The last of Europe’s top 5 leagues, the Bundesliga, starts on Friday as European regular season football is in full swing. Here is your look at 5 of the biggest matches across Europe this weekend.
Bayern Munich vs Hoffenheim (Friday in Munich)
The Bundesliga’s heavy favorites for a 7th straight title, Bayern Munich, start their 18/19 campaign at home against last year’s 3rd place side Hoffenheim. Hoffenheim has Julien Nagelsmann managing in his final year at the club, while Bayern’s new head man is Niko Kovac. Manuel Neuer returns in goal for a strong and experienced Bayern side Adam Szalai are among the stars for underdog Hoffenheim. With Bayern playing so well in the Super Cup final I expect their momentum to continue at home. Bayern Munich 4-2
Juventus vs Lazio (Saturday in Turin)
Cristiano Ronaldo makes his home debut for Juventus, who managed a win on match day 1, against Lazio, a side that went down in defeat in their first contest. Lazio are no pushovers, and stage fright could be a problem for Juve, but strongest team in Italy has World Cup heroes Ronaldo and Mario Mandzukic up front, and that should be enough to generate a winning total. Juventus 4-1
Napoli vs AC Milan (Saturday in Naples)
Milan starts their season full of hope and confidence, but a trip to Naples to play a Napoli side that won against Lazio last week is a tough ask on match day 2. Gonzalo Higuain debuts for Milan along with new signing Tiémoué Bakayoko in the midfield. Lorenzo Insigne scored last week for Napoli and will be their key yet again. This game should be close, but I expect a fresh Milan side to gain an inspired win. AC Milan 2-1
Benfica vs Sporting Lisbon (Saturday in Lisbon)
The first Lisbon Derby of the 18/19 Liga NOS campaign features a Benfica side that is fighting to secure a Champions League berth against a Sporting Lisbon side that has gone through a lot of turmoil after radical fans violently attacked players at the end of last season, leading an exodus of talent from one of Portugal’s big 3 sides. Star forwards Jonas and Bas Dost are likely out for both sides, but Sporting’s defence is suspect, making a draw or a Benfica win the most likely outcome. Look for talented midfielder Pizzi to lead Benfica to a win. Benfica 2-1.
Borussia Dortmund vs RB Leipzig (Sunday in Dortmund)
New coach Lucien Favre hopes to return Dortmund to a highly competitive level, while rising Leipzig can no longer be considered Germany’s underdogs after such a steep rise in recent years. Thomas Delaney and Axel Witsel are key ins for Dortmund while Leipzig will be depending on striker Timo Werner recovering from a poor World Cup campaign and returning to form. Playing at home look for Dortmund to get off to the winning start on match day 1. Dortmund 3-1