Elimination part 4 of 4

17 03 2010

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Are they still the best in the world?

Barcelona  v  VfB Stuttgart

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The Camp Nou!

With the aggregate at 1-1 and Barca owning that key away goal its hard not to pick the world’s best team.   Stuttgart director of sport Horst Heldt talked about what type of game his German squad will have to play.

“If we want to achieve the impossible, we have got to play the game of our lives,”.

And Lionel Messi is already looking ahead to the future, “Once again, I expect the big challenge to come from England in the Champions League. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are potential finalists and all of them are capable of winning the title as they have great players and great unity in their teams”.

Chelsea won’t be in that mix, but the other two English giants have moved on.  This game will come down to what Stuttgart tries to pull out of there magic hat.   Whatever it is it’ll have to deal with the world’s best player who has been on as of late, Lionel Messi.

Messi did give his German foes credit though, “Nothing can be taken for granted,” he continues. “Everyone thought we would comfortably win in Stuttgart but we had to settle for a draw and it makes the second leg not so certain, but this kind of situation was to be expected after what we achieved in 2009”.

The Catalan giants will be with out vets Eric Abidal, Xavi and possibly there fiery captain Puyol.

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Ok calm down Carles, you’re team is still STACKED with talent and geez if you want to play I guess you can.  The Germans on the other hand don’t have any new injuries.  Both sides should come out to play and score goals.  The fearless Barca manager Pep Guardiola had this to say, “If we play to defend, we will be sent packing.”.  Should lead to an EXCITING match in beautiful Barcelona.

Players to Watch:

Barcelona – Daniel Alves – Fiery Brazilian will need to show up in Defense

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With Abidal out and possibly Puyol out, Alves’ speed and vision will need to be there for Barcelona to look good.  Xavi also being out means the defense will rely on Sergio Busquets to play back.  His wing play could ignite a few runs and Alves isn’t afraid to take a shot or two from distance.

Stuttgart – Aleksandr Hleb – The Belarus star went the full 90 last time against his old club.

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He’s by far the most heralded player on the German team.  His play-making ability is key to any success Stuttgart have.  Don’t be surprised to see an early German goal, but in the end its hard to not think Messi, Henry, and Ibra won’t pull out the necessary goals to move on to the quarters.

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Gotta respect the kings!!!  The Germans will score, but the Spanish will move on with a convincing 3-1 victory.

Bordeaux  v  Olympiakos

The French hold the aggregate 1-0 and that goal was in Greece.  All that can change though with one goal from the Greeks.  With all the turmoil in the homeland, Olympiakos can solidify there spot as greatest Greek team with a huge CL quarter birth.  Bordeaux midfielder Yoann Gourcuff says it best,

“They have their backs to the wall, so they will try to put us under a lot of pressure at the beginning of the match.”

“It’s up to us to play intelligently and to recover the high balls in their area.”

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Laurent Blanc has his team on the verge of the quarters and he knows it.

“I want to beat them to go through to the next round. I think Bordeaux will make it.”

Players to Watch:

Bordeaux – Alou Diarra – the Captain has battled injuries all year, but seems full fit for this game.

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Diarra knows the leg is there’s to lose.

“They are well organised and can be dangerous at set-pieces. They have a lot of international players. It is up to us to finish the job.”

Its ironic he brings up the Greek’s set-piece ability, most of Bordeaux’s goals come on them as well.  In fact the defenders have netted a few goals on corners, Diarra would love to join his defensive mates with a goal too.

Olympiakos – Kostas Mitroglou – 21 year old Greek Striker needs to score.

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He only had one shot in the first game.  He needs to amp it up if the Greeks have any hopes of moving on to the quarters.  Their country’s in turmoil and a victory would bring so much pride back to the people.  This is a huge game for both sides and it’ll be fun to see what happens.

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Give me the FRENCH.  The fans will delight with a late goal by Gourcuff to make it 2-1 and 3-1 aggregate victory over the Greeks.

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