League football is nearly underway for the 2014-15 campaign. Before the matches kick off this weekend, we thought we’d take a look ahead at La Liga‘s schedule and highlight a few matches you should try not to miss. Naturally, fanatic supporters will try to take in as much as they possibly can. However, if you’re only going to watch a few matches here and there, these are the best options for the first half of the season.
Real Madrid v. Cordoba – August 25
Want an early look at the winners of the 2014 Champions League complete with all their shiny new acquisitions? You might not get a better one than this opening week fixture with Cordoba, one of three clubs promoted to La Liga this season. Naturally, this is an extremely unbalanced pairing on paper, and it could be a chance to see Real Madrid rack up five goals or so at the Bernabeu. That said, however, some see Real Madrid as overreaching a tad. Michael Lintorn, a writer for Betfair, suggests that bringing in Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez might almost leave Carlo Ancelotti with too many talents to juggle in this article. Still—this is one to watch for the pure talent exhibition of Real Madrid.
Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid – September 13
This one barely needs explaining. Any time two league rivals from the same city face off (in any league) it’s worth watching. When it’s the defending Champions League winners vs. the defending La Liga champs, it’s about as good a fixture as you could ask for. Rest assured, Real Madrid will be gunning for a win at the Bernabeu as they attempt to assert themselves early in the season. As for Atletico, this team will still be finding itself. As Inside Spanish Football noted in questioning whether the club can repeat its shocking La Liga win, this is basically an entirely new side following a wave of departures and a few new signings (chief among them Diego Costa replacement Mario Mandzukic).
Atletico Madrid v. Sevilla – September 27
This may not be the glossiest fixture on paper, but it could be crucial. Atletico Madrid may be reeling early from the loss of so many key players. Also, as Bleacher Report wrote, Sevilla returns with nearly the same team that just missed the top four in 2013-14. This match at Vicente Calderon Stadium is a great chance for Sevilla to make a strong early statement, and it should be a great contest.
Real Madrid v. Barcelona – October 25
Forget La Liga—this match is almost like a meeting of world all-star teams. We wrote back in July that we couldn’t wait for this matchup, and now it’s just two months away. While Barcelona and Real Madrid finished second and third last season, respectively, they should be the clear-cut class of La Liga this season. This will be the first visit to the Bernabeu for the unthinkably tantalizing Barcelona trio of Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez. They’ll meet a Real Madrid core of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo that has been bolstered by the aforementioned additions of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos. This fixture is the stuff dreams are made of for league football fans.
Ultimately, this is only a small glimpse at some of the most noteworthy matches on La Liga’s schedule for the first half of the season. But from a first look at Real Madrid through the match of the year on October 25, these look like the highlights for La Liga supporters. That said, anything can happen. We may see another surprise contender like Atletico Madrid in 2013-14, and we may see one of the better club sides in a decade at either Barcelona or Real Madrid! Only time will tell—enjoy the season!