A meeting of two of the U.S. national team’s top prospects in the Champions League is the biggest game on the international soccer calendar this week. But if you’re hoping for a meeting of the sport’s two biggest stars, you might not get it.
Read on to find out why in your guide to this week’s top action to watch. And remember that Europe set its clocks back an hour this past weekend, meaning kickoff times over here are an hour later than usual for now.
Tuesday, 1:55 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
Last week, Shakhtar shocked the world with an upset win at Real Madrid. Even more surprisingly, it came with Shakhtar playing mostly reserves after a coronavirus outbreak within the team. Now the Ukrainian powerhouse hosts Group B’s other giant. Inter was also surprised in its opening game, needing a late Romelu Lukaku goal just to get a 2-2 tie at home against Borussia Mönchengladbach. If Shakhtar wins this game, it could blow the group wide open — and Inter, a preseason favorite to win it all, could be on course to crash out.
Tuesday, 4 p.m. (CBS All Access, TUDN.com)
If we weren’t in a pandemic, the scene in Marseille would be a can’t-miss spectacle. The city is France’s most historic soccer hotbed, and the Stade Vélodrome is a cauldron of noise and color. Reality means the game will have no fans present due to a 9 p.m. curfew imposed on Marseille and other cities by the French government. City is the favorite here, led by stars Raheem Sterling, Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Agüero. But they looked surprisingly bad in a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Saturday. Marseille’s players to watch include veteran French wingers Florian Thauvin and Dimitri Payet and Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman.
A reminder that during the late-afternoon Champions League broadcast window, when six games are played simultaneously, CBS Sports Network airs a whip-around show covering all the big plays as they happen.
Tuesday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
It’s time for Union fans to start scouting potential playoff opponents, and these teams are right in the mix for it. Montreal and Nashville are both in contention to make the Eastern Conference play-in games, the winners of which will face the top two seeds. Nashville centerback Walker Zimmerman is a leading contender for MLS Defender of the Year. Romell Quioto is the Impact’s leading scorer with seven goals.
Wednesday, 1:55 p.m. (Galavisión, CBS All Access)
Chelsea’s front line of Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz should be one of Europe’s most dynamic on paper. But the Blues have played two straight scoreless draws, in the Champions League against Sevilla last Wednesday then at Manchester United on Sunday. This should be a chance to get the attack in gear. Krasnodar has a bunch of players out injured, including veteran French midfielder Rémy Cabella.
Wednesday, 4 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
Here’s the game that everyone has been waiting for ever since the draw came out. Unfortunately, it might not live up to the hype. Either Juventus has intentionally been playing coy about Cristiano Ronaldo’s health status, or he still has COVID-19 and won’t play — which means we’ll miss out on Ronaldo clashing with Lionel Messi. Juve should have Paulo Dybala and Juan Cuadrado, though, and American midfielder Weston McKennie has returned to health. That means he’ll be able to face fellow U.S. phenom Sergiño Dest.
Barcelona will have its usual array of stars including Lionel Messi, Antonie Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Ansu Fati. But as Saturday’s dispiriting 3-1 loss to Real Madrid showed, the talent doesn’t fit together, and there’s only so much manager Ronald Koeman can do to fix it. Dest was arguably Barça’s best player in the game, and was sent to a postgame TV interview despite not speaking Spanish. The interviewer didn’t know until after the cameras were rolling.
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
You can be sure that the Union will be keeping track of this game while facing the Chicago Fire at Subaru Park at the same time. New York snapped a three-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over Montreal on Saturday that pushed the Pigeons into fifth place, two points behind fourth-place Orlando. Toronto will be looking to rebound from the 5-0 pounding the Union gave them.
New York has played before at Toronto’s temporary home at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. The club moved a playoff game there from Yankee Stadium in 2017 due to a scheduling conflict at Yankee Stadium.
Thursday, 4 p.m. (UniMás, CBS All Access)
This is the best of the day’s 24 Europa League games. Sociedad, led by former Manchester City star David Silva, is atop La Liga after seven games. Napoli, with forwards Dries Mertens and Victor Osimhen, is second in Serie A through five games. There might even be an appearance from Mexican winger Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who has four goals in five appearances this year.
If you want to watch all of Thursday’s action, Univision’s very good whip-around show will start at around 1:30 p.m. for the 1:55 p.m. kickoffs, and run until all the 4 p.m. games are over.