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TV PREVIEW: International Weekend Headliners
by Paul Kennedy, September 14th, 2007 7AM
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TAGS:  argentina, england, germany, spain


Thierry Henry is still looking for his first La Liga goal with Barcelona, which visits Osasuna on Sunday.

Henry, who joined Barca from Arsenal in the offseason, hit the post twice in his first two matches, appearing as a substitute in Barcelona's opening game at Racing Santander (0-0 tie) and starting in its home opener against Athletic Bilbao (3-1 win).

With the injured Samuel Eto'o out for three months, Barcelona is counting on its French star to rediscover the form that won him four scoring titles in the English Premier League.

Meanwhile, Barcelona president Joan Laporta was "outraged" that France chose to keep Henry in Paris for its Euro 2008 qualifier against Scotland on Wednesday even though the striker was suspended. Laporta said it was a "disgrace" that clubs had to let players take part in national team matches without receiving any compensation.

GOL TV, OSASUNA-BARCELONA, Saturday (live), 3 pm ET.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez hit out at the English Premier League for its scheduling of early matches on Saturday following Wednesday international matches.

Liverpool is tied for first place, its best position in the EPL in two years, but Benitez says he can't properly prepare the Reds for their 12:45 p.m. kickoff at Portsmouth on Saturday.

"I am really disappointed with the fixtures we have because it is much more difficult here in England," he said. "Playing early on a Saturday after internationals makes it impossible to prepare the team properly. Most players do not return until Thursday evening, and the only thing you can do with some of them is a little bit of running and then send them home. Friday morning you will have a light training session and will travel to Portsmouth. In this case, you cannot prepare the team."


Halil and Hamit Altintop, twins and teammates on the Turkey national team, will face each other when Bayern Munich faces Schalke 04 in a Bundesliga clash on Saturday.

They were teammates together on amateur teams growing up in Gelsenkirchen, home of Schalke, and began their professional careers at Wattenscheid before going their separate ways in 2003. Hamit went to Schalke, while Halil went to Kaiserslautern. Halil joined Hamit at Schalke last season, but Hamit left over the summer to join Bayern on a free transfer.

The Altintops were roommates in Istanbul, where Turkey beat Hungary, 3-0, on Wednesday night in a Euro 2008 qualifier, before returning to Germany, where they will meet for the eighth time in Bundesliga play. Hamit has a big edge with six wins in seven games -- a track record that has the Altintop family predicting a Bayern win on Saturday.

"Our families aren't really Schalke or Bayern fans," said Halil. "They just support us, although I think most of them are tipping Bayern for this one."

GOL TV, BAYERN MUNICH-SCHALKE, Saturday (live), 9:25 am ET.

Following its 2-1 loss to lowly Arsenal on Wednesday, River Plate faces a must-win game on Sunday when it hosts Lanus in the Argentine First Division.

River Plate is tied for eighth place, four points behind leaders Independiente and Boca Juniors, and two behind Lanus, which is tied for fourth place in the Torneo Apertura. River Plate finished six and 12 points off the pace in last year's two championships, so the pressure is on Coach Daniel Passarella, who was given the full backing of President Jose Maria Aguilar only two weeks ago.

When River Plate and Lanus last met at the Monumental Stadium in February, fighting between rival gangs resulted in the stadium being closed for three games.



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