The international break is over and league football will begin tonight in some of the top leagues. Here is a look at some of the talking points and what to look out for during the action.
Thierry Henry’s anticipated debut
All eyes will be on Thierry Henry on his first game in charge of Monaco against Strasbourg following his appointment during the international break. Henry worked with Roberto Martinez and fellow assistant Graeme Jones in the Belgium setup that saw them enjoy considerable success in the World Cup in Russia. He will be the fourth 1998 World Cup winner to manage a Ligue 1 team, after Didier Deschamps, Laurent Blanc, and Patrick Vieira. Whether this is the beginning of another fairy tale in the story of his career is something we will have to wait and see.
Real Madrid to take advantage of an early kickoff
Real Madrid will welcome Levante in La Liga’s early kick-off fixture with a view of ending their goal drought. Los Blancos are going through their toughest period in over nine years after failing to win any of their last four games in all competitions. They last went five games without victory back in May of 2009. Julen Lopetegui is under immense pressure to turn things around and he will be glad that Gareth Bale has trained with the team ahead of this clash. With El Classico a week down the road, a home win will serve as a good morale booster and they should have enough to come out of this fixture on top. A win could lift them to the top of the table temporarily before the other fixtures are played.
Bayern’s opportunity to bounce back
Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich will be desperate to end their four-game winless run across all competitions when they play Wolfsburg on Saturday. Just like most teams in the Bundesliga, the hosts have a poor record against Bayern, losing in seven of the last eight competitive games against them. Although Bayern are going through a rough patch, they still hold the strongest away record in the league with two wins and one loss so far this season. It is worth noting that they have played one fewer game on the road. If the Bavarians keep up their away form, you can expect them to return to winning ways given the quality that they have.
Krzysztof Piatek’s milestone?
Juventus are yet to drop a point eight games into the Serie A season and they will be hopeful of yet another win when they play Genoa. The Old Lady have won five of their last six games without conceding, but they have a reason to worry ahead of this clash. Genoa’s Krzysztof Piatek is on fire at the moment and was on target in the international break for Poland. He has nine goals in his first eight Serie A matches and if he scores against Juventus, he will join Gabriel Batistuta and Ezio Pascutti as the only players in the history of Serie A to score in every one of the first eight league games.
Advantage Inter Milan?
Another exciting fixture will be witnessed on Sunday in the Serie A when the Milan derby takes place. Both sides are not doing too badly but Inter will have more at stake seeing that they will travel to Barcelona for their Champions League engagement during the midweek. Recent history has tended to favour the hosts whenever the sides have met in the first part of the season. To this end, six of the last eight Milan derbies in Serie A that have been won by Inter have happened in the first half of the season. Being the form side at the moment, all likelihood is that the Nerazzurri will emerge on top here.