We are getting closer and closer to the start of the big European soccer leagues. Some of the minor ones have already kicked off while the MLS is in full swing and a couple of the big sides are finishing up their last preseason games. Here are a few games to keep an extra eye on this weekend.
CSKA Moscow – Anzhi Makhachkala (Russian Premier League Matchday 3):
The Russian Premier is under way and we’re heading into the third week. CSKA have opened strong with two straight victories over Rubin Kazan (1-0) and Kryliya Sovetov (2-0). CSKA is one of three teams that have two straight wins. In addition to CSKA, Lokomotiv Moscow and FC Zenit also has two wins.
Anzhi has not been looking good so far, and has opened up with two straight losses. They lost on opening day against Kryliya Sovetov (1-0) and followed that up with a 3-1 loss against Lokomotiv Moscow.
Paris Saint-Germain – Olympique Lyon (Trophee des Champions):
The French season kicks off with the meeting between league champions Paris Saint-Germain and runners-up Olympique Lyon for the Trophee des Champions before regular league play starts on Aug 7. The game will be played at the Saputo Stadium in Montreal. PSG has been in North America for a preseason tour, and is coming off a 2-0 win over Manchester United. PSG has won three straight Ligue 1 titles and they will head into the new season as favorites once again.
Lyon was the big powerhouse in French soccer for many years, winning seven straight championships between 2002 – 2008. Last season they finished second in the league, the best finish since 2010. After scaling back on the economic expenditure, Lyon has struggled a bit, but last season’s finish is a big step in the right direction.
Colorado Rapids – LA Galaxy (MLS):
The LA Galaxy are pushing towards the top of the Western Conference as they have 11 games remaining in the regular season. The Galaxy sits in third in the Western Conference, four points behind leaders FC Dallas and two points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps. Los Angeles comes into the game against the Rapids on Saturday with two wins in the last three league games.
Colorado is at the bottom of the Western Conference with 24 points in 20 games. They have eight points up to the Portland Timbers that currently sits in the final playoff spot.
Galatasaray – Inter Milan (Friendly):
Galatasaray and Inter Milan have both made some big signings during the summer and now we will see how they stack up as they come together on Sunday in Istanbul. The teams share some history as current Inter manager Roberto Mancini coached Galatasaray during the 2013/2014 season and Inter is reportedly closing in on a deal for Galatasaray midfielder Felipe Melo.
German forward Lukas Podolski spent last season on loan at Inter from Arsenal and he signed a deal with Galatasaray earlier in the summer so he will be going up against his old teammates.
Fiorentina – FC Barcelona (Friendly):
As part of the International Champions Cup, Fiorentina and FC Barcelona will meet on Sunday at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence. Fiorentina lost against Paris Saint-Germain in the opening game in Toronto, but went on to beat Benfica on penalties in the second game in East Hartford. This is the second to last game for Fiorentina as they will head to London after the matchup against Barcelona for a game against Chelsea on Wednesday.
Barcelona won their first game against the LA Galaxy 2-1 in Los Angeles before losing to Manchester United 3-1 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. After they United losss, Barcelona met up with Chelsea in Landover, MD and lost that game on penalties. This is Barcelona’s final game of the preseason tournament.