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Bundesliga preview: Dortmund v. Schalke headlines return

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The 2019-20 Bundesliga season returns this weekend and my goodness are we glad to be writing a preview focusing on the nine games, of which a Revierderby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke headlines.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores ] 

Matchweek 26 in the Bundesliga will of course see games played in empty stadiums, which is the plan for the rest of the season and beyond. If you’re new to Germany’s top-flight, here’s a guide to help you pick a club to support.

With an almighty title battle set to take place in the final weeks of the season, the Bundesliga will provide epic drama with plenty on the line up and down the league as it is the first of Europe’s ‘big five’ to return amid the coronavirus pandemic. Strict safety protocols are in place as Bundesliga teams have been training for weeks ahead of these games and the outbreak in Germany has been largely controlled due to widespread testing.

[ MORE: Bundesliga latest news ] 

Below is a look at what lies ahead this weekend, as you can check out the full schedule, standings and find out how to watch the action, while we will have you covered right here on ProSoccerTalk.

Borussia Dortmund v. Schalke: 9:30 a.m. ET, Saturday

Focusing on this weekend, Borussia Dortmund host bitter rivals Schalke with both teams desperate for the win. Schalke are in sixth place and ahead of a cluster of teams in the race for a Europa League spot, while Dortmund are in second and four points off leaders Bayern Munich.

USMNT fans will have a close eye on this game with Giovanni Reyna, 17, a rising star for Dortmund, while Weston McKennie is a regular for David Wagner’s Schalke. Even without fans the atmosphere will be intense for this huge rivalry, especially with so much on the line and especially because games have been suspended for over two months. Lucien Favre has a stacked young squad to choose from, as Erling Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Reyna and Mario Gotze give him plenty of options in attack. Marco Reus, Emre Can and Axel Witsel are all said to be out of this clash as they work their way back to full fitness. The Revierderby is a great way to get things going again.

Bundesliga return date
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Union Berlin v. Bayern Munich: 12 p.m. ET, Sunday

The newly-promoted upstarts have settled into life in the Bundesliga extremely well as Union Berlin sit pretty in midtable. Bayern are top of the table but have a host of challengers and Hansi Flick’s side have a tough remaining schedule. Flick was handed a long-term contract after doing a fine job to turn things around but there’s no doubt the suspension hit Bayern’s momentum hard as Alphonso Davies and Co. were in fine form in March as they tried to surge towards an eighth-straight title. Bayern can’t afford to drop points with big games against Leverkusen, Dortmund and ‘Gladbach to come.

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Quick look at the other games…

Plenty of USMNT stars are in action around the Bundesliga with Timmy Chandler having a great season for topsy-turvy Eintracht Frankfurt who host Fabian Johnson’s Borussia Monchengladbach who are fourth. Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig have great momentum and are challenging for the title and in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League. Julian Nagelsmann’s talented side host SC Freiburg who are battling for European qualification. John Brooks’ Wolfsburg are in the hunt for Europe too and they host struggling Augsburg. Fortuna Dusseldorf and Paderborn square off in a huge game at the bottom as USMNT midfielder Alfredo Morales will be key for the home side, while goalkeeper Zack Steffen has been struggling with a knee injury. Josh Sargent’s struggling Werder Bremen host Bayer Leverkusen who are in the top four hunt as all eyes will be on the host of young Americans in the Bundesliga.

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Saturday, May 16

9:30 a.m. ET: Augsburg v. Wolfsburg
9:30 a.m. ET: Borussia Dortmund v. Schalke
9:30 a.m. ET: Fortuna Dusseldorf v. Paderborn
9:30 a.m. ET: Hoffenheim v. Hertha Berlin
9:30 a.m. ET: RB Leipzig v. SC Freiburg
12:30 p.m. ET: Eintracht Frankfurt v. Borussia Monchengladbach

Sunday, May 17

9:30 a.m. ET: Cologne v. Mainz
12 p.m. ET: Union Berlin v. Bayern Munich

Monday, May 18

2:30 p.m. ET: Werder Bremen v. Bayer Leverkusen

Newcastle – Brighton: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Newcastle v Brighton: A pair of sides that impressed on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 Premier League season — but only one of them with anything to show for it — will meet at St. James’ Park on Sunday (Watch live at 9 am ET, online via Peacock).

