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The international break is over for most of us, but not all. Managers like Antonio Conte and Julian Nagelsmann still have nothing to do this weekend after being fired over the break. The Conte move wasn't difficult to see coming. We've seen the Conte cycle many times. Once he goes into calling out ownership during press conference mode, you know it's only a matter of time, particularly when it's ahead of an international break, a time always ripe for a managerial change.

What wasn't as predictable was the Nagelsmann move. With Bayern losing its final match before the break to Bayer Leverkusen and falling out of first place in the Bundesliga, maybe it shouldn't have been as big a surprise as it was, but let's not forget Bayern spent roughly $27 million to buy Nagelsmann from RB Leipzig two years ago. While Bayern are the most powerful team in Germany, they haven't been a Manchester City/PSG/Barcelona kind of club. The German giants don't throw money around as if it's meaningless. It was a considerable investment in the manager.

To fire him so soon felt like an overreaction to me, but maybe Bayern wanted Thomas Tuchel badly and were worried he'd take the Tottenham job. Or maybe Bayern are seeing themselves slip further and further behind the English powers and are getting nervous. I don't know. Maybe it'll be the right move, maybe it won't change anything, and we'll actually have drama in the Bundesliga race.

We should know soon! After all, first-place Dortmund is heading to Munich this weekend to face Bayern and Thomas Tuchel, and that's where we begin Corner Picks. All odds via Caesars Sportsbook.

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund

Date: Saturday, April 1 | Time: 12:30 p.m. ET | Watch: ABC

Is Thomas Tuchel the man who will lead Bayern back to the top of the Bundesliga and extend the streak of league titles to 11 straight? Yeah, probably. Nagelsmann probably would've too. That's what's funny about the situation. Bayern are in second, but they're still the best team in the league and have nine games left to play. Is Tuchel the man to lead Bayern to another Champions League title? Probably not this season, no, but nobody is. That said, this being Tuchel's first match does cloud things a bit because if there's a specific reason he was hired, it's probably to fix Bayern's defense. It's been bad all year (for Bayern, which have allowed the fewest goals in the Bundesliga, anyway).

Any time a new manager takes over, you must prepare for the Right The Ship Match defensively when the team focuses on keeping a clean sheet and nothing else. However, I'm not sure that's possible in the Bundesliga, nor is it possible for a low-scoring match featuring Dortmund. Dortmund have been a mess defensively for a while, despite the results. They have allowed only eight goals in their last 10 matches, but they've done so with an xG (expected goals) allowed of 14.5. You're not going to get that lucky against Bayern. As is often the case, I wouldn't be shocked if Bayern go over this total on its own, nor would I be shocked if Dortmund gets one or two of their own because I don't believe Bayern's defensive struggles are strictly related to its overall defending (not having Manuel Neuer matters). The Pick: Over 3.5 (-115)

West Ham United vs. Southampton

Date: Sunday, April 2 | Time: 9 a.m. ET | Watch: USA

The battle to avoid relegation in the Premier League is fascinating. Crystal Palace -- another team that recently fired its manager -- sit in 12th place in the league with 27 points. That leaves Palace only three points ahead of 18th-place West Ham down in the relegation zone. That's nine teams -- 45% of the league -- within one bad result of being in danger of going down. That will lead to a lot of tense matches down the stretch like this one. West Ham is in 18th and is home against Southampton, who are in last place, yet a win away from possibly being safe (for a few days, anyway). Unfortunately for Southampton, I don't believe that win comes this weekend.

Before the World Cup break, West Ham suffered bad home losses to Crystal Palace and Leicester City. The Hammers then lost their first home match following the break to Brentford 2-0. They haven't lost any of the four they've played since, outscoring their opponents 8-2. West Ham have been better at home statistically than the results suggest all year, and now it seems the performances are bearing fruit. Meanwhile, Southampton have achieved much better results on the road than the metrics suggest they should have. Their 0.93 points per match on the road is tied with Leicester for 11th, but their xG differential of -7.7 away from home ranks 16th. These things tend to balance out over the course of a season. The Pick: West Ham (-140)

Napoli vs. AC Milan

Date: Sunday, April 2 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET | Watch: Paramount+

This isn't a numbers play for me as much as a gut play. Napoli haven't clinched Serie A yet, but the odds of blowing a 19-point lead with nine matches left are minuscule. At this point, Napoli's biggest focus will be on the Champions League, where it's slated to play this same AC Milan team in the quarterfinals. And that's where the gamesmanship comes into play here. Napoli have announced that leading scorer Victor Osimhen will not play in this match and is likely out next weekend against Lecce after picking up a thigh injury. They've even said his status for the Champions League match on 4/12 is doubtful. How much of that is the truth, and how much is resting Osimhen for the Champions League? My suspicion is there's more weight in that latter scenario.

Meanwhile, Milan want to beat Napoli in the Champions League but also wants to ensure they play in next year's Champions League. They're not going to win Serie A, but Milan is one of five teams fighting for the three Champions League spots Napoli won't finish in. Seven points separate Lazio, Inter, Roma, Atalanta and Milan. Every match down the stretch will be crucial for these clubs. So, given the motivation for these teams, and the lack of Osimhen, Milan seem like a solid bet this weekend. That said, Napoli is still an outstanding team, so I'd rather bet Milan to get a result than the outright win. The Pick: Milan or Draw (-107)

Weekend Parlay

It's a smaller parlay this week, but it pays a decent price at +107.

  • Arsenal (-390)
  • Lille (-270)
  • Real Madrid (-500)



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