The last weekend of European soccer before Christmas starts early with the league leaders in both Germany and England playing televised games Friday. Then on Saturday, Bayern Munich hopes to pick up one more spot in the standings before the Bundesliga’s holiday vacation while Manchester United begins its post-Mourinho era at Cardiff City.
Bundesliga: Second-place Borussia Monchengladbach travels to Dortmund on Friday to play the Bundesliga leaders (FS1, Univision, UniMas, 11:30 a.m. PST), who are coming off their only loss of the league season, a 2-1 upset by Dusseldorf. Monchengladbach has lost just once since October. Dortmund’s Paco Alcacer and Marco Reus, who have combined for 22 goals, rank among the league’s top scorers while Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Monchengladbach’s Florian Neuhaus are tied for second in assists with seven apiece. Anything short of a victory by Monchengladbach could push the team to third in the table heading into the break if Bayern Munich wins its road game Saturday at Eintracht Frankfurt (FS2, 9:30 a.m.) Bayern has won its last four league games while Frankfurt has won just once in its last four to fall to fifth in the standings. Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic leads the league with 12 goals in 14 games while Sebastian Haller is first in assists with eight.
EPL: A win Friday over Wolverhampton (NBCSN, Universo, noon PST) would guarantee unbeaten Liverpool the top spot in the table on Christmas Day, which has become something of bellwether in the Premier League: just three of the last 14 champions were not in first place on Dec. 25. However the last two times a team blew a Christmas lead it was Liverpool. In the other EPL game of note, Manchester United will play its first game since the sacking of manager Jose Mourinho when it travels to Cardiff City (NBC, Universo, 9:30 a.m. Saturday). Manchester United forward Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will coach the team for the rest of the season.