Monthly Archives: August 2012

Champions League Update: Monchengladbach Give Kiev a Scare

Away from home, needing three goals in the second half, Borussia Monchengladbach almost pulled it off, scoring two (one was actually an own goal). A win for the German team would have given someone a very easy draw in the Champions League, by pushing up Olympiacos to Pot 2 and Celtic, the perhaps worst team in the competition based on recent seasons in Europe, into Pot 3.

Instead (unless something drastic happens):

Pot 2:

Dynamo Kyiv

Pot 3: 

Olympiacos

Galatsaray

Spartak Moscow

Lille/Copenhagen (in extra time right now)

Pot 4:

Cluj

Celtic

For the rest of the seedings, look at my last post.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid lead the Clasico on away goals. Still 75 minutes to go…

 

2012-13 Champions League Qualifiers and Draw

Today’s Champions League Qualifiers: 

Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-1 BATE Borisov  (1-3 on aggregate)

Anderlecht 2-0 AEL Limassol (3-2)

Maribor 0-1 Dinamo Zagreb (1-3)

Udinese 1-1 (4-5 PSO) Braga (2-2)

Panathanaikos 0-0 Malaga (0-2)

No real surprises, then.

August 29th Champions League Qualifiers, 19:45 BST

The last two games are really mouthwatering, and Celtic could finally advance to the group stages.

CFR Cluj-Basel (2-1)

Celtic-Helsingborg (2-0)

Fenerbahce-Spartak Moscow (1-2)

Dynamo Kyiv-Borussia Monchengladbach (3-1)

Lille-Copenhagen (0-1)

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW

-Teams to avoid capitalized and in bold

-Lucky draws underlined

-Clubs cannot be drawn against a club from the same country

Pot 1

2

3

4

Chelsea

Valencia

Ajax

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Barcelona

Benfica

Anderlecht

BATE Borisov

Manchester United

Shakhtar Donetsk

JUVENTUS

Dinamo Zagreb

Bayern Munich

Zenit St. Petersburg

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Malaga

Real Madrid

Schalke 04

Winner of Copenhagen-Lille

Montpellier

Arsenal

MANCHESTER CITY

Winner of Spartak Moscow-Fenerbahce

Nordsjaelland

Porto

Braga

Galatasaray, Olympiacos, Basel, Celtic, or CFR Cluj

Galatasaray, Borussia Monchengladbach, CFR Cluj, Celtic, or Helsingborg

AC Milan

Dynamo Kyiv(with win)/Olympiacos

See Above

See Above

WHICH TEAMS WILL BE IN POTS 3 AND 4?

 

Cluj defeats Basel (Cluj up 2-1, at Basel)

Basel wins

Kyiv defeats Monchengladbach (Kyiv up 3-1, at home)

Pot 3: Olympiacos, Galatasaray

Pot 4: Helsingborg-Celtic winner, Cluj

Pot 3: Olympiacos, Basel

Pot 4: Galatasaray, Helsingborg-Celtic winner

Monchengladbach wins

Pot 3: Galatasaray, Celtic/Cluj

Pot 4: Cluj/Helsingborg, Monchengladbach

Pot 3: Galatasaray, Basel

Pot 4: Helsingborg-Celtic winner, Monchengladbach

Potential Group of Death:

Real Madrid

Manchester City

Juventus OR Paris Saint-Germain

Borussia Dortmund

The winners of Europe’s four major league could get drawn together (Madrid, City, Juventus, Dortmund)

Group of Life:

Porto

Braga

Anderlecht

Helsingborg-Celtic winner

Seriously, who would be favored to advance here? Porto crashed out of last year’s Champions League from a group that was just as easy- it did involve long trips to Russia and Ukraine.

Shaky Starts in the Premier League

Liverpool

After the hapless 3-0 humiliation at West Bromwich Albion, with games against Manchester City, Manchester United, and Arsenal coming up, it looked like Brendan Rodgers would not last long in the notoriously short-lived job of football manager. How one point changes perception so drastically…

Many of the same problems that haunted Liverpool last year are still around— most notably the weakness at the back (against West Brom) and the inability to win games they dominate (against Man City, who looked very poor in their 3-4-1-2).

In both games, the defense looked uncomfortable with Brendan Rodgers’ passing philosophy, but that is to be expected, after only two games. Indeed, the fact that the players stuck with the game plan despite the errors says something about their trust in Rodgers.

Long term, Brendan Rodgers will help Liverpool. The errors will disappear, the Premier League’s best midfield (together with Man City-the two cancelled each other last game) will flourish, and Liverpool will contend for the top four.

One thing Rodgers got wrong, however, was not moving to a more defensive lineup after his side took the lead the second time. Particularly strange with two wingers on the pitch, both unnecessary and exhausted.

United, Arsenal, and City have all lost points, and the Reds host the former two in two of the next three games.

Manchester United

The problem here is, quite simply, their defense. They were completely overrun against Everton and allowed two to Fulham. Yes, four of their five center backs are injured, but the one that isn’t, Nemanja Vidic, has looked terrible so far, even scoring an own goal. Two years ago, Vidic was the best center-back in Europe, and captain of a strong United defense. Now, in charge of a much weaker back line, with no central midfield, he looks out of his depth. Worrisome, for the Red Devils.

Manchester City

City have the best squad in the Premier League, but sometimes that doesn’t matter. They got all six points from the Manchester Derbies last year and only won the title on goal difference— United got six more points against everyone else in the league. The fact is, that no matter how much better City’s squad is than United’s and Chelsea’s, both of those teams will beat the Wigan’s and Aston Villa’s of the league most of the time. City, for some reason, doesn’t seem to have the same motivation as those teams against lesser sides.

On a different note, the 3-4-1-2 is not working. Strange for Mancini to try it against Liverpool’s 4-3-3.

Neither Arsenal nor Spurs have won yet, with Arsenal’s offense lacking both the assist and the finish, and Tottenham already finding out why Andre Villas-Boas failed at Chelsea.