This Week In Sport: 19th – 25th October 2020

A superb seven days of sports action lies ahead. The Super Bowl champions kick off proceedings on Monday as the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Buffalo Bills, before the champions of Europe are in action on Wednesday as Bayern Munich face Atletico Madrid. In baseball, the MLB World Series begins, while in Rugby Union, the Premiership season concludes as Exeter Chiefs take on Wasps in the Premiership Final. There’s an enticing mountain stage to look forward to in the Giro d’Italia on Thursday, while rivals Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians go toe to toe in the Indian Premier League on Friday. The week wraps up with the hotly anticipated Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton has history in his sights.

Monday 19th October 9:00PM GMT - American Football: Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs

Two early frontrunners in this NFL season go head-to-head as the Buffalo Bills host the Kansas City Chiefs at Bills Stadium in Buffalo on Monday 19th October at 9:00PM GMT.

Reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, will be hoping to get back to winning ways after suffering their first defeat of the season against the Las Vegas Raiders last time out, bringing their 13-game winning streak to an end.

The Buffalo Bills are also licking their wounds having been beaten 42-16 by the Tennessee Titans in their most recent outing. 

The two sides currently top their respective divisions and have identical records this season, both going 4-1 thus far.

Monday’s fixture could have a telling impact on playoff positioning, and promises to be a blockbuster clash as two of the NFL’s powerhouses go toe to toe.

Tuesday 20th October (00:09AM GMT Wednesday 21st) - Baseball: Los Angeles Dodgers v Tampa Bay Rays

The MLB World Series begins at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday 21st October at 12:09AM GMT.

The Dodgers and the Rays begin their bid to be crowned World Series champions on Tuesday evening as baseball’s flagship event gets underway.

The Rays have made the World Series for just the second time in their history - and the first since 2008 - after overcoming the Houston Astros in seven games in the AL Championship Series. 

The Dodgers have frequented the World Series much more recently than their opponents, having suffered defeat in both the 2017 and 2018 showpiece event. However, they have not tasted World Series victory since 1988, in the days of Orel Hershiser, Kirk Gibson, and Steve Sax.

Can the Dodgers avenge their recent crushing World Series losses and secure their seventh crown or will the Rays make history?

Wednesday 21st October 7:00PM GMT - Football: Bayern Munich v Atlético Madrid

Bayern Munich welcome Atletico Madrid to the Allianz Arena on Wednesday 21st October at 7:00PM GMT in the first round of Champions League group stage fixtures.

Bayern Munich kick off their Champions League defence against last season’s beaten Quarter-finalists Atletico Madrid.

Bayern won every single game en route to European glory during the 2019/20 campaign, with their victory over PSG in the final completing a treble for Hansi Flick’s side.

Forward Robert Lewandowski hit 15 goals during last season’s competition, and has carried on from where he left off this term, with seven goals in just four Bundesliga appearances. 

Bayern face an Atletico side who knocked out holders Liverpool during the 2019/20 tournament before being eliminated by RB Leipzig in the last eight. The Spanish outfit have since added Luis Suarez to their ranks, but they will be without his strike partner Diego Costa.

Both teams look a little different after making some moves in the offseason. With two of Europe’s top teams going head to head, an intriguing encounter is in store.

Thursday 22nd October 10:00AM GMT - Cycling: Giro d’Italia 

Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia gets underway in Pinzolo on Thursday 22nd October at 10:00AM GMT.

The second cycling grand tour of the year enters its 18th day on Thursday, with the peloton beginning in Pinzolo and finishing in Laghi di Cancano, a gruelling 207km later.

The 103rd Giro d’Italia has already thrown up numerous thrills, spills and casualties - 2019 Tour de France champions Geraint Thomas suffered a fractured pelvis on Day 3, while one of the pre-race favourites Simon Yates was forced to drop out after day seven following a positive Covid-19 test.

Stage 18 is the penultimate mountain stage of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, featuring 48 hairpin bends and a 25km ascent. Everything points towards a terrific spectacle.

Friday 23rd October 2:00PM GMT - Cricket: Chennai Super Kings v Mumbai Indians

The Chennai Super Kings face the Mumbai Indians at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday 23rd October at 2:00PM GMT in the Indian Premier League

Branded El Clásico of cricket, the two most successful teams in IPL history go toe to toe on Friday in one of cricket’s biggest rivalries as the Chennai Super Kings take on the Mumbai Indians.

The Mumbai Indians are the reigning IPL champions and have continued last season’s fine form into the 2020 campaign. They beat the Chennai Super Kings in last season’s final, and currently sit top of the IPL. Their batting efforts have been led by Quinton de Kock (269 runs), Rohit Sharma (251), and Suryakumar Yadav (243). Meanwhile, Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult (12 wickets apiece) lead the team's bowling efforts.

However, last season’s beaten finalists are enduring an uncharacteristically unsuccessful campaign, currently sitting second bottom of the pile with just three wins from nine. Although Faf du Plessis is the third highest run-scorer in the league with 365, only two other batters on the team have over 200. With 10 wickets so far, Sam Curran has been the top bowler on the team by far.

