My maiden voyage went a bit more draw-happy and goalless than I had imagined, but there was still an entertaining crop of games across the continent yesterday. Hopefully today's schedule has a redemptive quality about it. If you didn't read the first edition yesterday, here's the gist of it. I'll preview five games from five different leagues across Europe. I figure I should also probably tell you where to find them if they are on American television. We'll start off with the early start on this list in the German Bundesliga.
Borussia Dortmund vs FC Ingolstadt 04 (9:30 AM ET/Fox Sports 1)
Borussia Dortmund are an elite club in Europe. They won the Champions League in 1997 and were in the final as recent as three years ago. For a while, they were also the only consistent threat to Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga table. No elite club has dealt with more roster poaching in the past several years though than Dortmund. They've shown their exceptional depth as world class players such as Mario Götze and Robert Lewandowski have taken their talents to Bayern and droves more have landed across the European landscape. Their latest test will be to thrive in life after Jürgen Klopp. New manager Thomas Tuchel follows his predecessors footsteps coming from Mainz, and has seem to settled the club and put a halt thus far to another exodus of top talent such as defender Mats Hummels and wingers Marco Reus and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Their opponent today is newly promoted Ingolstadt. The winners of the 2.Bundesliga a season ago feature US National Team defender Alfredo Morales. This should seem like a walkover for Dortmund but with this being Ingolstadt's first EVER home game in the Bundesliga, it may be closer than we think.
PREDICTION: Borussia Dortmund 2 FC Ingolstadt 1
ITALIAN SERIE A
AC Milan vs ACF Fiorentina (2:45 PM ET/beIN Sports 3)
AC Milan had a season to forget in 2014-15. The Rossoneri finished an unfathomable 10th in Serie A despite not having European commitments. Needless to say, such futility is something that both the hierarchy of the club as well as the gaggles of Milanistas around the world don't want to experience ever again. They tried to rectify this by bringing in 12 (and possibly more) new signings this offseason and strayed away from their recent trend of picking up free transfers of aging names. One of the bigger signings they brought in was Sevilla's Carlos Bacca. Bacca won the Europa League with Sevilla last year, guaranteeing him Champions League football this season, but the draw of Milan's history was too much to turn down. While Milan trots out a new striker, Fiorentina hopes an old friend can regain his health to bolster a depleted strike force. The Viola will be delighted with anything they get from New Jersey born Italian international Giuseppe Rossi. Once a wonderkid for the Azzurri, Rossi has battled injuries for the better part of this decade. He'll be vital as Fiorentina has both the Europa League as well as Serie A on their plate. The teams below them in last year's table such as Inter, Napoli, and of course Milan have their sites set on surpassing them. I think that Milan may be the better team today, but they'll end up sharing the spoils.
PREDICTION: AC Milan 1 Fiorentina 1
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Olympique de Marseille vs Troyes AC (3:00 PM ET/beIN Sports 7)
I don't particularly like anything French since Thierry Henry's double handball in 2010 World Cup Qualifying so any and everything not directly Zlatan related when it comes to French football will probably be shorter than most other previews and done with a "harrumph" or eight. Marseille parted ways with controversial yet successful manager Marcelo Bielsa right before the season started and they have dropped their first two games by identical 1-0 scorelines. They should be able to get off that slide today with freshly promoted Troyes. Last year's Ligue 2 winners have drawn their first two games at home to start 2015-16, their first season in the top flight since 2006-07. The Stade Velodrome is as hostile an atmosphere as they come though, Troyes probably will not make it three straight games securing points. The home side takes it to give new boss Míchel his first W.
PREDICTION: Marseille 2 Troyes 0
SPANISH LA LIGA
FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao (12:30 PM ET/beIN Sports)
This should be fun. Bilbao made a mockery of one of Europe's most heralded organizations last week with a 5-1 aggregate bare bottom spanking of Barcelona in the Spanish SuperCopa. Even with Messi, Suarez, and company in tow, Barca looked lost in trying to put the ball in the net. Bilbao striker had no such issue scoring four of the team's five goals over the two leg affair. Barcelona travel to Bilbao today to put that game in the rear view mirror and I think Bilbao could be in for quite the reversal of fortune. Slovakian side MŠK Žilina brought Bilbao back to Earth this past week in Europa League, coming back from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Barcelona should take notice of how the Slovakians just pressed and pressed until Bilbao couldn't hold any more water, letting the flood gates open on goalie Iago Herrerin. If Jakub Pakur and the other Willian could punish Bilbao for their sins, imagine what Suarez and Messi will do (Neymar is still out with the mumps). Barca may leak a goal or two with Gerard Pique serving a four game suspension, but Athletic is going to see just as many goals go by them today as they scored in the SuperCopa.
PREDICTION: FC Barcelona 5 Athletic Bilbao 1
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester City vs Everton (11:00 AM ET/NBC Sports Network)
As always we end the proceedings in England with the Barclays Premier League. Today's featured game is top of the table Manchester City against a resurgent Everton. City have looked the best side in the Premiership over two weeks and absolutely humiliated the defending champions Chelsea last week at home 3-0, their second straight win by that exact scoreline. Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany look reinvigorated. Sergio Aguero has the makings of another Golden Boot in the works. David Silva is his regular magic self and Raheem Sterling, much to the dismay of Liverpool supporters like myself, is fitting in perfectly to City's waves of mutilation type of football. Everton had their own 3-0 victory last week in surprise fashion over Southampton. Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku dominated the Saints whilst wearing "green" kits that seemed more appropriately sponsored by Gerber than Chang. Nevertheless, I think even the most in form of Everton players are going to be hard pressed to slow down this City team in their current form. It won't be a rout by any means as Tim Howard is looking to reclaim his place in the US Men's National Team, making each performance in England important. I just think it'll be too much City in the end and frankly unless Lukaku or Barkley unleashes a goal of the season candidate, I don't Joe Hart is getting beat in this game. City keeps the 3-0 train-a-rollin'.
PREDICTION: Manchester City 3 Everton 0
Do you want to see your favorite side in the picks? Do you not want me to pick your supported club because I'm a well-documented jinx? Either way, let me know what you think and what you want to see at both my personal Twitter @TREVORutley and the site's @B3WHYC3. I am off to go listen to Chelsea/West Brom, enjoy the day's games everybody!