This week's edition is longer than usual, because there are a lot of big games worth highlighting. Enjoy.
Bayern Munich at Borussia Mönchengladbach
2:30 p.m. Friday (GolTV)
The Bundesliga returns from its winter break with a game featuring the reigning European champions. But as has been the case for over a year now, the vast majority of pay-TV subscribers in the United States won't be able to see the game, or any other in what might just be Europe's most entertaining domestic league.
As far as I know, DirecTV, Time Warner and Cox are the only big national providers that carry GolTV in English. Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse carry it in Spanish. Dish Network has a German channel that includes Sky Deutschland's coverage, but it costs $30 a month.
If you have some way to watch games, give thanks. If you don't, enjoy shouting at the wind until Fox gains the rights in 2015.
Coventry City at Arsenal
2:45 p.m. Friday (Fox Sports 1)
The fourth round of the FA Cup kicks off with Arsenal, England’s best team, hosting a former Premier League stalwart. Coventry has fallen on tough times in recent years, and were docked 10 points at the start of the season due to bankruptcy. But they’ve rebounded with a prolific attack, led by 15-goal scorer Leon Clarke.
Santos at Querétaro
8:25 p.m. Friday (Azteca America, ESPN Deportes)
If you follow MLS beyond the Union, you’ve probably seen Querétaro in the news lately. The Mexican club baited the Vancouver Whitecaps into selling Camilo Sanvezzo, last year’s Golden Boot winner, for a transfer fee rumored to be around $2 million.
It may sound like good business, but in reality it was a fiasco. The deal happened because the Brazilian striker walked out on Vancouver in early January, and was pictured training at Querétaro without the Whitecaps’ knowledge or consent. That led to a hailstorm of bad PR for the player, his agent, both clubs, and Major League Soccer’s single-entity contract structure.
This game could be Camilo’s first with his new club. But for all the buzz his move generated, it's worth noting that the biggest stars on the field will be wearing Santos green. Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero form one of Liga MX's most dangerous attacking tandems.
A reminder that Azteca America is available over the air in Philadelphia. It's WZPA digital channel 33.7. You'll probably need an outdoor antenna to pick up the signal, because it's a low-power station. But if you have the setup right, you should be able to tune in.
If you're a Comcast subscriber, it's on channel 268. If you have DirecTV, it's part of the local channel pack. Verizon FiOS and Dish Network don't carry the local channel, though Dish does carry the national channel in its Spanish package.
Morelia at Tijuana
10:25 p.m. Friday (Azteca America, ESPN Deportes)
It’s another chance to watch Hérculez Gómez, Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo and the rest of Tijuana’s American legion. Morelia’s squad includes Panama national team defender Felipe Baloy and Uruguay national team midfielder Egidio Arévalo Rios, who played last year for the Chicago Fire.
By the way, you have probably noticed that Liga MX broadcasts in the United States are spread across four networks: Univision, Telemundo and the Azteca America/ESPN Deportes partnership. That's because each Mexican team sells its own TV rights for home games. Here's a breakdown of which rights are held by which network
Univision: América, Atlante, Atlas, Chiapas, Chivas, Cruz Azul, Monterrey, Pachuca, Pumas, Santos, Tigres, Toluca, Veracruz
Azteca America/ESPN Deportes: Morelia, Puebla, Querétaro, Tijuana
Liverpool at Bournemouth
7:45 a.m. Saturday (Fox Sports 1)
The FA Cup is at its best when it sends Goliath on the road to face David. Bournemouth, led by Lewis Grabban, is fighting for survival in the lower half of England’s second division. But their 12,000-seat stadium will be in the spotlight as the mighty Reds come calling.
Liverpool take the FA Cup seriously, especially because they haven’t won a trophy since 2005. Bournemouth will hope to wake up the echoes of their greatest FA Cup upset, a win over Manchester United 30 years ago.
Kidderminster at Sunderland
10:00 a.m. Saturday (Fox Sports 1)
Sunderland are riding high after knocking Manchester United out of the League Cup on Wednesday. Now Jozy Altidore and company turn to the FA Cup, as the Black Cats welcome a team from the fifth-tier Conference Premier division. It’s a dream come true for Joe Lolley and the Harriers, who will have 3,700 fans cheering them on at the Stadium of Light.
Sochaux at Ajaccio
2:00 p.m. Saturday (Univision Deportes)
I hadn’t originally planned to include this game, but a hat tip to the Philly Soccer page for catching it. Sochaux midfielder and captain Vincent Nogueira is one of the Union’s big offseason targets, and negotiations have been underway for a while to complete a move.
PSP’s Dan Walsh reported Thursday afternoon that the Union are “nearing deals” for Nogueira and Maurice Edu, both of whom would be Designated Players. ESPN’s Taylor Twellman reported soon thereafter that Union CEO Nick Sakewicz was headed to Stoke to finish the latter transaction.
Nogueira, 26, is out of contract at the end of the season. Sochaux may want him to stay until then, not least because they’re in a fight to avoid relegation. The Union, of course, would want him now.
As the transfer deadline is January 31, this would be the only chance for Union fans to scout Nogueira before a potential move. But it’s worth noting that he missed last Saturday’s game against Montpellier due to an ankle injury.
I know Univision Deportes isn’t on Comcast, but it is on Verizon FiOS, DirecTV and Dish Network. If you have access to the channel, it’s worth checking out to see if Nogueira plays.
Juventus at Lazio
2:40 p.m. Saturday (beIN Sport)
Juventus have been steamrolling through Serie A this season, and now have an eight-point lead in first place. That’s thanks mainly to the prolific forward tandem of Arturo Vidal and Carlos Tévez, who have combined for 21 goals this season. Lazio are stuck in ninth place, but have an all-time great in German forward Miroslav Klose.
Atlético Madrid at Rayo Vallecano
12:55 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport)
With no NFL action this Sunday, you’ll have plenty of time to watch a doubleheader featuring Spain’s two best teams. Atlético is tied with Barcelona atop La Liga with 51 points through 20 games. Los Colchoneros, led by Diego Costa, travel across town this weekend to face a Vallecano squad led by Mexican forward Nery Castillo.
Malaga at Barcelona
2:55 p.m. Sunday (beIN Sport)
Barcelona’s biggest news lately has been off the field. Club president Sandro Rosell resigned Thursday amid an investigation into the money behind the team’s big-money purchase of Brazilian star Neymar last summer. Just how much money went to Rosell, Neymar and others is under major scrutiny.
This game will prove a welcome distraction for blaugrana fans, as the spotlight shifts from the courtroom to Camp Nou. With Lionel Messi back at full health, there will be plenty to talk about on the field as well as off it.
Everton at Liverpool
3:00 p.m. Tuesday (NBCSN)
After a break for the FA Cup, the Premier League resumes with one of England’s signature rivalries. U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard leads the Toffees on the short trip across Stanley Park to Anfield, where red-hot striker Luis Suárez will be waiting.
Manchester City at Tottenham Hotspur
2:45 p.m. Wednesday (NBCSN)
This will be a big test for a City team that hasn’t always done well on the road this season. Spurs have started to find their form under new manager Tim Sherwood, thanks to revitalized striker Emmanuel Adebayor. But they don’t have the kind of true leader that Yaya Touré is for City. That could make the difference in the end.