World Cup


Five football matches you should not miss today

From a heated Athens derby to a series of big-name Serie A clashes, here are five games to look out for this Sunday.

Freiburg v Union Berlin
Freiburg host Union Berlin in a battle for who can secure second place ahead of the World Cup break [Thomas Kienzle / AFP]

It is just one week from the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the last round of matches being played this weekend before the world’s top leagues break for the tournament.

As we look forward to a busy day of final fixtures, we pick out the top five matches to keep an eye on today:

Atalanta v Inter Milan

Where: Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo

When: 11:30am (11:00 GMT)

  • Atalanta’s current form: LLWLWD
  • Inter Milan’s current form: WLLWWW

Inter will make the short journey to Bergamo on the back of a 6-1 drubbing of Bologna midweek.

Although level on points, Inter will fancy their chances, having not lost to Atalanta in seven games. Atalanta have recently hit a rough patch of form, losing three of their last four Serie A fixtures.

Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku will miss today’s game with a thigh injury. However, with Lautaro Martínez currently the second top scorer in Serie A and Dzeko, Dimarco, and Çalhanoğlu scoring on Wednesday, Inter will feel confident in their attacking options.

dimarco Inter
Federico Dimarco scored a brace against Bologna midweek [MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP]

SC Freiburg v FC Union Berlin

Where: Europa Park Stadion, Freiburg

When: 4:30pm (16:30 GMT)

  • SC Freiburg’s current form: LWDWDW
  • FC Union Berlin’s current form: DLWWWL

These two teams have exceeded expectations so far this season.

Union Berlin have been impressive at home, picking up huge wins against Borussia Dortmund and drawing with league leaders Bayern Munich. On the road, however, they have endured some terrible performances, including a 5-0 loss to Bayer Leverkusen last week.

Freiburg will fancy their chances today despite losing away to a resurgent RB Leipzig midweek. They recently topped their Europa League group, which means they automatically qualify for the round of 16. Union Berlin will play Ajax in a Europa League playoff after finishing second in their group.

Olympiacos v AEK Athens

Where: Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, Piraeus

When: 5:30pm (17:30 GMT)

  • Olympiacos’ current form: WDLWDW
  • AEK’s current form: WDWWWW

Olympiacos will look to narrow the four-point gap with second-placed AEK Athens when the two meet in what promises to be a heated Super League clash this Sunday.

The two Athens-based clubs enjoy a fierce rivalry, and today will be no different as they both head into the World Cup break chasing league leaders Panathinaikos, another Athens-based team.

Olympiacos recently crashed out of the Europa League, coming bottom of their group with only two points.

AEK Athens have not beaten their rivals since February 2018.

Olympiacos recently signed the Colombian 2014 World Cup hero James Rodríquez on a free transfer from Qatari club Al-Rayyan. Brazilian Marcelo also joined the Greek team this season from Real Madrid in September.

AS Monaco v Olympique de Marseille

Where: Stade Louis II, Monaco

When: 7:45pm (19:45 GMT)

  • Monaco’s current form: WWWDLD
  • Marseille’s current form: WLDLLL

The Monégasques will host a Marseille team that has been experiencing some erratic form of late.

Marseille, who had not won since October 12, beat Lyon last weekend in a resolute performance. Despite some spirited defending, they will have been concerned that they could only muster two shots on target. Marseille’s primary forward, Alexis Sánchez, has only scored four goals this season.

Monaco have won their last three games and will look to leapfrog Marseille, who they are level on points with.

Juventus v Lazio

Where: Juventus Stadium, Turin

When: 7:45pm (19:45 GMT)

  • Juventus’ current form: WWLWLW
  • Lazio’s current form: WWLLWW

Lazio will look to take advantage of this crestfallen Juventus side that has seen almost a decade of domination in Serie A slip away over the past two seasons.

Both teams have won their last two Serie A games, but both exited their respective European competitions earlier in the month. Lazio finished third in their Europe League, while Juventus finished third in their Champions League group.

Juventus are missing several key players, including their top-scorer this season, Dusan Vlahovic and Paul Pogba.

Source: Al Jazeera