The weekend in global soccer is highlighted by star-studded matchups in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals and Europa League semifinals.
Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.
Friday, 3 p.m. (Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access)
It’s the kind of Champions League matchup that fans dream of, with extra drama because it’s a win-or-go-home knockout game. Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann lead Barcelona against Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Müller and Alphonso Davies.
Messi was dazzling in Barcelona’s win Saturday over Napoli that clinched a quarterfinal berth. Bayern has rampaged through the tournament this season with a tournament-high 31 goals — including seven against Chelsea in the round of 16 — and is many observers’ favorite to win it all. Let’s hope the game delivers.
Saturday, 3 p.m. (Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access)
Raheem Sterling and Manchester City are the clear favorites here, but Lyon isn’t to be overlooked. The French club upset Italian giant Juventus in the round of 16 with stout defending and an early penalty-kick goal from Memphis Depay. That means Lyon still has a shot to become the first club to win the men’s and women’s Champions League titles in the same year. Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Barcelona also have that opportunity this year.
(For the record, there’s no U.S. broadcaster yet for the women’s Champions League tournament that starts Aug. 21.)
Sunday, 3 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
Both of these teams posted narrow 1-0 wins in the quarterfinals: Sevilla over England’s Wolverhampton with an 88th-minute Lucas Ocampos goal, and Manchester United over Denmark’s FC Köbenhavn with a 95th-minute Bruno Fernandes penalty kick. Yes, United got taken to extra time after being unable to score in regulation. The bookies have United as the favorite, but don’t be surprised if Sevilla makes this game close — or wins it.
Sunday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
These teams meet for the second time in five days as they make up games lost by not participating in Major League Soccer’s summer tournament. Nashville won the first of them, 1-0, Thursday night with a goal from former Union forward David Accam. The big headline, though, was Dallas’ letting fans attend even though coronavirus cases continue to rise in the area. A few of those fans booed players who knelt during the national anthem, and one fan threw a bottle on the field.
“We got fans booing us in our own stadium. How disgraceful is that?” said young Dallas star Reggie Cannon, who is Black. He added that players from both teams asked before the game that the anthem not be played, as was the case at the tournament.
“We had someone chanting ‘USA’ when they don’t understand what kneeling means,” Cannon continued. “They can’t see the reason; they just think we’re the ignorant ones. It’s incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry for having this tone, but you have to call it for what it is.”
Cannon tried to be optimistic, but it wasn’t easy. He said he wasn’t surprised it happened, and “that should tell you something.”
“It hurts me because I love our fans; I love this club,” he said. “I want to see the support that the league has given us from our fans. … Again, we are unified in this response and everyone stands together: Black, white, even orange.”
Monday, 3 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
Inter looked very good in its 2-1 quarterfinal win over Bayer Leverkusen, especially star striker Romelu Lukaku. Shakhtar also looked good in a 4-1 rout of FC Basel, though that was against a lesser opponent. If Inter wins, it will reach a European tournament final for the first time since winning the Champions League a decade ago. The Europa League isn’t that, of course, but it would still be a boost for one of Italy’s traditional powers.