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2020-2021 Soccer Season: The Prem, La Liga, Bundesliga, Champions League, World Cup Qualifiers and All The Rest


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The European leagues are off and running.  Well, perhaps you can't say that about Manchester United, who are continuing their limp toward mediocrity.   

Bundesliga:  Where young U.S. players cut their teeth.  If there is going to be a U.S. Golden Generation in time for World Cup 2026, you can thank the Germans.  Watch for break out seasons from 17 year old Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and 21 year old Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig). 

The Prem:  Liverpool, Leicester City, and a surprising good start from perennial also ran, Everton(!), who finally decided to buy some good players.  Watch out for the Merseyside Derby on Oct. 17.  U.S wunderkind Christian Pulisic takes over the number 10 jersey at Chelsea (oh, did I mention he used to play for a German team).  25 year old U.S. goalkeeper Zack Steffen cracks the first team at Manchester City (you guessed it, his pro career started in Germany).     

La Liga:  Spanish drama erupted over the summer as Messi sought to leave Barca.  Will some team, any team, finally crack the Barcelona Real Madrid duopoly?  In further Barca news, it appears U.S. 19 year old Sergino Dest is heading to Camp Nou (as far as I know he has no German ties, but he is Dutch Surinamese-American)     

Serie A:  Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus, Juventus...or?  oh yeah, Juventus signed young American Weston McKennie (from a German team, no less).

Ligue 1:  PSG already has 2 losses.  I'm still not sure if anyone cares.

Up next, Champions League Group Stage, World Cup qualifiers occurring world wide, and every team trying to stay corona-free.

Finally, our very own pathetic MLS has-been DC United...suck.  Even front office staff are saying the games are unwatchable.  

 

 

 

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Everton actually started their rebuilding process by hiring a good manger in Carlo Ancelotti.  With a partial owner willing to splash cash on a top manager, it signaled that Everton means business.  Good manager + cash + decent scouting brought in a whole new mid-field to Everton.  Ancelotti also brought out the best in their front players.  Nevertheless, Roger Bennett made fun of their shirt sponsor, Cazoo.  He said it meant cock in Italian.  I tried to look it up, I think cock in Italian is Cazzo.  Liverpool still looks like the team to beat.  Man City's defense is as shoddy as ever so they may stay at #2.  Chelsea and United are inconsistent.  Arsenal may even jump over the latter two.  Leicester looks good so far but they don't have the squad depth.

Barcelona didn't rebuild, in fact, they just dumped a bunch of their aging overpaid players, including one Luis Suarez, who joined Atletico Madrid and in his first 20 minutes made 1 assist and scored 2 goals.  With no money, Barca couldn't sign anyone so they hired a new manager who brought in a new formation that doesn't seem to "depend" on Messi.  So Barca had the talent, they were just sitting on the bench while the old celebrated players got their asses whooped by Bayern in the Champions League last season to the tune of 8-2.  Real Madrid won last year because of dodgy refereeing.  They may do it again this year because Real made no signins to improve the team, and they already benefitted from some dodgy calls in the game vs. Real Betis.

While Bayern Munich and PSG will easily win their respective leagues, it's not as certain for Juve to retain their title.  

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Champions League Draw

Group A 
#1 Bayern Munich
#2 Atletico Madrid

FC Salzburg
Lokomotiv Moscow

Group B (Inter may give Real trouble)
Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk
Inter Milan
Borussia Monchengladbach

Group C (City easily wins)
FC Porto
#1 Manchester City
Olympiakos
Marseille

Group D (Atlanta v. Liverpool should fun to watch)
#1 Liverpool
Ajax
#2 Atalanta
FC Midtjylland

Group E (evenly matched top 2)
Sevilla FC
Chelsea

Krasnodar
Rennes

Group F (wimpy wimpy wimpy)
Zenit St Petersburg
#1 Borussia Dortmund
#2 Lazio
Club Brugge

Group G (Penaldo v. Messi!)
Juventus
Barcelona

Dynamo Kiev
Ferencvaros

Group H (This is kinda group of death)
#1 Paris Saint-Germain
Manchester United
RB Leipzig
Istanbul Basaksehir

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Champions League Round of 16 Draw

16 February & 10 March
RB Leipzig (GER) vs Liverpool (ENG)
Barcelona (ESP) vs PSG (FRA)

17 February & 9 March
Porto (POR) vs Juventus (ITA)
Sevilla (ESP) vs Borussia Dortmund (GER)

23 February & 17 March
Lazio (ITA) vs Bayern (GER)
Atlético (ESP) vs Chelsea (ENG)

24 February & 16 March
Borussia Mönchengladbach (GER) vs Manchester City (ENG)
Atalanta (ITA) vs Real Madrid (ESP)

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Champions League knockout round kicks off this week:

Feb. 16

RB Leipzig v. Liverpool 3pm

Barcelona v. PSG 3pm

Feb. 17

Sevilla v. Dortmund 3pm

Porto v. Juventus 3pm

Feb. 23

Atletico Madrid v. Chelsea 3pm

Lazio v. Bayern 3pm

Feb. 24

Atalanta v. Real Madrid 3pm

Monchengladbach v.  Manchester City 3pm

Streaming via CBS All Access ($5.99 per monthly is totally worth it for watching Champions League)

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Champions League Quarterfinal draw and bracket:

QUARTERFINALS

Manchester City vs. Borussia Dortmund
FC Porto vs. Chelsea
Bayern Munich vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool

SEMIFINALS

Bayern Munich or Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund
Real Madrid or Liverpool vs. FC Porto or Chelsea

The quarterfinal first legs will be played on April 6/7 with the returns on April 13/14, and the first semifinals will be on April 27/28 with second legs to take place on May 4/5. The final will be played in the Turkish city of Istanbul on May 29.

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Assuming the Olympics goes on as planned:

Men's Olympic draw (this is primarily a U-23 tournament, because FIFA doesn't want it competing with the World Cup.  The USA did not qualify...again)

Group A

Japan, South Africa, Mexico, France

Group B

New Zealand, South Korea, Honduras, Romania

Group C

Egypt, Spain, Argentina, Australia

Group D

Brazil, Germany, Ivory Coast, Saudi Arabia

Women's Olympic draw (This is a full squad tournament. The USA is a favorite for a Gold Medal.  Other than Germany (#2) and France (#4) not qualifying this is a stacked tournament) 

Group E

Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Chile

Group F

China, Brazil, Zambia, Netherlands

Group G

Sweden, United States, Australia, New Zealand

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