This week, we all are going to witness some mouth watering clashes in the UEFA Champions League football. There are going to be great games, and huge crowds in the stands, as the Super 16 of the big tournament unfold.
Real Madrid is set to face Manchester United, Arsenal is going to take on Bayern Munich, and Barcelona, the Spanish giants, are going to face AC Milan once again, after having done so four times last season in the same tournament. Let's see how this unfolds. What do you all think would be the outcomes of these games? Please do let me know.
As expected, The game at Bernabeu turned out to be nice. The two teams played well and justified the billing of the game as being one of the most historical games. Real Madrid definitely played as they usually do, creating chances and building pressure on the Red Devils as the game passed by, but the Reds were no less. United defended well, attacked at the right moments, and were stunning with their counter attacks. Welbeck's opening goal was a testimony to my statement.
Ronaldo's equalizer was a class apart. The way he lunged onto the ball from di Maria and shot it like a spring into the net, was a remarkable feat. He marked his first game against his old club with a goal that no one else in the world could score.
I can't believe what I saw today. AC Milan beat Barcelona 2-0! This was very surprising, and I just can't believe it happened. Still, a few things are worth mentioning. Milan's defence was firm and solid - they didn't let the Spanish to find room or to land a decent shot at the goal. Milan limited their attempts. Also, the organisation and game plan were fabulous. They frustrated Barcelona right from the beginning, by interrupting their normal style of playing, and showed grit and spirit in the whole game. They kept Messi well in his limits, and were aggressive on the counter attacks. Also, Barcelona didn't seem to be at their best without manager Tito Vilanova. They were easily taken care of, and should have done better.
Milan did very well to defeat Barcelona. Although it seems that Barca are going through a bad phase, they recently lost at home to Real Madrid as well. In any case, Barca Real have yet another El Clasico this Saturday!
As for the other games in the Champions League, Man Utd Real Madrid was very exciting. The second leg should be a good watch. Bayern Arsenal was disappointing, Arsenal did not do so well. Anyway, let's see what happens ...
The El Clasico was a great game for Madrid. The one tomorrow may also tell a similar story, being at the Bernabeu. I hope Barcelona don't lose so heavily though. And the second leg clashes in the Champions League will be mouth watering too. United at their home ground against Madrid - what more could we demand from a top 16 clash? Although I feel sad that one great team will have to go out.
United lost to Madrid. But the referee's decision to send off Nani was quite surprising. That actually upset the morale of the English club, and also left them handicapped, with 10 men. But yes, one can't deny that Modric's goal was very unpredictable and excellently executed, and Ronaldo's goal was even better and was a delight to watch.
Still, I feel the match could have been better with both teams ending with 11 men.
Yup, it all came down to that wrong decision. Real Madrid took advantage of their lucky break, and as for Man Utd, all they can do is move on, leaving the past behind them.
Anyway let's see what happens in the other games.
Man Utd should be ashamed of themselves the way they conducted themselves following their defeat. Honestly, you'd think they never got decisions int heir favour. How many times have dodgy penalties been given to utd at old trafford over the years, or visiting teams denied penalties because the officials didn't have the balls to make a decision against the home team? Ferguson has a history of verbally abusing officials and putting pressure on them. All I can say is "Karma, Sir Alec, Karma"
Madrid played really well - they are in good form IMO
The next big game to come now - Milan against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. I hope that the match doesn't turn out to be one-sided, and no such controversial decision is taken. It will be really exciting to watch the Catalans looking to nullify the two goal lead that Milan have right now. The interesting thing is the numbers. If Milan don't score Barcelona have to score twice to draw level, which is not that big a deal at their home ground. But if Milan do score even once, Barcelona will have a mammoth task at hand - they'll have to net 4 then, against a sturdy defense. I'm eagerly waiting for that game now.
Yup, Milan Barca is a big one, I think Milan will go through though - Barca will have to really have a special night if they want to knock Milan out.
As for the other game, Arsenal Bayern, I guess it's a sure shot Bayern victory. It's highly unlikely Arsenal will manage 3 goals at the Fusball Arena.