NEWCASTLE – BRIGHTON STREAM LIVE

Newcastle United were far and away the better side in their season-opening victory away to West Ham United last weekend, while Brighton looked the better part of Chelsea’s equals for 54 minutes but ultimately fell to a 3-1 defeat at the Amex Stadium.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Newcastle v Brighton this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Newcastle v Brighton (INJURY REPORT)

Newcastle will be without five players — Matty Longstaff (thigh), Martin Dubravka (ankle), Fabian Schar (shoulder), Paul Dummett (thigh), Dwight Gayle (knee) — leaving Steve Bruce with an increasingly thin squad, but he’ll be able to trot out the same XI that beat West Ham on Opening Day.

Jose Iquierdo (knee), Florian Andone (knee) and Christian Walton (ankle) have all been ruled out for Sunday, with rising star Ben White passes a late fitness test after picking up a minor injury last week.


What they’re saying

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, on starting with a win: “I’m like everybody else, we all like to get off to a start and we couldn’t have had a better week in terms of results. The players have hit the ground running, which was always part of the reason why we went after who we went after. We’ve got a chance to get off to an outstanding start.”

Brighton manager Graham Potter, on Newcastle: “Newcastle will be strong. They were worthy winners at West Ham and they will be a tough test for us. Impressive, the business they have done. They have added to the squad and they will be really strong. Everyone knows what Andy Carroll brings to the team and physically he is very strong, and aerially he is strong. Him and [Callum] Wilson will be a strong partnership.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

There’s almost nothing to separate Newcastle (+160) from Brighton (+185) as the oddsmakers see Sunday’s clash a near-tossup. Even the draw (+210) isn’t far out of line with either side winning.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

At the risk of placing too much importance upon a game in week no. 2, this one has the feel of an important litmus test for Newcastle. West Ham have been chaotic for quite some time now, but Brighton, despite finishing 15th last season, have appeared far more stable and trending upward under Potter. They’re likely a mid-table side this season, and Newcastle could be, too. In the end, it ends Newcastle 1-1 Brighton.


How to watch Newcastle v Brighton stream and start time

Kickoff: 9 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Leicester City seals Under loan with no obligation to buy

Cenzig Under Leicester
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Leicester City confirmed the acquisition of Roma winger Cenzig Under on Sunday, giving the Foxes an exciting player one year removed from a breakout season in Serie A.

The 23-year-old Turkish international is reunited with “best friend” Caglar Soyuncu, bringing six goals in 21 caps to the King Power Stadium on a loan with an option to buy.

[ MORE: Jota to Liverpool confirmed ]

Sky Sports says the loan fee is just under $4 million with a $26 million purchase option after the season.

Under scored just thrice for Roma last season after losing his place in the XI during an early-season injury spell, but had seven goals and 10 assists the previous season and joins a Leicester wing corps with Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes amongst others.

From LCFC.com:

“I’ve always wanted to play in England and this is a great opportunity to play in the Premier League. I think I am fast and can create lots of chances for my colleagues. I feel very good because my best friend plays for Leicester City. I am very happy to be able to play with Çağlar and I always watched Leicester’s games because of him.”

Under and Soyuncu were together from 2011-13 in the academy at Bucaspor before both joined Altınordu in 2014 for initial forays into first team football.

If Under’s spell at Leicester is anything like Soyuncu’s, you can bet on that purchase option being snapped up by Brendan Rodgers.

Southampton – Tottenham: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Southampton – Tottenham: This will be a tight game on Sunday (Watch live at 7am ET, online via Peacock) at St Mary’s as Ralph Hasenhuttl and Jose Mourinho have locked horns three times already in 2020.

SOUTHAMPTON – TOTTENHAM STREAM LIVE

Saints have won the league game, draw an FA Cup game at home and lost the FA Cup replay away at Tottenham and all three of those games were tightly contested encounters. With Spurs having a quick turnaround given their Europa League qualifying win in Bulgaria on Thursday, plus League Cup and Europa League games next midweek, Mourinho may be forced to shuffle his pack.

