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Soccer

Soccer on TV: Bayern Munich faces a crucial early-season test

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski challenges Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender during a Nov. 30 game at Allianz Arena.
Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski challenges Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender during a Nov. 30 game at Allianz Arena.
(Sebastian Widmann / Bongarts / Getty Images)

Bayern Munich faces a crucial early season test on the road against Borussia Mönchengladbach in the German Bundesliga, while in the Premier League more than local bragging rights will be on the line in the year’s first meeting between Premier League neighbors Manchester City and Manchester United, highlighting the weekend’s top televised soccer matches from Europe’s top leagues.

Bundesliga: It’s been a strange season for Bayern Munich (7-3-3), which has seen Robert Lewandowski score 27 goals in 21 games in all competition while the team has struggled to gain traction, sacking coach Niko Kovac last month and dropping to fourth in the league table. That leaves the seven-time defending German champions needing at least a draw Saturday when it travels to league-leading Borussia Mönchengladbach (9-1-3) on Saturday (FS1, TUDN, UniMas, 6:30 a.m. PT). A loss would drop Bayern seven points back of Mönchengladbach and could see it fall as far as seventh in the standings. Bayern’s six losses (in 16 matches) to Mönchengladbach since 2011 are the most it has suffered against any league opponent.

EPL: The first Manchester Derby of the season Saturday (NBCSN, Telemundo, 9:30 a.m. PT) finds both teams in a need of a win — City (10-3-2) to keep unbeaten Liverpool within reach and United (5-4-6) to stay in the hunt for a European tournament invitation. Liverpool’s lead in the EPL race is so big that United, in sixth, is actually closer to the relegation zone than it is to the top of the table. Third-place City, meanwhile, can move past surprising Leicester City (11-2-2) and into second on goal differential with a win over United and an unlikely Leicester loss at Aston Villa (4-3-2) on Sunday (NBCSN, 6 a.m. PT). Leicester has won its last eight games, allowing just three goals over that span.


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