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Spieltag Saturday & Sunday
Premier League takes the week off to honor the late Queen Elizabeth II
Due to the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, all English Premier League matches were suspended this weekend. In fact, every English League club (all the way down to Wrexham Association Football Club in the National League)
If you were hoping for the results of the Manchester City/Tottenham fixture, you’ll have to wait for a time to be determined, but don’t fret: both teams played this week, just not against each other. That’s because this past week marked the start of tournament group play for the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League.
In the Champions League, most of the results weren’t surprising: Man City, Tottenham, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, PSG, and Dortmund all came away from their first fixtures with three points. However, in the first match on Tuesday, September 6, Dinamo Zagreb upset Chelsea at their home in Croatia one-nil. Then on Wednesday, a strong Napoli team crushed Liverpool F.C. 4-1 in Italy. While the latter isn’t as much of a surprise - Napoli is currently at the head of the table in Italy’s Serie A - it’s more evidence of an inauspicious start for the the Reds.
In the Europa League, Arsenal traveled to Switzerland to beat FC Zurich 1-2, while Manchester United fell to Real Sociedad 0-1 at Old Trafford. If you’re pulling for Dynamo Kyiv, I regret to inform you the Ukrainian club fell to Fenerbahçe S.K. in Turkey. Finally, the Belgian team Union Saint-Gilloise handed 1 FC Union Berlin the rare home loss, catapulting Union SG up to 166 in FiveThirtyEight’s global club soccer rankings. These summaries aren’t comprehensive, so if there’s another team you want us to follow, please let us know.
Europa League Loss Motivates Historic Win
After a disappointing home loss to kick off their first Europa League campaign, Union Berlin travelled to Köln (Cologne) on a mission. Union scored quickly in the opening minutes, but after 15 minutes of relentless attack Union would have been up three if not for a late offsides call that overturned a Sheraldo Becker goal and a weak penalty kick from Jordan Pefok that was easily saved. While 1. FC Köln eventually improved their play, and the legendary Köln fans never stopped chanting, Union’s 0-1 lead held until the final whistle.
Here’s where the history comes in: with SC Freiburg’s draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach, and Bayern’s draw yesterday, Union Berlin finishes a match day on top of the Bundesliga table for the first time in the team’s history. Remember, they were only promoted three years ago.
Match of the Week: Bayern v. Barça
This is an easy pick. Bayern Munich hosts FC Barcelona for the first time since Polish superstar Robert Lewandowski made the move from the German Bundesliga to the Spanish La Liga. Bayern attempted to fill the void with Sadio Mané from Liverpool, but in general the Bavarian club has relied on multiple players to score this season, as opposed to having a clear leader like Lewandowski. Barça, meanwhile, got off to a rough start with a draw on their home turf, but have since gone back to their winning ways in La Liga. You can tune in on Tuesday at 3:00 PM EDT; the match is streaming on Paramount+.