After the tiny little buzzkill called the International Break decided to show up and halt proceedings to a degree last weekend, club football returns to the horizon, and it plans to repay us for its absence beginning with a mouth-watering encounter as early as Saturday 12noon, when Manchester City and Liverpool meet at the Etihad stadium in the Premier League; last season’s second and third-placed teams coming face-to-face as they bid to keep pace with leaders and their rivals, Manchester United.
Speaking of United, Jose Mourinho’s men will visit Stoke later that day, hoping to maintain their perfect start, on a ground where they haven’t won in four games.
Before that though, right after the City v Liverpool game, Premier League champions of the past two seasons go head-to-head, as 2016 winners Leicester City play host to current holders Chelsea, meaning an early return to the King Power for new Chelsea boy Danny Drinkwater.
In Spain, the biggest game of the weekend is likely to be the Catalan Derby, as Barcelona welcome neighbours Espanyol to the Nou Camp, while the Blaugrana’s bitter rivals and champions Real Madrid entertain newboys Levante to the Bernabeu.
In the Italian first division, champions Juventus kick-off the weekend with a home game against Chievo Verona, although the clash between Lazio and AC Milan a day after is likely to be most anticipated game there.
Bayern Munich travel to Hoffenheim, where they lost last season, for their third game of the German Bundesliga season; the champions in search of a sixth successive league title.
One team hoping to stand in their way is Borussia Dortmund, Peter Bosz’s team lie on top of the table early on, and they make the trip to Freiburg on Saturday.
There should be no shortage of drama in the French Ligue 1 as well, particularly with champions Monaco paying a visit to last term’s third-placed team, OGC Nice, while on Friday Lille host Bordeaux and PSG are welcomed by Metz.
Talk about being spoiled for choice.
Premier League: Manchester City v Liverpool; Stoke v Manchester United; Arsenal v Bournemouth; Leicester v Chelsea; West Ham v Huddersfield; Swansea v Newcastle; Everton v Tottenham; Burnley v Crystal Palace; Brighton v West Brom; Southampton v Watford
Bundesliga: Hamburg v RB Leipzig; Augsburg v Koln; Borussia Monchengladbach v Frankfurt; Freiburg v Dortmund; Mainz v Leverkusen; Wolfsburg v Hannover; Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich; Hertha BSC v Werder Bremen; Schalke v Stuttgart
La Liga: Leganes v Getafe; Real Madrid v Levante; Valencia v Atletico Madrid; Sevilla v Eibar; Barcelona v Espanyol; Deportivo v Real Sociedad; Athletic Bilbao v Girona; Celta Vigo v Alaves; Villarreal v Real Betis; Malaga v Las Palmas
Serie A: Juventus v Chievo Verona; Sampdoria v Roma; Inter v SPAL; Atalanta v Sassuolo; Cagliari v Crotone; Hellas Verona v Fiorentina; Lazio v Milan; Udinese v Genoa; Benevento v Torino; Bologna v Napoli
Ligue 1: Lille v Bordeaux; Metz v PSG; Nice v Monaco; Caen v Dijon; Montpellier v Nantes; Strasbourg v Amiens; Troyes v Toulouse; St. Etienne v Angers; Lyon v Guingamp; Marseille v Rennes