The Mumbai Indians won last season’s thrilling title match between the pair by just one run. Will Friday’s encounter be just as entertaining? 

Saturday 24th October 5:00PM GMT - Rugby Union: Exeter Chiefs v Wasps

The Exeter Chiefs take on Wasps at Twickenham in the Premiership Final on Saturday 24th October at 5:00PM GMT.

The 2019/20 Premiership season has finally reached its much-anticipated climax at the home of rugby on Saturday evening as the country’s top two teams battle it out to be crowned champions of England.

Exeter finished top of the pile following the 22-game league season, before demolishing Bath 35-6 in the Semifinals to book their place in Saturday’s showpiece event. After overcoming Racing 92 in a tight contest this past weekend to take European Champions Cup glory for the first time in their history, the Chiefs will be happy they escaped without anything major on the injury report save for a few sore heads after Saturday’s celebrations.

Wasps were three points behind Exeter in the final standings in second, but made similarly light work of their Semi-final opponents with a comfortable 47-24 victory over Bristol and are enjoying a timely run of form. 

Saturday’s fixture is a repeat of the 2017 final, which required extra time before Exeter ran out 23-20 winners. Can Wasps avenge their 2017 final defeat, or will Exeter - who have suffered successive defeats in the last two finals - emerge victorious once more?

In a peculiarity of the Covid rules, if recent positive Covid tests in the Wasps’ camp are shown to have spread too far through the squad, 3rd-placed Bristol will contest the final instead.

Sunday 25th October 1:10PM GMT - Motor Sport: Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix

The Formula One Portuguese Grand Prix takes place at the Algarve International Circuit on Sunday 25th October at 1:10PM GMT.

Excitingly, this is the first time the Portuguese Grand Prix has featured in the Formula One season since 1996. The Algarve International Circuit is a fairly challenging one, with a lot of tight turns but also some great overtake opportunities. 

Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher's record of 91 Formula One at the Eifel Grand Prix a fortnight ago to extend his lead at the top of the driver’s championship. The Mercedes driver leads teammate Valtteri Bottas by 69 points, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen down in third.

Can Hamilton break Schumacher's record and make history in the Algarve?

Other sporting highlights from around the globe

Honourable mentions around the globe begin with the NFL, where the Dallas Cowboys face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, before the Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Arizona Cardinals play the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. In NCAA College Football, Tennessee takes on Alabama on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the States, the Seattle Sounders FC face the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union take on Toronto FC in the MLS.

Further football action comes from the Premier League, where Leeds United face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday evening. Leeds are in action again on Friday as they take on high-flying Aston Villa, before Saturday’s hotly anticipated clash between Manchester United and Chelsea. Arsenal play Leicester in the final English top flight game of the week on Sunday evening.

The Champions League group stages begin on Tuesday, with last season’s defeated finalists Paris Saint-Germain hosting Manchester United, Chelsea playing Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund visiting Lazio, before Manchester City play FC Porto, Liverpool travel to Ajax and Inter Milan host Borussia Mönchengladbach on Wednesday.

The Europa League group stages also commence on Thursday with Standard Liege versus Rangers, Bayer Leverkusen against Nice and Celtic versus AC Milan.

In La Liga, the season’s first El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona takes place on Saturday.

Elsewhere in Spain, MotoGP stops off in Alcañiz for the Teruel Grand Prix on Sunday.

There’s plenty of cycling action to feast your eyes on over the next seven days as the Vuelta a España continues throughout the week, as does the Giro d’Italia.

In tennis, the WTA Tour stops off in the Czech Republic for the J & T Banka Ostrava Open, which commences on Monday.

Cricket action comes from the IPL, where the Kolkata Knight Riders face the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Wednesday, before Kolkata are in action again on Saturday against the Delhi Capitals.

Further cricketing action can be found in Australia, where Perth Scorchers play Brisbane Heat as the Women’s Big Bash begins.

The AFL Grand Final - one of Australia’s most prestigious events on the sporting calendar - takes place on Saturday, with Richmond and Geelong both vying for AFL glory.

It’s also Grand Final day in the NRL, as Penrith Panthers go toe to toe with Melbourne Storm on Sunday.

St Helens play Leeds Rhinos in the Super League on Friday evening, while in Rugby Union, the Pumas play the Stormers and the Bulls face the Sharks in Super Rugby Unlocked.

Scotland play Georgia, France face Wales and England face Barbarians in international test matches across the weekend, while Ireland and Italy face off in both the men’s and women’s Six Nations on Saturday. Scotland and France are then in action in the Women’s Six Nations on Sunday.

The PGA Tour stops off in Thousand Oaks where the The ZOZO Championship gets underway on Thursday. 

In PDC darts, the International Darts Open begins on Friday in Germany. 

And finally UFC 254 takes place in Abu Dhabi, with Khabib Nurmagomedov going toe to toe with Justin Gaethje.

A world-class week of sport awaits. Whatever you’re watching, enjoy


Photos by Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Rays, FC Bayern München, Giro d'Italia, Mumbai Indians, Wasps Rugby, Mercedes-AMG F1

Written and information correct on 19h October at 8am GMT

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