The 2018/19 season is barely in the books, but the attention is already being turned to what the 2019/20 campaign may hold and which incredible games will be ‘must see’.
These are the nine monster matches to look forward to next season.
Lyon vs Paris Saint-Germain
Assuming Lyon can keep a tremendously talented squad together this summer, next season could see them break Paris Saint-Germain’s monopoly on Ligue 1 just as Monaco did in 2017.
Lyon could only finish third in Ligue 1 in 2018/19, but the ambitious club from the Rhône valley will surely fancy their chances of at least bridging the gap to their wealthy rivals from the north.
Lyon actually won the last time the sides met, a 2-1 victory in February after earlier losing 5-0.
Celtic vs Rangers
Could 2019/20 be the season that real competitiveness is finally restored to Scottish football?
Rangers have been getting more points each year since they returned to the top flight in 2016 and finished this campaign only nine points behind Celtic.
If the gap is getting smaller and smaller, that means Old Firm derbies next season have the potential to disrupt the recent status quo and maybe herald a new dawn for Rangers.
Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur
The power balance has very much shifted in north London in recent seasons, making the derby clashes between Arsenal and Tottenham all the more intriguing after a generation grew up witnessing what has become a very one-sided rivalry.
Tottenham and Arsenal both managed to reach the finals of the Champions League and Europa League respectively, bringing yet another power dynamic and added motivation to the game.
As ever, the battle for Premier League top four places could hinge on these meetings.
Boca Juniors vs River Plate
Such is the intensity of the rivalry between Boca Juniors and River Plate, violence marred the 2018 Copa Libertadores final when the Boca team bus was attacked ahead of the second leg.
The headlines brought South America’s fiercest rivalry back to prominence at a global level and the second leg, postponed after the attack, was eventually played in Spain to avoid more trouble.
They haven’t faced each other since that final in December.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund briefly threatened to break Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga title streak this season until losing momentum in the final stretch, but their talented squad is set to make another run of it next season.
Dortmund, champions in 2011 and 2012 in a different era, very much have a point to prove after a 5-0 thrashing against Bayern in Der Klassiker in April was ultimately the difference.
Die Schwarzgelben will be a year older and wiser in 2019/20, while Bayern will also have something of a new look after kicking off a squad transformation.
Inter vs Juventus
Inter are tipped for a busy summer transfer window and could be the latest Italian club to make a concerted effort at derailing the recent Serie A dominance enjoyed by Juventus.
This is already one of Europe’s biggest games, even nicknamed ‘Derby d’Italia’, and promises to have much more competitive impact in Serie A next season than the Milan derby will have.
The last time that Inter could genuinely hold a candle to Juve was 2012.
Liverpool vs Manchester United
Regardless of how either club is faring at the time, games between Liverpool and Manchester United are always among the most eagerly anticipated for football fans around the world.
Even with Liverpool very much the better team overall, honours have been fairly even over the last two seasons and that makes it all the more unpredictable.
This fixture still continues to mean more to most United fans than the Manchester derby, perhaps because the club’s recent record against City is poor to say the least.
Liverpool vs Manchester City
Born out of this season’s Premier League title race, this is football’s newest top rivalry and Liverpool will be determined to prove they can topple Manchester City in 2019/20.
It was of course a slender City win over Liverpool in January that proved decisive at the end of the season and saw the Sky Blues retain the Premier League title.
Should next season be as tight, the Reds will know games between them will be the difference.
Barcelona vs Real Madrid
With both Barcelona and Real Madrid expected to put out new look teams next season after what promises to be busy summers at Camp Nou and the Bernabeu, El Clásico takes on more significance than simply being one of the fiercest rivalries on the planet.
Who will now emerge as the dominant force in Spain as both clubs enter new eras? Will Real be able to bridge the sizeable gap that has emerged this season?
Eyes around the world will be glued to the screens when they meet for the first time in 2019/20.
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