Wow the Barca Milan result is just out. Unbelievably Barca defeated Milan 4-0 becoming the first team to overturn a 2-0 1st leg loss in the Champions League I think. Well done Barca
Really exceptional play from Barcelona. They attacked and defended equally well and scored in the rhythm that they are known to have for almost half a decade now, ever since Pep Guardiola took over. It's going to be great Quarter Finals now, but I am feeling a bit disappointed as not a single English team is in there. First time since 1995-96. Let's hope the coming games turn out well.
Just saw the draw for the Quarter Finals. The Bayern Munich - Juventus match seems to be the most promising close encounter, as the Italians are in a good form, and the Germans have sealed the Bundesliga already. It will be a mouth watering clash!
Barcelona against PSG will also be a tie to look forward to, but I think PSG would be an easier outing for Barca after having beaten Milan. Real Madrid might have a still easier journey against Galatasaray, as they have had their scares against Manchester United. Dortmund against Malaga will be close. Let's see who makes it through.
What are your predictions for the Semi Finalists?
Here are my predictions:
Paris Saint-Germain - Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the best teams in the world so they should be able to win over PSG but it won't be a walk in the park. I hope Ibrahimović doesn't get a red card this time.
Bayern Munich - Juventus
Both teams have big chance to go through but I think Bayern is a stronger team so I hold them as favourites.
Málaga - Borussia Dortmund
I think Málaga is a better team so they will win. There is a risk that I underestimate Dortmund because I don't know enough about the German league.
Real Madrid - Galatasaray
Should be an easy win for Real.
Bayern Juventus is indeed the most illustrious tie but the other ones can go either way too.
- Barca will defeat PSG
- Bayern will defeat Juventus
- Dortmund will defeat Malaga
- Real Madrid will defeat Galatasaray
Spain and Germany seem to be dominating the Champions League this year. That's nicely refreshing based on the English dominance in the past years.
Peterssidan: Nice analysis.
AVG: Couldn't agree more! If Barca, RM, Bayern and Dortmund do go through, the semi finals will have only German and Spanish sides, and that would be a huge change from the usual set which enters the QF. If, on the other hand, Malaga beat Dortmund, then there will be three Spanish teams in the top 4, and that would be like England's three representatives at the same stage in 2009 - when Manchester Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea all made it there. Let's see though. One can't take the Bayern Juventus or the Malaga Dortmund match for granted. I even feel that Barcelona will have to play their best football to beat PSG comfortably, otherwise it could be a close call in Paris, at least.
Hm..Barcelona held to a 2-2 draw in Paris! Still, the two away goals mean that Paris Saint Germaine would effectively have to beat Barcelona in the second leg at the Nou Camp, which is a tall order. Still, a nice game and it would get better and more exciting in the second leg.
Bayern Munich beat Juventus 2-0 at home to take a big stride towards the Semi Finals. I feel that Juventus should have done better, but nevertheless, Bayern were too good for them. Frank Ribery, Robben, Lahm and Mandzukic played a brilliant game. Let's see what happens tonight, when Real Madrid face Galatasaray, and Dortmund take on Malaga.
It was an excellent performance from Bayern. And PSG did well (although I think Barcelona are favorites to go through). It will be very difficult for Juventus to come back in the 2nd leg.
Anyway, let's see what happens in today's games.
The game at Madrid was such a one sided affair! Real Madrid have seemingly clinched the tie with just one game. They defended well, kept possession and attacked really well! Ronaldo's finish in the 9th minute was a class apart. Higuain's header and Benzema's presence of mind wrapped up the game for Real with a 3-0 victory. I think it's highly unlikely that Didier Drogba and company can pull out a miracle in Turkey.
On the other hand, I feel that the Dortmund Malaga game was quite boring. Dortmund had so many good chances to take a crucial lead, but they squandered all of them. I feel that Mario Goetze should have scored at least twice, if not more. Still, the game is in the balance as the second leg in Germany approaches. 0-0.
The game between Borussia Dortmund and Malaga was one of the most sensational that I've ever seen. The last 10 minutes and the additional time climax was just incredible. It has reminded me once again that football is about emotion, determination, will and calmness in pressure. When Eliseu netted from an offside position, it seemed that Dortmund's game was up. They needed 2 goals from 8 minutes. They didn't achieve this, and 4 minutes of additional time were awarded. And then the incredible happened.
