footy musings from a (relative) newbie

Posts tagged ‘juventus’

Club Football is Back! Thank God!

My feelings on international breaks are well documented, which is why I am oh-so grateful for the return of club football. 3 things to look for this weekend:
  • Friday Night Fun*: There’s something neat about Friday night Bundesliga games. I sit at work wistfully wishing I could watch. Mainz 05 host Borussia Dortmund in the game that starts matchday 9 of the Bundesliga. New Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel will be taking on his old team for the first time. What hijinks will ensue?
  • Kop @ the Klopp: Technically, Liverpool is playing Tottenham at White Hart Lane, but like everyone else, I want my Kop/Klopp wordplay, and I will have it, dammit. The Bearded Messiah will have his first league game as Liverpool manager, with  Tottenham keen to spoil the party.
  • Inter Milan vs. Juventus (aka Derby D’Italia): I don’t watch a ton of Serie A, but I’m always up for these big matches. And with Inter in 2nd place and defending champions Juve in 12th, there’s lots at stake.
*Technically, Friday afternoon for us Stateside folk.
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3 Things I Learned From the Uefa Champions League Draw

  1. It’s too damn long.

  1. Arsenal can’t never get a break.

3. You CAN go home again. 

I can’t predict anything until a ball is kicked (how’s that for hedging), but here’s how the groups shook out.

Group A

PSG

Real Madrid

Shakhtar Donetsk

Malmo

Group B

PSV

Man. United

CSKA Moscow

Wolfsburg

Group C

Benfica

Atletico Madrid

Galatasary

Astana

Group D

Juventus

Man. City

Sevilla

Monchengladbach

Group E

Barcelona

Leverkusen

Roma

BATE Borisov

Group F

Bayern

Arsenal

Olympiacos

Dinamo Zagreb

Group G

Chelsea

Porto

Dynamo Kyiv

Tel Aviv

Group H

Zenit St. Petersburg

Valencia

Lyon

Gent

Finals…finally!

Welp! Here we are. After 9 looooong months, the finalists for the two European competitions are

Champions League: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid

Europa League: Benfica vs. Sevilla

I need to get this out of the way: I do not understand how the Europa League final will be contested in Juventus Stadium, but not by Juventus other than to once again lament my terrible prediction skills.

As for the Champions League, the road to Lisbon apparently goes through Madrid.

With Real and Atletico advancing to the Champions League final, it’s that time of year where football pundits declare this or that footballing approach to be dead. Because football pundits apparently have the attention span and perspective of over-caffeinated teenagers.

Can we just say that the footballing approach that is deemed superior is usually the one that is currently being employed to win? Can we also admit that different approaches to the game can win in different circumstances?

When Barcelona was cleaning everyone’s clock a few years back, tiki taka was all the rage, and folk were falling over themselves to praise it. Fast forward to 2013, when Bayern Munich was winning everything in sight, and their brand of football – counter attacking, with a focus on physicality – was being lauded as the best EVAH!

I’d love it if everyone – pundits, fans, players, managers – just owned that they were reacting to who and what was winning in a given moment.

And failing that, it really is ok to just say Team A played better than Team B on the night.

Almost Home

Juventus is really trying my patience losing to Benfica in the Europa League. They should be winning this competition easily.

In the Champions League, we had four very expensively assembled teams and they managed to come up with ONE goal in two games. So the less said about that the better. Say what you will about the Europa League, but at least Benfica, Juventus, Sevilla and Valencia scored some goals in their games.

Lisbon and Turin in Sight

So, it will be Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea.

I’ll admit: these matchups do have me intrigued.

  • Will poor, sad Thibaut Courtois get to play for Atletico against Chelsea – the team that loaned him to Atleti in the first place? (Probably)
  • How will Real vs. Bayern play out after their last epic semi-final two years ago? (Hopefully without penalties!)
  • How far will Jose Mourihno get trying to gaslight Diego Simeone? (My guess is not very)
  • Will Atleti make history and get to the final 40 years after they last made it? (Possibly)
  • Or will we get a Chelsea (Mou) vs. Bayern (Pep) final (Ugh! Anything but that!)
  • Who says football isn’t soap opera, eh?

    In Europa League, it’s Benfica vs. Juventus and Sevilla vs. Valencia (all-Spanish affair alert!) Juventus is winning this, right?

    I’m not willing to predict the Champions League winner because at this level, there’s very little between the teams, which means the games will be decided by the smallest of margins and factors I can’t even begin to think of.

    The Semis are Upon Us

    The two top European Competitions have their final fours (see what I did there).

    In the Champions League, the semi-finalists are

    Atletico Madrid
    Bayern Munich
    Chelsea
    Real Madrid

    The post-mortems on the quarterfinals are as numerous as they are repetitive, featuring headlines about Chelsea’s remarkable comeback, Bayern showing their class, Atletico being the romantics/hipsters choice and Real scraping into the semi-final round.

    There are things I love about this competition, but when it gets to this stage, it often feels anti-climactic, probably because it’s usually the same 3 or 4 teams competing for the trophy every year. And as I’ve said before this is my least favorite part of the tournament because the stakes are so high that it makes the actual games fairly dull (though that doesn’t mean I won’t be watching).

    In the Europa League, Benfica, Juventus, Valencia and Sevilla have made the semi-finals, with Valencia coming back from 0-3 down to beat Basel. Kudos to Valencia, but I would have liked to see Basel in the semis.

    I’d like to get excited about the draw on Friday, but I know UEFA’s going to drag it out.

    The Road to Turin

    So, we have our Europa League quarterfinal matchups.

    Juventus v Lyon
    Benfica v AZ
    Porto v Sevilla
    Valencia v FC Basel

    I stick by my prediction that Juventus will win this tournament. They’re still the best team left in the draw, and the final will be played at Juventus Stadium. How could they NOT win this?

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