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Soccer on TV: Ralf Rangnick’s welcome as Manchester United’s new interim manager comes at first-place Chelsea

Plus big games in Spain, Italy, Germany, and the MLS and Liga MX playoffs.

Manchester United will be Ralf Rangnick's first managerial job since leaving RB Leipzig in the summer of 2019.
Manchester United will be Ralf Rangnick's first managerial job since leaving RB Leipzig in the summer of 2019.Read moreJens Meyer / AP

Australia vs. United States

Friday, 11 p.m. (FS2)

U.S. women’s national team fans will be staying up late to watch a young crop of rising stars take on Australia superstar Sam Kerr and her colleagues. But just because the Americans are young doesn’t mean they’re inexperienced.

Andi Sullivan has been around the U.S. national team for a while, and just won the NWSL championship with the Washington Spirit. A starting American midfield of Sullivan, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle could be great fun to watch.

» READ MORE: USWNT prepares to face Sam Kerr’s star-studded Australia in front of a record crowd in Sydney

Venezia vs. Inter Milan

Saturday, 2:45 p.m. (Paramount+)

Gianluca Busio continues to play well for Venezia, and now fellow American midfielder Tanner Tessmann is getting regular minutes too. They’ve helped their team rise to 14th place in Serie A, six points clear of the relegation zone. This game will be another big test, as third-place Inter rolls in with star attackers Edin Džeko and Lautaro Martínez.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Serie A schedule

Villarreal vs. Barcelona

Saturday, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)

Villarreal has been giving Spain’s big teams a stout challenge for years, to the point that the “Yellow Submarine” has almost become one of them now. But Barcelona hasn’t lost to Villarreal since March 2008, and has won its last two games at the Estadio de la Cerámica. Will this Barcelona squad’s struggles be enough for Villarreal to finally get a win?

Palmeiras vs. Flamengo

Saturday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Español)

The final of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club tournament, is an all-Brazilian matchup – and a matchup of the last two champions.

Palmeiras won the 2020 edition and Flamengo won in 2019. You’ll see familiar faces in Palmeiras’ Felipe Melo and Flamengo’s David Luiz, and players whose names you’ll want to learn. Palmeiras’ Raphael Veiga is reportedly a transfer target for Inter Miami, and Flamengo’s Giorgian de Arrascaeta is a great playmaker.

The game, played at a neutral site Super Bowl-style, will take place at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay, the site of the 1930 men’s World Cup final.

Club América vs. Pumas UNAM

Saturday, 8 p.m. (Univision 65, TUDN)

In the first leg of this Liga MX playoff series, América held Pumas to a scoreless tie on Pumas’ turf. Now the scene shifts across Mexico City to the Azteca for the second leg of this Clásico Capitalino rivalry clash.

» READ MORE: América manager Santiago Solari has roots in South Jersey college soccer

Atlas vs. Monterrey

Saturday, 10 p.m. (TUDN)

Atlas is traditionally the second team in Guadalajara, Mexico’s second city, behind Chivas. But this season, Los Rojinegros (“The Black-and-Red,” for their crest colors) have stood taller, finishing in second place while Chivas finished 10th – and crashed out of the playoffs in the first round.

Monterrey finished ninth, but has the pedigree of being a five-time Concacaf Champions League winner. Striker Rogelio Funes Mori, an Argentina native who grew up in suburban Dallas and is now a naturalized Mexican, is a top player to watch. So is Atlas striker Julio Furch.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Liga MX playoffs schedule

Manchester City vs. West Ham United

Sunday, 9 a.m. (Peacock)

This game will tell us some things about just how good fourth-place West Ham really is.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (Peacock)

Ralf Rangnick is one of the smartest people in German soccer. He developed the counterpressing playbook that has now been deployed by the Red Bull teams where he worked for years, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, and the Union under Ernst Tanner.

Is Rangnick smart to take the Manchester United managerial job only on an interim basis for the rest of the season? The answer may lie further down in the news. Rangnick will become a consultant to United after the season ends. That’s where the real money and power are – without the stress of being on one of world soccer’s most famous hot seats.

Chelsea, meanwhile, is in searing form. Christian Pulisic and the Blues are on a 10-game unbeaten run in all competitions, including a 4-0 demolition of Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Premier League schedule

RB Leipzig vs. Bayer Leverkusen

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN+)

Speaking of the Red Bull empire, Leipzig got the big Champions League win it needed on Wednesday by routing Club Brugge 4-0 in Belgium. But the club is in seventh in the Bundesliga, and manager Jesse Marsch and goalkeeper Péter Gulásci have been sidelined by COVID-19. If Leipzig can win this game without them, they could move as high as fourth in the league standings.

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's Bundesliga schedule

Sporting Kansas City vs. Real Salt Lake

Sunday, 3 p.m. (6abc, ESPN Deportes)

While you’re tailgating at Subaru Park before the Union-Nashville game, check out this Western Conference semifinal. RSL, the West’s No. 7 seed, stunned the powerhouse No. 2 seed Sounders in Seattle by winning a penalty shootout after not taking a single shot in 120 minutes. Kansas City, the West’s No. 3 seed, easily dispatched No. 6 seed Vancouver at home, 3-1.

» READ MORE: Andre Blake reflects on a tough year as he leads the Union into the second round of the playoffs

Real Madrid vs. Sevilla

Sunday, 3 p.m. (ESPN+)

Ho-hum, Real Madrid is atop La Liga again. Can third-place Sevilla, two points back, derail Los Merengues’ eight-game unbeaten streak in all competitions?

» READ MORE: The rest of this weekend's La Liga schedule

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County SC

Sunday, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)

The second-division USL Championship’s playoff title game has former Union players on both sides. Leo Fernandes mans the left wing for Tampa, which has kept one of the great club names (and jerseys) in American soccer history alive. Michael Orozco marshals Orange County’s back line, and former Union draft pick Aidan Apodaca is one of the forwards.