In the 91st minute, a scramble in the Malaga defence saw Marco Reus find the net after failed attempts from others. Many people still didn't believe that time was enough for Dortmund to go through.
Once again, I was proved wrong there. A seemingly offside goal from Santana saw Dortmund through, and Malaga players were all distraught. This was probably one of the most sensational finishes that I've seen in football. Another one came an year back, when Manchester City netted twice in extra time against Queens Park Rangers to clinch the title.
I'm looking forward to the match between Barça and PSG tonight. A draw in the first match and Messi injured makes it wide open.
Well even an injured Messi is good enough to make an impact. He saved them by the skin of their teeth last night. This proves that as good as Barca are, without Messi they are not so great
Yeah, the match totally changed after Messi entered the pitch. It was as if PSG was scared of him.
Yeah. The game was nice, and it surely changed when Messi entered the ground. He was decisive, and he brought the necessary flair in the Barcelona attack and the kind of aggressiveness and passion that they had to exhibit. Villa's pass to Pedro, and the latter's pinpoint finish sealed the game for Barcelona, and I was once again reminded of how unfair the away goals system can be. PSG managed to draw both games but still went out. This time though, I am ok with it, as clearly Barcelona deserved to make it through.
The Champions League Semi Finals are approaching. Bayern Munich to face Barcelona on 24th of April, while Borussia Dortmund are ready to take on Real Madrid on the following day. The two games will be fights between a German and a Spanish side, and will be big games to watch.
Bayern Munich have had a brilliant season, winning the Bundesliga in just 28 games. They never seem like stopping, and their quest towards a treble are on. They have lost the Champions League Final twice in the last three seasons (against Inter in 2010 and against Chelsea in 2012). They were eliminated from the semis in 2011. So, this time, they would love to reverse the trend by qualifying for the final and winning it.
Barcelona have also had a great season and are sure of winning the La Liga, They have looked shaky in the second half on the season though, and haven't given their best performance. They lost twice against arch rivals Real, lost a game to AC Milan, and also got away against PSG with two drawn games. They would look to end the season on a high and get on top of Bayern in this semi.
Real Madrid have not had as good a season as they had the last time, but have come up strongly in tough times. Cristiano Ronaldo has looked in his best touch, and has provided goals in most of the important games that the team has played. They have been on a high lately, closing down the gap at the top of La Liga against Barcelona. they have also beaten Manchester United, which is a big feat in itself. To me, they look like the potential finalists.
Borussia Dortmund are also on the same train as Real, but will have to admit that they've been beaten in the Bundesliga less by their mistakes and more by Bayern's class. They have a strong defense, but their hesitation may prove costly against Real.
According to me, as things stand, it could be a final between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid. That equation might be drastically changed if Lionel Messi steps up and makes himself count. I still remember the 4-0 drubbing that Barcelona had handed out to Bayern in the CL quarter finals in 2009.
Last week's results have left us all flabbergasted, to say the least. Bayern Munich beat Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg at Munich. That was a truly spectacular game from Jupp Heynckes's boys, and will be remembered for a long time to come. Thomas Muller was exemplary, and so was Schweinsteiger. I must say that I feel the game should have ended 2-0, to give some chance to Barcelona, but there's no point in taking any credit that Bayern deserve. They were truly brilliant. It will surely be a big, big task for Barcelona to try and overturn this result at the Nou Camp.
The other game between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid was also full of surprises. Dortmund, which had taken two games to score three goals (one of them disputable) against Malaga, came up very strongly and delivered a big blow to Real Madrid. Robert Lewandowski was a spectacular sight to watch, as he netted four times and left the Madrid players in awe and despair. Right from the first minute, Dortmund played dominant attacking football, and never allowed Real Madrid to grip the game, the way they do. The energy of the players in yellow was astounding, as they kept running breathlessly till the very end, not providing even a single patch of sluggish play.