After losing their opening game of the Premier League, both clubs will want to get back on track quickly.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Tottenham this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Southampton – Tottenham (INJURY REPORT)

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has Stuart Armstrong back from injury and he starts, replacing the injured Nathan Redmond.

Mourinho has Giovani Lo Celso back fit and he’s on the bench, while this game comes too soon for new signings Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon. Tanguy Ndombele starts in midfield and Dele Alli is not in the squad.


What they’re saying

Ralph Hasenhuttl on Southampton not being fully fit to start the season: “We are not playing quick enough at the moment. Not aggressive enough without the ball. We are not at the fitness levels we had last season. This is not surprising we had no pre-season where we could work together. But yes we should go quickly to a different level otherwise it’ll be difficult.”

Eric Dier on Tottenham’s congested fixture schedule: “If you look at the schedule, it isn’t showing any care for players’ physical welfare. It’s common sense really, trying to ask someone to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday. It doesn’t seem like there is any care for players’ welfare in that situation.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Southampton are the underdogs (+210) but have matched up well against Tottenham in recent meetings. Spurs are favored (+130) but the draw (+235) looks likely in this one and Mourinho will probably take that given all of their recent games.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Prediction

Danny Ings can cause Tottenham problems and if Saints start quickly, as they like to do, they can catch Spurs out. Tottenham will sit back and then look to hit Saints on the counter and hope the quality of Son, Kane and Co. will see them through. I’m going for a draw. 1-1.


How to watch Southampton – Tottenham stream and start time

Kickoff: 7 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Aston Villa – Sheffield United: How to watch, start time, prediction, odds

Aston Villa - Sheffield United
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Aston Villa – Sheffield United: Dean Smith’s new-look Aston Villa begins its Premier League campaign at home to Sheffield United at Villa Park on Monday (Watch live at 1 pm ET, online via Peacock).

Villa has added Bertrand Traore, Emiliano Martinez, Matty Cash, and Ollie Watkins this summer and have been linked to more talent. Of course, it’s just as critical that the club signed Jack Grealish to a new contract.

STREAM ASTON VILLA – SHEFFIELD UNITED LIVE

Blades lost to Wolves to start the Premier League season before falling to Burnley in penalties at midweek in League Cup action.

Getting points against Villa and Leeds the next two fixtures would be a boon to a club that then sees Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, and Chelsea in four of five league outings.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Aston Villa – Sheffield United this Saturday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Aston Villa – Sheffield United (INJURY REPORT)

Tom Heaton, Wesley, and Bjorn Engels remain out for Villa, while Blades are going to be without Lys Mousset for some time following a foot operation.


What they’re saying

Bertrand Traore on returning to the Premier League with Villa: “I’m very happy to join Aston Villa. I’m happy to be here. I played with JT at Chelsea, I spoke to him. I spoke to the manager, spoke with the sporting director as well and some players I used to play with. I spoke to Nakamba, I talked to him a little bit about the club. Many things made me take the decision to come here. I’m happy.”

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder on competition for places: “You’ve already seen a step up in training and instruction. You have to keep raising the bar and quality of your group. I think there are any shoo-ins to our team. Everybody’s got an opportunity and we talked about that the other night against Burnley. Take the opportunity and don’t waste it. I believe they didn’t.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

This one’s as close as it gets, as hosts Villa are +165 to win and the visiting Blades are barely off that at +175. Even a draw nets +220. Anything could happen.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links


Aston Villa – Sheffield United prediction

There are a lot of new pieces with big expectations for Villa, who overcame a slow start to beat Burton Albion well in the League Cup at midweek. Blades haven’t looked right for a few matches now stretching into preseason. It’s tempting to call this one for Villa, 1-0, but 0-0 or 1-1 shouldn’t surprise anyone.


How to watch Aston Villa – Sheffield United stream and start time

Kickoff: 1 pm ET Monday
Online: Stream via Peacock