By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Real Sociedad and Malaga’s battle for fourth place in La Liga headlines a Saturday packed with action from the world’s top leagues.
After defending their home turf from Borussia Dortmund in Champions League action on Wednesday, Malaga are now focused on qualifying for next season’s edition of the competition in a trip to face Sociedad. Real Sociedad’s only loss of 2013 was against Real Madrid, and the club has gone on an 11-match unbeaten streak to take over the prized fourth position in La Liga. With a trip to Germany in the near future, how will Manuel Pellegrini’s side play in a league match it cannot afford to lose?
This Soccer Saturday will kick off with a match between two clubs fighting to keep their place in the Premier League next season. Although Southampton are winners of back-to-back matches against storied clubs Liverpool and Chelsea, the 12th-place Saints are still in danger of relegation. A loss to last-place Reading on Saturday could drop them as far as 17th-place, the last spot above the drop zone in the league table. Reading have lost six straight matches in the Premier League, but there is still hope for former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins’s new squad to stay in the league. A win over the club Adkins started the season with would do wonders for the Royals’ push to stay afloat.
Another morning match to keep your eye on will be Bayern Munich’s visit to Eintracht Frankfurt. Bayern are probably the most in-form team on the planet right now, coming off of a 2-0 victory over Italian leaders Juventus and a 9-2 win over European hopeful Hamburg. If Bayern wins their 11th straight league match on Saturday, they will clinch the Bundesliga title. Eintracht, Bayern’s nearest rivals in this season’s edition of the Bundesliga, are neck-and-neck with Schalke 04 for Germany’s last spot in the Champions League. A positive result against the dominant league-leaders would do more than just extend the Bundesliga race another week—it could push newly promoted Eintracht into the world’s biggest club competition.
Barcelona and Real Madrid will most likely elect to rest some starters in their La Liga matches on Saturday as they prepare for the return legs of their respective Champions League quarterfinals. However, many around the world will tune in to Barcelona’s home match with Mallorca to see how the club plays without superstar forward Lionel Messi. Some say that Barcelona relies too much on Messi, who was injured in Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Paris Saint-Germain. With Messi’s status for next Wednesday’s return leg still in doubt, a match against relegation favorite Mallorca could give the Catalans a chance to prove their worth without Messi.
Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna will be the key matchup in a busy Saturday night in Liga MX. Santos are coming off a 1-0 road leg victory over the Seattle Sounders in CONCACAF Champions League action. But before they can return home for the second leg against the Sounders, Los Guerreros visit a Xolos squad looking to put a winless March behind them. Tijuana will not be able to repeat their title-winning performance from the Apertura portion of 2012-13, but they can still make some noise in the title race by holding off Santos on Saturday night.
If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):
7:45am – ESPN2 – Reading vs. Southampton
9:30am – GolTV – Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Bayern Munich
10am – FoxSoccer2Go – Norwich City vs. Swansea City
10am – FoxSoccer2Go – Stoke City vs. Aston Villa
10am – Fox Soccer Channel – West Bromwich Albion vs. Arsenal
10am – beIN Sport en Español – Real Sociedad vs. Málaga
12pm – beIN Sport en Español – Juventus vs. Pescara
12pm – beIN Sport – Real Madrid vs. Levante
12:30pm – GolTV – Hamburger SV vs. Freiburg
4pm – beIN Sport – Barcelona vs. Mallorca
7pm – UniMás – América vs. Puebla
7pm – Univision Deportes – Querétaro vs. Cruz Azul
9pm – Univision Deportes – Pachuca vs. Pumas UNAM
9pm – UniMás – Tigres UANL vs. León
11pm – Univision Deportes – Atlas vs. Morelia
11:55pm – Galavision – Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna