Hertha Berlin BSC vs FC Bayern Munich (9:30 AM ET/Fox Sports 1)
Well, I hate to bait and switch you on the first pick, but John Brooks' reference in the opening paragraph is a bit of a misleading one. Yes, Brooks does play for Hertha Berlin. But play is a relative term as the man who scored the winner against Ghana in 2014 has only made 3 starts for the club in the season's first trimester. But Hertha actually have some weapons at their disposal as they try as many have thus far to be the first team to take all three points off the mighty Bayern Munich. The fourth placed Berlin side have the highest non-Bayern/Dortmund scorer in their midst in former Chelsea man Salomon Kalou. It may never be a great time to play Bayern Munich, but if there was ever going to be a "best" time it would probably be now. The Bavarian juggernauts are coming off a mid-week Champions League game in which they played their full compliment of starters. Now rumors are swirling as to whether or notmanager Pep Guardiola will take his talents to the blue side of Manchester at season's end. They are tired and distracted, but are they ripe for the picking? I don't believe so. They may look shakier than they normally do in the Bundesliga, but Bayern will get past Hertha with little resistance.
PREDICTION: Bayern Munich 3 Hertha Berlin 1
SPANISH LA LIGA
FC Barcelona vs Real Sociedad SAD (10:00 AM ET/beIN Sports)
Barcelona is flying high right now in La Liga following their 4-0 drubbing of Real Madrid in El Clasico. They are also coming off a midweek Champions League dismantling of Roma 6-1. With Lionel Messi back, the attacking hydra at the front of the Barca express is spitting hot fire. However, they mustn't fall into the trap of complacency as they host Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou. Sociedad got a huge win over Sevilla in their first game since sacking David Moyes during the international break. New manager Eusebio Sacristan is hoping that since he took down one European champion (Sevilla won last year's Europa League) he can beat the other as an encore. Now having used their big guns against Roma, Barca may sit out several key players in this game. Even with that, I don't think Sociedad has the firepower to keep up with the might Blaugrana. It won't be a typical top versus bottom laugher in La Liga as Sociedad's defense is actually pretty good, but the MSN connection breathing fire down their spine constantly will just be too much for the relegation battlers to withstand.
PREDICTION: Barcelona 3 Real Sociedad 0
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Leicester City FC vs Manchester United FC (12:30 PM ET/NBC)
If you would have said at the start of the season that this tie between Leicester and Manchester United would be a battle of one versus two in the table, you would have been institutionalized. But you would have been sitting there in your padded cell as a correct man as top of the table Leicester City take on second placed Manchester United this afternoon at the King Power Stadium. Leicester City were rock bottom of the table at this point last year, and stayed their until their great relegation escape of the final month and a half. But under Claudio Ranieri this season, the Foxes have been easily the funnest team in England to watch. With Jamie Vardy on the cusp of Premier League history (the Englishman has scored in a record tying 10 straight EPL games), Leicester look to prove that they aren't flukes today against the most dominant side in Premier League history. I say history because while Man U is second currently, they have been anything but dominant thus far in 2015. This is not your father's, or even your older brother's, Manchester United. Louis Van Gaal has a team that molded a reputation over the years with brilliant attacking football playing like a side who is content with a point each week. They'll need more than that against the division's highest scoring club. I was going to write a bit more about this, but hell I'm just going to come out with it. I'm picking the Foxes to win this one! Jamie Vardy AND Riyad Mahrez score and the clock doesn't strike midnight just yet.
PREDICTION: Leicester City 2 Manchester United 1
Hope you enjoy this trio of games today if not for yourself but for me. You can go right from these games to college football, including Ohio State vs Michigan, and be merry all day this holiday season. If you want to see any particular games picked tomorrow or in the future, you can tweet me @TREVORutley or the site @B3WHYC3. Until tomorrow, have at it!