Weekend TV Preview: Will Messi Play In El Clasico?

All eyes will be on Spain as the world’s biggest club football match is played on Saturday. The first El Clasico of the season will be held at the Santiago Bernabeu as Real Madrid hosts Barcelona.  

Both sides enter the match with huge question marks. For Barca, will Lionel Messi play? The Argentine wizard has not seen the pitch since injuring his knee in the first moments of his club's match against Las Palmas on September 26. Without Messi Barcelona has hardly missed a beat and has won four straight league matches behind La Liga’s two top scorers, Neymar (11 goals) and Luis Suarez (nine goals). 

Real Madrid limps into the match after a 3-2 loss to Sevilla before the international break. Los Blancos are three points behind Barca in the league table. Another loss would put Real six points down a third of the way through the season, far from comforting prospects for Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates.

CR7, who leads the team with eight goals, will look for support from Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. Karim Benzema may also see the pitch for the first time since his arrest.  

All of the action from Madrid can be seen on beIN Sports on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. EST.  

Elsewhere in Spain, Sevilla, who owns victories over Barcelona and Real Madrid, look to move into the top half of the table when they visit Real Sociedad on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. EST on beIN Sports Connect (streaming). Atletico Madrid will look to hurdle their cross-town rivals into second place with a victory at Real Betis on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. on beIN Sports Espanol.

After El Clasico: The Best Of The Rest For The Weekend

In England, League leaders Manchester City welcome Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool to the Etihad at 12:30 p.m. EST on NBC. Chelsea look for any signs of life for their season as they host Norwich City on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. EST on NBCSN. Second place Arsenal travel to West Brom Albion also at 10:00 a.m. EST on Saturday on the USA Network.

In Italy, the game of the week sees AC Milan traveling to Turin to face Juventus. Juve are looking for their third straight league win while Milan looks to extend their five match unbeaten streak. All of the action from Turin can be seen on beIN Sports at 2:45 p.m. EST on Saturday. Inter and Fiorentina enter the weekend tied at the top of the table. Fiorentina, look for a fourth straight win when they host Empoli at 9:00 a.m. EST on Sunday on beIN Sports, while Inter welcome Frosinone to the San Siro at 2:45 p.m. EST on beIn Sports.

The Ligue 1 leaders, PSG, will take the pitch with heavy hearts as the French league resumes play after last weeks terror attacks in Paris at Lorient. PSG will sport special kits inscribed with “Je suis Paris” for the match. The game will be available on BeIN Sports Connect (streaming) on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Vive La France!!

In Germany, Chicharito and Bayer Leverkusen look to end a two game skid at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Hertha BSC and American John Brooks look to continue Hoffenheim’s miserable campaign on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Looking for Bayern? They travel to fifth place Schalke 04 on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. EST but the match is only available through Fox’s streaming service Fox Soccer 2GO, which requires a paid subscription.

Heading west, in Mexico, it is the last weekend of the regular season. Pumas have secured the number one seed for the playoffs but the rest of the seeds remain up for grabs.

In addition, five different clubs are battling it out for the last three remaining playoff spots. The weekend begins with Queretaro facing a Puebla team that needs at least a tie to ensure a playoff birth. The action from Queretaro can be seen on Univision Deportes at 8:30 p.m. EST Friday night.

America can finish as high as second but must defeat Pumas at Azteca and get help elsewhere. With a loss, America could fall as far as eighth, where they could face a rematch with the league leaders. America v. Pumas can be seen on Univision Deportes on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. EST.

The most important match of the weekend takes place in Morelia where Veracruz will look for a win to secure a playoff spot against a Monarcas team that can secure a berth with a win as well. All of the action can be seen on Azteca at 9:30 p.m. EST. 

In the States, the MLS conference final first legs start Sunday with the New York Red Bulls traveling to Columbus where the forecast high is 36 degrees. Refreshing! The match can be seen on ESPN at 5:00 p.m. EST. Out west, Portland will look to gain an advantage in the first leg against Dallas when the two face off in the Rose city at 7:30 p.m. EST on Sunday.

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