Man alive, was yesterday's action riddled with shock results or what? The club at the top of the English Premier League, Manchester City, had yet to concede in the league. They were defeated 2-1 to West Ham in stunning fashion, even if they were without two of the best in the league. In France, PSG needed a late equalizer from Edinson Cavani to escape with a 1-1 draw against Stade de Reims. Over in La Liga, Real Madrid could only muster one Karim Benzema goal past Granada, a team they slaughtered 9-1 a season past. There will be plenty more opportunities for such out of nowhere outcomes today, but I hope to avoid them to prevent looking dumber than I already do. That will be tough since I already look pretty silly cracking open a Bud Light Platinum before breakfast. But they were on sale damn it! Enjoy your supplemental football this fine Sunday.
Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen (11:30 AM ET/Fox Sports 2)
This is the premiere game of the Bundesliga weekend as Bayer Leverkusen travels to the Signal Iduna Park to face off with Borussia Dortmund. Dortmund's tumultuous 2014-15 left them out of the Champions League for the first time in five years. Leverkusen on the other hand is fresh off a 4-1 thrashing of BATE Borisov in the competition. In the Bundesliga however, Dortmund, under new coach Thomas Tuchel, have come out guns blazing. They can leapfrog Bayern Munich and return to the top of the table with a win against Leverkusen. While Bayer is reveling in a brilliant start to their UCL campaign, they've stumbled a bit out of the gate domestically scoring just three times in four games. Their last Bundesliga game was a loss was to newly promoted Darmstadt. Even with these two squads veering on different paths, this game should be a great watch with the star power available on each side. Dortmund survived the summer transfer window without significant defections for the first time in some time. That will allow them to feature the likes of captain Mats Hummels in defense, vice captain Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack, and the newly healthy duo of İlkay Gündoğan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in midfield. Leverkusen may have just one name recognizable to American fans at the moment, Mexican striker Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, but if they stick this league long enough they'll get plenty of whoa and wow moments from the likes of midfielders Hakan Calhanoglu and Cristoph Kramer. Though Leverkusen need the game more, I can't pick against the home side here as they are in better form.
PREDICTION: Borussia Dortmund 2 Bayer Leverkusen 1
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Olympique de Marseille vs Olympique Lyonnais (3:00 PM ET/beIN Sports 4)
Two of the top clubs in French football history collide today at the historic Stade Velodrome hosts the L'Olympico Derby between Marseille host Lyon. Both teams are having a rough go of it domestically to start the season, but this is a game that could be an early season turning point to cure some of those ills. Marseille pounded Dutch club Groningen in the Europa League mid-week and will be looking to secure points on a night of milestones. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda will make his 400th appearance for the club this afternoon, a number compiled quicker than usual seeing how the captain hasn't missed a league game since 2009-10. This game also marks the return of Mathieu Valbuena, albeit in the rival shirt of Lyon. The diminutive winger, whose #28 shirt was retired shortly thereafter his transfer to Dynamo Moscow in Russia, signed with the enemy this offseason. He was revered by the club for bringing home the double (Ligue 1, Coupe de Ligue) in 2009-10 followed by two more consecutive Coupes de Ligue. Those two may be legends, but this game will be dominated by the abundance of goal scoring options at both teams disposal. Lyon feature Ligue 1's second leading scorer in Nabil Fekir as well last year's leading hitman Alexandre Lacazette. Marseille have two of the top five on the scoring charts in Romain Alessandrini and Michy Batshuayi. After all that, I am going to let you all down by picking a draw here. To my credit though, said draw will provide its share of entertainment.
PREDICTION: Marseille 2 Lyon 2
ITALIAN SERIE A
Napoli vs SS Lazio (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports 7)
Lazio and Napoli have been two of the teams on the fringe of Serie A contention for the past few years. As the two Milan clubs slid down the table and Roma and Juventus sat atop it, Napoli and Lazio would duel over the final Champions League place. They renew the rivalry today at the San Paolo in Naples. Napoli has found adjusting to life after Rafa Benitez, now the manager at Real Madrid, tougher than expected. With just two points from their first three games, Napoli is hoping their 5-0 drubbing of Club Brugge in the Champions League can springboard them to more success in Serie A. They'll need repeat performances from their big win from the attacking quartet of Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon, Marek Hamsik, and Gonzalo Higuain to do so. In Lazio's case, a win could potentially propel them into Serie A's Champions League places. Lazio desperately wants to re-enter the competition next year after folding in the return leg of their qualifier against Bayer Leverkusen. Now in the Europa League, Lazio plays their European games later in the week which may provide an advantage to Napoli. In fact, that is my exact line of thinking as Lazio will feel the residual effects of dropping points deep in stoppage time out in the Ukraine.
PREDICTION: Napoli 2 Lazio 0
PORTUGUESE PRIMEIRA LIGA
FC Porto vs SL Benfica (2:15 PM ET)
The rivalry between Portugal's two most successful and supported sides, FC Porto and Benfica, is renewed today in the latest installment of O Clássico. Porto (27) and Benfica (34) have combined to win 61 of the league's 81 titles ever with only Sporting Club de Portugal (18) the only other club with more than one Primeira Liga title to their name. It is silly to say but this game could very well determine who takes home another crown this year. Porto is currently the league leaders with Benfica third (with Sporting smack dab in the middle of them unsurprisingly). Benfica's stunning loss to minnows Arouca is the only thing separating the clubs at the moment. This game will mark the first O Clássico for a man who played many an El Clasico, Porto keeper Iker Casillas. He has an impressive back line in front of him featuring Mexican international Miguel Layun, volatile Dutchman Bruno Martins Indi, and captain Maicon. They'll all need to be on point to slow a Benfica attack led by Kostas Mitroglu and Jonas. Don't discount the chances of a goal or two coming off the boot of Porto's Cristian Tello either, on loan from Barcelona. This game will be a slugfest, like it always is, but I cannot see the underdog away side coming away with any points from this one.
PREDICTION: Porto 2 Benfica 1
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester United FC vs Southampton FC (11:00 AM ET/NBC Sports)
Southampton were one of the stories of the season last year. A second straight rash of losses to the transfer millions of the big boys left them viewed as a team that would battle for survival rather than Europe. Instead, they did the latter and Ronald Koeman's Saints looked to break through into the English upper echelon. Sadly though, their lone departure this summer has had the biggest effect of them all. Morgan Schneiderlin returns to St. Mary's today wearing the colors of Manchester United, and is sure to get a salty reception even with all the work he put forth in a Southampton shirt. Although it may be big to him, the Frenchman's homecoming is probably one of the last things on the mind of the Red Devils. United have the chance to shrink the gap between them and Manchester City at the top of the table following the Sky Blues' crushing loss to West Ham. Like City though, United suffered their own humbling against PSV in the Champions League. Southampton can compound the woes of a Manchester club the same way the Hammers did and pull themselves farther away from the bottom. If Southampton is going to continue the Manchester despondence, they'll need the good Graziano Pelle to step forward. When on, the Italian striker is one of the finest the Premier League has to offer. More often than not though, much to Koeman's dismay, the well coiffed goal poacher will sleepwalk through games only to show utter surprise and incredulousness when he is unceremoniously substituted. As a Liverpool supporter, I WANT this game to end in a draw. As an "impartial observer", I THINK this game will end in a draw.
PREDICTION: Manchester United 1 Southampton 1
I hope you get to see at least one of these games as a supplement to your full day of NFL football. I for one will be glued to whatever place has the decency to throw on the USA Network so I can watch Liverpool on the big screen and stream these suckers on my computer and phone. Crack open a beer and enjoy the day's games, wherever you are!