122013_isi_bradleymichael_intmc121613102 Matteo Ciambelli/isiphotos.com
5 to Watch This Weekend

Michael Bradley, John Brooks Headline TV Action

Clint Dempsey isn't starting for Fulham just yet, but American soccer fans have plenty of U.S. national team players to watch this weekend in the Premier League, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1.
BY Christopher McCollum Posted
December 20, 2013
4:29 PM
THE NEW YEAR and the January transfer window are quickly approaching, and while we wait for Fulham games to be added to the schedule with the return of Clint Dempsey, here's what we have to tide us over this week: two games featuring Americans going head-to-head; two goalkeepers in action; two defenders; and two midfielders.

And once you finish watching the Americans take the field, cap it off with the Milan Derby.


Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin
9:30 a.m. (all times Eastern)

John Brooks needs to come out of his shell and be an adult. That's according to coach Jos Luhukay, who pulled Brooks early in Hertha's last game. Criticized for not being motivated enough, the indication is that he will get another chance against Borussia Dortmund to show he belongs as a starter on a Bundesliga team. Hertha Berlin is right in the thick of Germany's European spots, while Dortmund has been struggling lately. If Brooks can't motivate himself for this, his coach won't be the only one asking questions.

Stoke City v. Aston Villa
10:00 a.m.
NBC Sports Live Extra

Geoff Cameron and Brad Guzan are two of the better-performing Americans abroad this season, both earning praise for their performances in the first half of the season. A win will help one of these two teams move into the top half of the table, which would be a pleasant surprise for either at this stage of the season. Don't expect to see Brek Shea anywhere for Stoke City, though. There doesn't seem to be any pressing desire to get him onto the field before sending him out on loan.

Nurnberg v. Schalke
12:30 p.m.

The final game of the day is another one with Americans going head to head. Timothy Chandler has been playing well lately, and probably has done enough to get himself back into Jurgen Klinsmann's good graces. It will be a tall task to pull off a result against Jermaine Jones and Schalke though; Nurnberg is dreadful this season—as bad or worse than Sunderland.


Roma vs. Catania
9:00 a.m.
beIN Sport Play

After a 2-2 tie against Milan on Monday, the Romans will feel like they lost points, giving up the tying goal in the final 20 minutes of the game. Five draws on the season now, Roma remains undefeated and Michael Bradley remains a fixture in the midfield, despite occasional uncertainty. Bradley is proving his detractors wrong by putting in consistently strong performances. As the season goes on, the realization deepens that Bradley has fought his way into becoming a 90-minute player on a team crowded with talent bound for Brazil next summer—some of whom will contend beyond the group stages.

Swansea City vs. Everton
11:00 a.m.

Tim Howard just keeps on keeping the Toffees rolling. Backstopping them to an impressive 4-1 win over Fulham last week, he's going to look for a repeat performance against the Swans, who just haven't been able to build much momentum this season. With a win over the Welsh team, and a win by Arsenal over Chelsea, Everton will jump into the top four. (Top three if Fulham pulls off a result against Manchester City.)


France: Saint-Etienne vs. Nantes (11:00 a.m., Saturday, beIN Sport Play)— Alejandro Bedoya and Nantes take on Saint-Etienne in a battle to see which team can stay in range of the last European qualifying spot. After a disappointing loss last week against Toulouse, Bedoya and fifth place Nantes will try to get back on track against seventh place Les Verts.


Italy: Inter vs. Milan (2:45 p.m., Sunday, beIN Sport USA)— Both teams in the Milan Derby are down this season, but it will still be an exciting game as usual, as one of the biggest rivalries in the soccer world kicks off for the 211th time. The Nerazzurri should have the advantage, despite their recent slump in form. AC Milan simply has not been able to click this season, collecting only 19 points from 16 games. Inter has been better at 28, but have only one win their last five. Regardless, expect an entertaining tilt.

So what are you watching this week? Let us know in comments section below.

Christopher McCollum is a New York City based writer and an ASN contributor.

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