American Exports preview: Howard, Everton to play spoilers
AMSTERDAM — The weekend European docket is overstuffed with key contests involving Americans, including Tim Howard's annual visit to old employers Manchester United.
All times listed in ET.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Manchester United vs. Everton (Sunday, 7:30 a.m. on Fox Soccer)
American: Tim Howard (EVE) – Since leaving Old Trafford, the US backstop has lost all four league meetings there with the Toffees. This time, he'll face a Red Devils side with seven straight home wins and the inside track to the title.
Everton, meanwhile, have not won away in this series since 1992, a span of 20 matches. Each side is missing key cogs; the visitors will arrive short Leighton Baines, while United must go without Darren Fletcher and Nemanja Vidić.
Queens Park Rangers vs. Tottenham (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. on Fox Soccer)
American: Brad Friedel (Spurs) – With rampant Newcastle right on their heels for the EPL's fourth and final Champions League slot, the American netminder and his teammates are desperate to get well with this cross-town trip to Loftus Road, where the club has won just one of the last four.
That's not the only trend working against first-time visitor Friedel and Tottenham. He's winless in his last five road games, despite three clean sheets, while Spurs have just one win in eight league games overall. They also haven't won an EPL derby since November.
Augsburg vs. Schalke (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. on GolTV/My Sports Germany)
American: Jermaine Jones (S04) – Thanks to a consecutive pair of losses, the Miners have seen 'Gladbach reduce their lead for the third group phase Champions League pass reduced to a single point.
With only one victory to show for their last nine away games across all competition, a duel with lowly Augsburg seems proper medicine. Schalke are perfect in two against Augsburg and their only game there until now was a cup win in 2010.
Hannover 96 vs. Freiburg (Sunday, 11:30 a.m. on ESPN3.com/My Sports Germany)
American: Steve Cherundolo (H96) – With both DfB-Pokal finalists set for the Champions League, Hannover suddenly find themselves holding a Europa League place again, but they must hold off three chasers over the final three Bundesliga matches.
Despite a rough, form-breaking shift last time out, Cherundolo should hold down right back as the Reds defend their unbeaten home record. Both he and Hannover generally love to see Freiburg, who have never won a top flight match at the AWD.
ITALIAN SERIE A
Chievo vs. Udinese (Saturday, noon on ESPN3.com/Fox Soccer Plus/Fox Soccer 2Go/RAI)
American: Michael Bradley (CV) – If the US park ranger and friends are to keep slim Europa League hopes alive, they will need to sort out their home life against fourth-placed Udinese. Chievo have won just twice in nine at the Bentegodi.
The Flying Donkeys have also gone winless in three Serie A home tilts against the Friulani, but did score a cup win at Udinese back in January with top-rated midfielder Bradley given the day off.
BELGIUM JUPILER LEAGUE
Club Brugge vs. Anderlecht (Sunday, noon)
American: Sacha Kljestan (AND) – The nitty will officially hit the gritty when Anderlecht travel to face their rivals holding a one-point championship edge. After this contest stands, Belgium's 10-game postseason title round robin will have reached halftime.
Midfield engine Kljestan helped the leaders steamroll Club at home in January, but things typically go haywire for them in Bruges. The Mauves looks set to go without ace Matias Suárez, but right back Marcin Wasilewski has been passed fit. Meanwhile, the home side will likely be missing target man Björn Vleminckx.
BEST OF THE REST
Aston Villa (Brad Guzan, Eric Lichaj) vs. Sunderland – Sat. 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer Plus
Blackburn vs. Norwich City (Zak Whitbread) – Sat. 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer 2Go
Bolton (Tim Ream) vs. Swansea City – Sat. 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer 2Go
Fulham (Clint Dempsey) vs. Wigan – Sat. 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer 2Go
FC Nürnberg (Timothy Chandler) vs. Hamburg – Sat. 9:30 a.m. on My Sports Germany
Hoffenheim (Fabian Johnson, Daniel Williams) vs. Bayer Leverkusen – Sat. 9:30 a.m. on My Sports Germany
AZ Alkmaar (Jozy Altidore) vs. VVV Venlo – Sun. 8:30 a.m. on Eredivisie.tv
Kortrijk vs. Gent (Mikkel Diskerud) – Sun. 2:30 p.m.
Hearts vs. Rangers (Alejandro Bedoya, Carlos Bocanegra, Maurice Edu) – Sat. 10 a.m. on Fox Soccer 2Go
Aalborg BK vs. FC Nordsjælland (Michael Parkhurst) – Sat. 11 a.m.
Brøndby (Clarence Goodson) vs. FC Midtjylland – Sun. noon
SønderjyskE (Conor O'Brien) vs. HB Køge (Brad Rusin) – Sun. 10 a.m.
Hønefoss (Steve Clark) vs. Aalesund – Sun. noon
Sandnes vs. Stabæk (Sean Cunningham, Ricardo Clark) – Sun. noon