at his clanking, marauding best this season, he still remains one of City's players most likely to take delivery of nothing and alchemise something, and none of City's replacement options have really convinced. Up front, Sergio Agüero hasn't quite rediscovered his punishing edge after returning from injury, while at the back, Vincent Kompany is walking a fine line between dominant, aggressive centre half and over-committed, overwrought liability.

    All straightforward for Chelsea, then? Well, maybe. As you might have heard, Diego Costa spent his Tuesday night treading on Liverpool players and, despite an appeal, has been banned for three games. Behind him, Cesc Fàbregas is another doubt; he's been feeling twinges in his assist-making hamstrings.

    Which is concerning for Chelsea, but also for the neutral: we've got a Chelsea side that don't need a win, playing at home, possibly missing half their attack. The entirely untantalising prospect of Mourinho going Full Mourinho looms large. Hope for those seeking a spectacle, perhaps, comes from the suspicion that Chelsea's defence is there to be got at; this is a side that shipped five to Tottenham in the not too-distant past, and while John Terry has been his usual obdurate self, neither the established Gary Cahill or the young Kurt Zouma has looked super-comfortable next to him in recent weeks.

    Still, if the suspicion remains that this might be a game for Jon Obi Mikel and James Milner, not Eden Hazard and David Silva, then it's still appointment viewing. Hanging over the whole occasion is the chance, the slim chance, that Frank Lampard will poke home a late, deflected winner for Manchester City, that Stamford Bridge will explode in a cloud of confused frustration, and that Twitter will snap in half. You won't want to chance missing that.

  • Monaco vs. Lyon

    With Marseille stuttering and Paris Saint-Germain having already stuttered, Lyon are in pole position to cause a big upset and lift their first French title in seven years. They have made a great improvement since Hubert Fournier took charge in the summer, and head into this weekend's potential banana-skin in Monaco having recorded seven straight victories in the league, and moved four points clear at the top of the table.

    Their remarkable exploits have largely been the result of some unbelievable form from striker Alexandre Lacazette. If you thought last season’s 15-goal haul marked a breakthrough campaign for the French youngster, then think again. He's started all 22 of the club's league games, and scored a total of 21 goals – even forwards in monochrome photographs with their shirts tucked into their shorts would be proud of that strike rate.

    Alas, the bad news for Lyon fans is he’s set to miss this weekend’s game against Monaco. He's picked up a hamstring injury, and is going to be out for a couple of weeks as a result. For the neutral, however, that only serves to make things more interesting. Now we’re going to find out how Lyon cope without their star man. Of course, football is a team sport, and the more traditionally creative forward Nabil Fekir has impressed by chipping in with eight goals of his own. But, there’s no doubt that Lacazette’s injury will force a rethink from Fournier.

    It’s one that Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim will look to capitalise on, with his side having been enjoying a resurgence of their own of late. No longer the minted superpower-in-waiting, Monaco are having to get by with a motley combination of inexperienced talent and aging veterans. At the start of the season, they were floundering; now they’ve gone unbeaten in their last seven Ligue 1 games, and are now just nine points adrift of Lyon. Particular highlights have been the performances of young Belgian winger Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco out wide, while Dimitar Berbatov has scored five goals in his last seven games in all competitions.

    Monaco have come into form just in time to turn this into a very intriguing encounter. Things are still incredibly tight at the top of the Ligue 1 table, and despite Lyon flying, the Lacazette injury adds an interesting variable. Will someone step up and shoulder the scoring burden, or will it throw their system completely off-balance? There’s only one way to find out …

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