The men’s UEFA Champions League semifinals take center stage this week, and on the domestic scene, there are games in the U.S. and Canada.
Here’s your viewer’s guide to the top action to watch.
RB Leipzig vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Tuesday, 3 p.m. (Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access; coverage starts at 2 p.m.)
Leipzig reached the Champions League semifinals thanks to New York native Tyler Adams, whose late goal in the quarterfinal win over Atlético Madrid was one of the biggest plays by an American in Europe. Paris Saint-Germain beat Italy’s Atalanta, the Champions League’s Cinderella, in even more dramatic fashion: a 90th-minute equalizer and a 93rd-minute winner.
PSG should be favored here, with Kylan Mbappé and Neymar leading the attack. But Leipzig’s dynamic pressing system is so powerful that they have a fair chance — especially with Paris starting goalkeeper Keylor Navas out injured. Watch out for Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkuku, who grew up in PSG’s academy.
By the way, the qualifying playoffs for the 2020-21 Champions League also start Tuesday. Unfortunately they won’t be broadcast in the U.S., but it’s a reminder of how life would be without the pandemic.
Pacific FC vs. York 9 FC
Tuesday, 8 p.m. (Fox Sports 2, coverage starts at 7:45 p.m.)
The Canadian Premier League makes its U.S. TV debut this week, and if you haven’t heard of it yet, now’s as good a time as any to learn about it. It launched last year as a way to get Canadian players more game action when they couldn’t crack MLS or European rosters, and to get professional soccer into Canadian cities outside the big three with MLS teams (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver).
There are eight teams, and they’ve all traveled to Prince Edward Island — almost as far east as Canada goes — for a summer season. Pacific FC, based in Victoria, B.C., features Vancouver Whitecaps academy product Marco Bustos. York, based in northern Toronto, has former Montreal Impact and Queens Park Rangers winger Michael Petrasso.
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Tuesday, 8 p.m. (ESPN+)
Major League Soccer’s Canadian teams resume playing this week, but because of U.S.-Canada border restrictions, they can only play each other. The league drew up a six-game round-robin format so that the three teams — the Montreal Impact are the third — will play the same number of games as MLS’ U.S. clubs.
The winner of the MLS round-robin will play the winner of the Canadian Premier League’s bubble tournament for a place in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.
Lyon vs. Bayern Munich
Wednesday, 3 p.m. (Univision, TUDN, CBS All Access; coverage starts at 2 p.m.)
The soccer world is still reverberating from the aftershocks of Bayern’s historic 8-2 destruction of Barcelona in the quarterfinals. Lyon caused its own share of tremors a day later with an upset of Manchester City that was arguably even bigger than its toppling of Lyon in the round of 16.
Bayern is undoubtedly the favorite to win the Champions League now, with Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller pounding in goals. Can Lyon stun the world again and stop them?
New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC
Thursday, 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
The Hudson River Derby has seen its share of strange moments over the years, and this one will join them in the history books: a game with no fans played in one of the first parts of the country to get hit by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s another reminder of how much of a risk MLS is taking by playing games in home markets, even if it’s doing everything it can to reduce travel times and distances.