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Soccer on TV: Rivalry games in Germany, England, France, and Italy; plus MLS playoffs

The weekend in world soccer is highlighted by derby games in some of Europe’s biggest cities, and the MLS conference finals. Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.

Christian Pulisic (center) and Chelsea will host historic rival Leeds United on Saturday.
Christian Pulisic (center) and Chelsea will host historic rival Leeds United on Saturday.Read moreMichael Regan / Getty Images Pool via AP

The weekend in world soccer is highlighted by derby games in some of Europe’s biggest cities, plus the MLS playoff conference finals.

Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.

Hertha Berlin vs. Union Berlin

Friday, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

We start in Germany’s Bundesliga, where underdog Union is flying high in sixth place. Veteran striker Max Kruse has been a great addition, with six goals in nine games.

Hertha is perennially one of Germany’s worst underachievers, and is again this season. The squad includes marquee Polish forward Krzysztof Piatek, talented young Brazilian Matheus Cunha, and midfielder Matteo Guendouzi on loan from Arsenal, but is down in 13th place.

Juventus vs. Torino

Saturday, noon (ESPN+)

The Turin derby doesn’t get as much acclaim as the more famous ones in Milan, Rome and Genoa, but the Derby della Mole has plenty of history. In fact, it’s the oldest rivalry game in Italian soccer, dating to 1907. This will be the 203rd edition. Juventus, featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and American midfielder Weston McKennie, enters in fourth place in the standings. Torino is led by forward Andrea Belotti and veteran goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.

» READ MORE: Union’s Mark McKenzie, Brenden Aaronson on USMNT roster for December friendly vs. El Salvador

Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig

Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

This isn’t a city rivalry, but it is the top teams in the Bundesliga, with Chris Richards’ first-place Bayern ahead of Tyler Adams’ Leipzig by two points. Both Americans played in their clubs’ midweek Champions League games. Watch the matchup between Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, one of the world’s best pure scorers, and outstanding Leipzig centerback Dayot Upamecano.

» READ MORE: This weekend's Bundesliga schedule

Chelsea vs. Leeds United

Saturday, 3 p.m. (NBCSN, Universo)

One of English soccer’s most historic clashes returns to the spotlight. From the famed 1970 FA Cup final through decades of league meetings, a litany of stars has played in the matchup: Chelsea’s Peter Osgood and Gianfraco Zola, Leeds’ Jack Charlton and Harry Kewell, and so many more.

Since Leeds collapsed in the early 2000s, the teams have met just once, a League Cup game in 2012. When they last faced off in the Premier League, on the final day of the 2003-04 season, Christian Pulisic was five years old and Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was a Blues player. He knows what this game means to the club and its fans. Here’s hoping American TV viewers get a history lesson.

» READ MORE: This weekend's Premier League schedule

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Paris FC

Sunday, 8:45 a.m. (ESPN+)

The Paris derby in France’s women’s league comes at a fascinating time. Last month, PSG finally beat Lyon after years of trying, with star French forward Marie-Antoinette Katoto leading the way. PSG also features French winger Kadidiatou Diani and U.S. national team centerback Alana Cook.

Paris FC has veteran French forward Gaetane Thiney, former Sky Blue FC midfielder Daphne Corboz, and two current Sky Blue players on loan: forward Evelyne Viens and Penn State-bred centerback Kaleigh Riehl.

Everton vs. Manchester City

Sunday, 9:30 a.m. (NBCSN)

Manchester City has been surprisingly underwhelming in the Women’s Super League this season. Despite a star-studded squad including Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Lucy Bronze and Ellen White, City has won just three of seven games. Everton, led by French striker Valerie Gauvin, is two points above City in the standings.

Is it a coincidence that Lavelle has barely played — and that when she has, she’s often been stuck on the left wing? Probably, but manager Gareth Taylor is facing some heat over it. And Lavelle’s outstanding goal in the United States’ recent win at the Netherlands has made things only hotter.

» READ MORE: USWNT players, U.S. Soccer Federation reach deal on key parts of gender discrimination lawsuit

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Arsenal

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

You couldn’t script it better for Tottenham fans: Their team enters the latest North London Derby in first place in the Premier League, and hated rival Arsenal is flailing in 14th.

The most remarkable thing about Spurs’ surge to the standings isn’t the brilliant play of Heung-Min Son, though. It’s that the defense has given up just nine goals. Tottenham’s last three league games have been shutouts of West Brom, Manchester City and Chelsea. That streak could continue this weekend, as Arsenal has been blanked in four of its last six Premier League contests.

Columbus Crew vs. New England Revolution

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

New England did the same thing to Orlando City in the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals that it did to the Union in the quarters: score two early goals and ride on to a win. This will be the toughest test yet for Carles Gil and the Revolution, perhaps even more than facing the No. 1-seeded Union.

Columbus has advanced with a terrific mix of style and hard work, led by Darlington Nagbe, Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes. Now the Crew are one win away from the MLS Cup final, which they’d host if they get there.

» READ MORE: Union cut ties with Andrew Wooten and Warren Creavalle, and now go shopping to boost their attack

Seattle Sounders vs. Minnesota United

Monday, 9:30 p.m. (FS1, Fox Deportes)

Seattle has rampaged through the MLS playoffs. Jordan Morris, Raul Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro are firing on all cylinders, and have made the Sounders the firm favorite to repeat as champion. That is music to the ears of Kevin Molino and Minnesota, a team that loves playing the underdog. The Loons stunned Western No. 1 seed Sporting Kansas City in the semifinals Thursday. Beating the Sounders would be an even bigger upset.