Well, with the UEFA Champions League is now in full swing , a great deal is expected of the teams. Many of whom have played themselves into contention for qualification, for the next phase of the competition. And if anything for the likes of the major powerhouses of the game, they can ill afford to slip up at this stage of the competition. Only to then bow out, in the most inauspicious and embarrassing of ways.
The initial group phases are already underway and there have been a
number of surprises already. Needless to say, a number teams and their star players’ reputations are on the line. And perhaps , no team is under more pressure to do well in the competition, than the heavily spending Spanish giants of Real Madrid. Laden with unyielding talent, that reads like a who’s who of international soccer stardom. It has to be said that if ‘The Galacticos’ as they’re more commonly known- failure in this competition and there will be turmoil within the Real Madrid organization, from top to bottom. Perhaps, no other soccer team in the world is as fervently and passionately supported than Real Madrid ? But there are those who’ll most definitely state that the supporters of the English Premiership’s (EPL) Manchester United could lay claim to that particular accolade. And one would be hard pressed to deny their claim because of their worldwide fan-base.
The next scheduled phase of games are due to be played on Tuesday, 24th and Wednesday,25th November, respectively. And close scrutiny will be paid to a number of teams and their matches that’ll be played.
Now if like me you’re a passionate follower of the game. Then you’re no doubt enthralled by what’s said to be the most prestigious soccer competition in the world , with the exception of the World Cup, itself. Whereas, the Champions League is a club competition open to the champions of the various domestic soccer leagues in Europe that are affiliated to UEFA,the governing body of the sport in Europe. But also another qualifying criteria is that of the runners up in that domestic league,as well as the existing champion being allowed to defend their title. But if anything, the real allure of this competition is the financial benefits to any team that is able to remain in the competition until its latter stages.There are countless millions of dollars on the line,by way of the revenues generated for those teams.And for many of those teams it’s the very lifeblood that could represent success for them at the end of the day.
Courtesy of UEFA.com
FC Barcelona will be without defender Eric Abidal for the crucial UEFA Champions League Group F home encounter with FC Internazionale Milano next Tuesday after the 30-year-old suffered a thigh injury on international duty with France.
After completing 90 minutes of his country’s 1-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying play-off win in the Republic of Ireland on Saturday, Abidal complained of discomfort in his left leg with subsequent tests revealing the player had damaged thigh tendons. The news will come as a blow to Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola who is preparing his side for games against Athletic Club Bilbao at the weekend, Internazionale on Tuesday, and Real Madrid CF five days later. Barça are third in Group F, a point adrift of leaders Inter and behind second-placed FC Rubin Kazan on head-to-head record, meaning their title defence would end if they lost to the Italian champions and the Russian team beat FC Dynamo Kyiv in Kazan.
If like me you’re a passionate follower of the game. Then, you’ll no doubt be keeping a close and watchful eye on the team or teams that you may be supporting. My own loyalties are divided equally between Manchester United and that of Chelsea FC. Both clubs , whom I’ve supported from childhood,until today. Having been born and raised in the East End of London , I spent part of my youth living in the city of Manchester. And though there were two teams within the city,your choices essentially were, United or their crosstown neighbor, Manchester City.The choice was easy for me,as Manchester United held the far greater legacy and their history has been littered with success throughout almost their entire existence. But not only that,the passion of the fans was unrivaled. And that if anything,lured me to support the team even more fervently. And it was very much the same way with Chelsea. Well, the fact that they were the only London team that I really loved. Essentially, my mind was made up ! ‘The Red Devils’ of Manchester Utd an ‘The Blues’ of Chelsea.
As the competition unfolds, many of us will have our favorites , as to whom we’d like to see in the latter stages of the competition. Much of the time it’s felt that the major powerhouses are likely to prevail. But as so often been the case , it’s easy to make a case for those teams . Only to see them fall by the wayside because of poor form or the underestimating of an opponent. Especially one, that’s viewed as ripe for the taking. And we’re liable to see any one of a number of the more prominent teams fall into such a trap. And that tends to ultimately cost a coach, his position at that club. All seemingly, the blame has to be apportioned somewhere when the players on the field tend to fail. It’s no different in any form of competitive team sport. Especially when the tangible prize at the end of the rainbow simply isn’t just the trophy itself. But the vast financial rewards for the team and its players.
From one avowed soccer fan to those of you out there who’ve taken a keen interest in the Champions League. I trust you’ll enjoy the entertainment being provided by the teams ? And hopefully your team will fare well along the way.
Here are a montage of pictures from the competition thus far. Enjoy.
Matchday 5 – 24 November 2009
Group Home Away
E Debreceni VSC 20:45 Liverpool FC More »
E ACF Fiorentina 20:45 Olympique Lyonnais More »
F FC Rubin Kazan 18:30 FC Dynamo Kyiv More »
F FC Barcelona 20:45 FC Internazionale Milano More »
G Rangers FC 20:45 VfB Stuttgart More »
G FC Unirea Urziceni 20:45 Sevilla FC More »
H AZ Alkmaar 20:45 Olympiacos FC More »
H Arsenal FC 20:45 R. Standard de Liège More »
Matchday 5 – 25 November 2009
Group Home Away
A FC Girondins de Bordeaux 20:45 Juventus More »
A FC Bayern München 20:45 Maccabi Haifa FC More »
B PFC CSKA Moskva 18:30 VfL Wolfsburg More »
B Manchester United FC 20:45 Beşiktaş JK More »
C Real Madrid CF 20:45 FC Zürich More »
C AC Milan 20:45 Olympique de Marseille More »
D FC Porto 20:45 Chelsea FC More »
D APOEL FC 20:45 Club Atlético de Madrid More »
Group B Pld W D L GF GA Pts
Man. United 4 3 1 0 7 4 10
Wolfsburg 4 2 1 1 7 3 7
CSKA Moskva 4 1 1 2 6 8 4
Beşiktaş 4 0 1 3 1 6 1