Champions League Quarter Finals – First Legs

29 03 2010

Just under two months till the final in Madrid.   The month of March will close with the first legs of the quarterfinals.  Tomorrow’s game are as follows:

Bayern Munich  v  Man United

The Germans are in perilous times as they have injury concerns for dutch star Arjen Robben and a suspension of wonder kid Bastian Schweinsteiger.  Munich’s recent struggles in the homeland are coming just as Manchester United is finally healthy.  But you have to love Arjen’s optimistic view.

“Before the draw for the quarter-finals, I said I’d rather avoid Barcelona and Manchester United as I think those clubs are the best – the most complete in Europe at the moment – and yet I’m not fearful about what could happen in Munich or Manchester.”

Indeed this first battle in Munich will be a testy one, but don’t kid yourselves its Manchester’s to lose.    Lets not forget that Man U has been PERFECT on the road in this year’s Champions League.  Impressive is an understatement!

Players to Watch:

Bayern Munich – Ivica Olic – The Croatian Goal scorer has to be on for Bayern Munich.

All eyes will be on whether Arjen plays or not.  If he doesn’t Olic may have to play further back then normal just to help facilitate action.  If Arjen does play, then expect Olic to be a main target.  He’s outclassed his likely striking partner, Miroslav Klose, all season.   The defense of Manchester United will be back to full health and it’ll take all of Olic’s class to net in front of the home crowd.

Manchester United – Rio Ferdinand – The old man is back.

Nice to see the yellow armband on its rightful owner.   Now tomorrow’s match may pale in comparison to the Premier League battle this weekend against #2 Chelsea.  That match-up appears to be the biggest fixture of the entire year.  Will the pressure of that game weigh down the club for tomorrow night?  I think Wayne Rooney’s spectacular form and finally having there captain in the backfield should give Manchester the edge to pull out victories in Munich and set-up the best weekend game of all the European leagues.

Yeah these two should be all smiles tomorrow night.  Manchester United solidifies there road dominance with a convincing 3-1 victory in the heart of Germany.  Wayne nets his 34th goal of the season and sets up a perfect chance to net #35 against those darn London Blues over the weekend.

Lyon  v  Bordeaux

History is going to be made tomorrow night when the first ever all FRENCH quarterfinal happens.  Bordeaux ended Lyon’s 7-year stranglehold on the French Ligue 1 last year and can steal European glory in the quarters.  Its fitting that Bordeaux have to open things up in Lyon at the old Stade de Gerland.

Wow AUDI sponsors = NICE seats for the players and managers.  Bordeaux already have the upper hand when they beat Lyon, at the Gerland, 1-0 back in December.  Bordeaux have never done so well on this European stage and moving onto the semi’s over there hated French Rivals would be most filling.   With all that said, Bordeaux will be without a key figure Alou Diarra.  Alou is the staple of the midfield and the anchor of the defense as he usually sits back there and orchestrates the switch from defense to offense.  The wily vets intelligence and size will be a huge absence.  Also with the form Lyon showed in beating Real Madrid (with Madrid having the chance to play at home in the final!!) is something to not overlook.  The all french battle should be a real highlight to watch.  It’ll go a long way to remind people that the French Ligue has a lot of talent in it, and these are the best two to watch.

Players to Watch:

Lyon – Lisandro Lopez – Argentinian Attacker is a goal-scoring threat that could push the French into the Semis.

Lisandro López

He’s been on fire in the French Ligue netting 12 goals.  In Champions League play he’s been much quieter with only one goal to his name.  Its about time to expect him to finally step up if Lyon are actually going to move on.  With Sidney Govou and Jean Makoun on top goal-scoring form, waking up Lopez should be of highest priority.  Expect Lisandro to be a main target tomorrow night.

Bordeaux – Marouane Chamarh – The Mighty Moroccan

He’s never not been in France and he’s the talk of the country as his contract is open this summer.  Expect to see his name thrown around all the big clubs…Arsene Wenger is a huge fan.  The youngster has been playing amazing football, nine goals in ligue play and 3 Champions League matches.  With Diarra out, expect Bordeaux to come out on the offensive and with playmaker Gourcuff looking so well paired with the Moroccan, expect good things for the French Ligue leaders.

The two youngsters lead the way for les Girondins!  I see a similar shocker as the visitors sneak away with a 1-0 victory, thanks to Chamakh for proving me right as he nets the goal from an assist by Gourcuff.  Yeah i’m predicting it!

Tune in tomorrow as we’ll look at Henry’s return to London and the Italian leaders face the Cinderella story.




One response

21 04 2010

No. But now i will. Thanks for that.

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