The richest game in global soccer, the return of European tournaments and an MLS tournament semifinal highlight the top midweek games around the soccer world.
Here’s your viewer’s guide to how to watch all the action.
Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. (ESPN+)
The playoff final for promotion to England’s Premier League is called the richest game in soccer because of how much TV money the winner gets by going up. The BBC estimated that Fulham would earn around $177 million in revenue for returning to the top flight after a year out of it. Brentford, which has never played in the Premier League, would earn $209 million.
There’s an incentive for American soccer, too: Fulham’s back line features U.S. national team veteran Tim Ream.
Wednesday, 3 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
The UEFA Champions League and Europa league resume this week after a five-month hiatus. UEFA not only waited through the coronavirus pandemic; it also waited to restart continental competitions until after the domestic leagues finished their seasons.
So here we are, with the Europa League round of 16 second legs kicking things off. Most of the first legs were completed before the pandemic started, and for those that were, the second legs will be played at home stadiums, too. Manchester United, for example, won at Linz, 5-0, on March 12.
The two matchups that weren’t played in March — Inter Milan vs. Getafe and Sevilla vs. AS Roma — are now one-game knockouts that will be played at neutral sites in Germany. From the quarterfinals on, everything will be in a single-game knockout format in Germany, with games played at a quartet of stadiums.
The other big news is there’s been a change in English-language broadcast rights. Turner Sports opted out of its three-year deal with UEFA after just a season and a half. CBS Sports, which was to become the broadcaster next summer, jumped in and bought the rights. All games will be streamed on CBS All Access, which became well-known to soccer fans thanks to the NWSL Challenge Cup. You can get a free trial for the month of August by clicking here.
A few Champions League games will air on CBS Sports Network, but not many because of previous commitments. There will be many more games on TV next season, both on CBSSN and CBS’ main broadcast network. Spanish-language coverage remains with Univision, which airs games across its TV channels and online.
Thursday, 12:55 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access)
As mentioned, the circumstances of this game are unusual because the pandemic forced it to be moved to Germany. But once it gets going, it has the potential to be a terrific contest. Sevilla’s Ever Banega and Lucas Ocampos are dynamic playmakers, while Roma has a prolific scorer in Edin Dzeko and a rising star in Justin Kluivert — son of former Netherlands star Patrick Kluivert.
Also Thursday: Bayer Leverkusen vs. Rangers, 12:55 p.m. (Galavisión, CBS All Access); Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Olympiakos, 3 p.m. (UniMás, TUDN, CBS All Access); Basel vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, 3 p.m. (Galavisión, CBS All Access)
Thursday, 8 p.m. (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes)
Orlando, led by Nani and Chris Muller, pulled off a big upset in the MLS tournament quarterfinals by ousting Los Angeles FC. Star forward Nani assisted on the Lions’ 90th-minute equalizer after missing a penalty kick, then hit the winning kick in the shootout.
Minnesota manager Adrian Heath has reveled in playing the underdog card throughout the tournament, including when his team routed San Jose, 4-1, in the quarters. Robin Lod has scored in each of the Loons’ knockout-round games so far.