Though the UEFA Champions League is on hiatus until February, there is still plenty of midweek soccer to watch. European leagues are in action, and the CONCACAF Champions League finally finishes off its 2020 tournament.
Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action.
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund
Tuesday, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
Dortmund’s horrendous 5-1 loss at home to Stuttgart on Saturday cost manager Lucien Favre his job. It was a big call for a team that’s fifth in the Bundesliga and won its Champions League group, but the truth came out when veteran defender Mats Hummels criticized the team’s playing style.
Assistant coach Edin Terzic will lead the team until the end of the season, when Dortmund is expected to hire a new big name. The leading candidates are American Jesse Marsch of Red Bull Salzburg, and Marco Rose of Borussia Monchengladbach.
The irony of that is Marsch was Rose’s successor at Salzburg after Rose took the Monchengladbach job. And before Rose coached Salzburg’s senior team, he led the squad that won the UEFA Youth League in 2017 — under the direction of academy head Ernst Tanner. Who, of course, is now the Union sporting director who sold Aaronson to Marsch’s Salzburg.
Then there’s Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, who excelled under Favre, and could face another American in Josh Sargent in this game. He’d likely thrive under the attack-minded Rose too. But you can’t help imagining Marsch managing Reyna, and scouting the U.S. to find Dortmund’s next American star.
Expect Tanner, U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter and many others to be watching closely — including Union prospect Quinn Sullivan, who has been on Dortmund’s radar in the past. He is one of five Union academy products who will move up to MLS next year.
Olimpia vs. Montreal Impact
Tuesday, 8 p.m. (FS2, TUDN)
Concacaf understandably needed a long time to figure out how to conclude this year’s Champions League, which stopped in March in the middle of the quarterfinals. The confederation has set up a bubble in Orlando, and will play the rest of the tournament’s games at Exploria Stadium.
For the quarterfinal series that had already started, the teams will play the second legs now. That includes Olimpia, which won 2-1 in Montreal in the first leg. Unfortunately, MLS teams including the Impact have already made their end-of-season roster moves. But Montreal still has Victor Wanyama and Samuel Piette, and a long history of Cinderella runs in the CCL.
Tigres UANL vs. New York City FC
Tuesday, 10:15 p.m. (FS1, TUDN)
Tigres won the first leg 1-0 in New York’s “home” game at Red Bull Arena. The Mexican giant will be favored to advance, not least because of superstar striker Andre-Pierre Gignac. But the neutral site will take away Tigres’ fabled home-field advantage.
Juventus vs. Atalanta
Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN+)
There’s a full slate of Serie A games Wednesday, including some really good ones. Weston McKennie is in great form for Juventus right now, with a goal or assist in three straight games. Eighth-place Atalanta is coming off a much-needed 3-0 rout of Fiorentina.
Inter Milan vs. Napoli
Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
Second place hosts third place at the San Siro in a game with a lot of attacking firepower. Inter brings Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez; Napoli brings Mexican winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who has scored in each of his last two games.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Wednesday, 3 p.m. (NBCSN, Universo)
It’s the game of the year in the Premier League, as the two teams tied for first place face off at Anfield. Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Tottenham’s Heung-Min Son both have 13 goals in 19 games this season.
Barcelona vs. Real Sociedad
Wednesday, 3 p.m. (beIN Sports, beIN Sports Espanol)
This might be the game that puts the biggest nail in Barcelona’s coffin. Sociedad is in first place in La Liga, with 23 goals scored and just six allowed in 13 games. Eighth-place Barcelona eked out a 1-0 win over Levante on Sunday with a late goal from a clearly frustrated Lionel Messi.
Atlanta United vs. Club America
Wednesday, 8 p.m. (FS2, TUDN)
After a dreadful year in MLS, Atlanta gets a shot at redemption in the Champions League. But it’s a long shot, because America won the first leg in Mexico City in a 3-0 rout.
Los Angeles FC vs. Cruz Azul
Wednesday, 10:15 p.m. (TUDN)
This was the one quarterfinal series that didn’t start in March, so it will be a one-game knockout on neutral turf. Cruz Azul is coming off an astonishing choke job in the Liga MX playoffs, blowing a 4-0 win at home over Pumas with a 4-0 road loss in the second leg. Even for a team with a long history of big-stage collapses, this was a stunner. Making matters worse, the club has been hammered by a COVID-19 outbreak, with 12 positive cases as of last Friday.
Ribadumia vs. Cadiz
Thursday, 1 p.m. (ESPN+)
The Spanish Cup, better-known as the Copa del Rey, kicks off this week with a slate of 56 games. Many of them feature lower-division teams hosting first-tier opponents from La Liga. ESPN will carry 16 contests from Tuesday through Thursday, and this is one of the more intriguing ones.
Cadiz is in the top flight for the first time in 14 years, and has stunningly risen to sixth place in the standings. The club from near Spain’s southern tip — as close to Morocco as to Seville, the nearest big city — has already beaten Real Madrid and Barcelona this season. Ribadumia is a fourth-tier team from Galicia, in northwest Spain, with a population of just over 5,000.
» READ MORE: The full Copa del Rey first round schedule