Real though, still have a chance of coming back in this tie. They need to net quick 2 goals in the return leg, and then the game will be a spectacle to watch. They'll also have to keep an eye on Reus and Lewandowski, and keep them at bay.
Last week's ties were indeed surprising, as Germany seems to have ousted Spain in both Semifinals. It will take a miracle for either side to make a comeback. The Champions League has been full of surprises this year though. Perhaps Real Madrid's away goal will come in handy.
The referee could have blown his whistle at at least two of the Bayern goals. One for offside and the other for tackling the defender. Bayern was clearly the better team so it's hard to see how Barcelona should be able to win this. If Bayern scores one goal Barcelona will have to score at least six goals so they can't afford to let goals in, but still need to make a lot of goals. Messi didn't play at his best in the first match, probably because he has been injured lately. For Barcelona to have a chance I think Messi need to be in better shape in the second match.
It looks like there will be two German teams in the final but both losing teams will be at home in the second match so I guess we can expect the Spanish teams to play somewhat better in the second match.
Barcelona didn't have a chance, especially not with Messi on the bench. 7-0 are big numbers. Well deserved win by Bayern.
Real Madrid got two goals at the end of the game but it was a bit too late because Borussia Dortmund could easily waste the rest of the time.
Two German teams in the final. Why is there only one match in the final?
Yeah. So the outcomes of first legs hold, and the two Spanish sides have been done away with. This was, undoubtedly, a big surprise, but there may be more surprises to come. I'm eagerly waiting for the big clash on the 25th. As for the second leg games, this is what I think:
The game between Dortmund and Real was truly sensational in the dying moments. After Real Madrid had wasted 3 clear chances in the first 15 minutes, Dortmund did the same to themselves at the start of the second half. We saw some brilliant goalkeeping from both the keepers, and when it seemed that all was over, Benzema and Ramos struck within 5 minutes to give Real a real chance to strike back and make it to the final. But Dortmund held on for six minutes, and went on to celebrate at the Bernabeu.
Barcelona were again nowhere close to Bayern even at the Nou Camp, as they lost 0-3 on the day and 0-7 in aggregate. A complete disaster for Barcelona. Robben's goal early in the second half was fantastic, and Pique made it worse by putting the ball in his own net. Muller finished the job for the Germans by heading in his 3rd goal in two games and effectively wrapping up the era of Barcelona. But mind you, the era of Messi is far from over.
After Chelsea grabbed the Europa League in a sensational manner with a Branislav Ivanovic goal in the last minute of stoppage time, all eyes are on the one of its kind Champions League final at the Wembley Stadium on 25th May. The top two German clubs, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have got to the final in their distinctive ways, and will be gearing up for a top quality game. For the neutral, another sensational game with lots of twists and turns would be the ideal setting. The contests between Gotze and Schweinsteiger, that between Muller and Hummels, Lewandowski and Lahm - all these would be a treat to watch. And not to forget, we are going to witness a contest between two great goalkeepers. Let's see how this game turns out.
Apart from my disappointment that Barcelona (and Liverpool) didn't make it into the final, I think for the first time nobody's gonna notice the Champions League Final taking place
X: Hey... are you going to catch the final?
Y: The what?
X: The Champions League Final man!
Y: I really don't know what you are talking about....
Finally, it's the 25th of May. The final of the UEFA Champions League 2012-13 is upon us. Borussia Dortmund will take on Bayern Munich at the Wembley Stadium today. I hope the best team wins (I support Bayern though). And I hope Ronaldo finishes as the tournament's top scorer. He truly deserves it.
Fingers crossed. Which color will shine bright tomorrow - red or yellow?
I would predict red, but it should be a match to remember
Finally, it IS red. Bayern Munich have won the Champions League 2012-13 and lain their demons of the final to rest. Arjen Robben in particular - I applaud him for finally overcoming his choking habit in the finals by creating one and scoring one goal. Bayern deserved it, though Dortmund also played a brilliant game. Satisfied.
Jose Mourinho arrives at Chelsea for a second term in charge after winning two Premier League trophies in a row the last time. I hope he brings fresh talent and grooms the current lot for huge success! All the best, Jose!
Bale may leave Tottenham. What do you all think about this change?