Monday, November 6, 2006

UEFA Champions League - A Snapshot

Thirty two teams, four match days, a span of over a couple of months and already a lot of captivating moments envisioned. UEFA champions league 2006-07 lives up to its expectation so far, with two match days to go in the group stages, and before the top Europeans team go on a two and a half months winter break, preparing for the knockout stages which begins on the 20th February next year.

A glimpse at the group standing in a random order now.

The Morning walk groups:-

Group E:

Lyon, Real Madrid, Steaua, Dynamo Kyiv:
The group is already locked in the first four match days as Lyon and Real Madrid have hurried their way to the second stage. And Lyon looks all set to top group E with 4 wins in 4 matches and only the third team yet to concede a goal(Bayern Munich and CSKA Moskva are the other two). The French champions are having a great season, winning almost all the matches in the back home league and winning them all in the European tournament as well. The new look Real Madrid looks good (only )for a second spot in this group, with Nistelroy in his "proving" season looking good and with players like Robinho, Gattuso and Cannavaro, real is not a team to look and say "oh real, forget it".

Group H:

Milan, Lille, AEK Athens, and Anderlecht:
The group everyone wants to be in. With Milan emerging as the undoubted leaders from group H with 3 wins and a draw (0-0 against Lille away from home), there is still some life in this group for the second place as only one point separates Lille and AEK and both these teams play Milan in coming match days, AEK plays them back home in Greece, and Lille flies to Milan for the match. Both team settled score in their back to back matches against each other at their respective home grounds. Still a lot of both the teams to grab, expecting that Anderlecht at least stay dormant and allow one of these two teams to move to the second round.

Group C:

Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Galatasaray, Bordeaux:
No upsets expected, No expectations denied. Group C sees Stevie G's Liverpool win three of the easy games to stroll to the next stage with the other big team of group PSV, Galatasaray and Bordeaux failing to make an impact, whatsoever even the single match they played against each other. The Liverpool-PSV encounter could see Liverpool leaving the group as toppers, as they play in front of their home crowd. But the way Benitez's team has played in this English season, it wont be a big surprise to see Liverpool compromising the first spot for the Dutch team.

Group D:

Valencia, AS Roma, Olympiacos, Shakhtar:
Forced by Spanish forwards David Villa and Fernando Morientes, Valencia sit at the top of the group with 10 points, and Totti's Roma trail them at 7 points, the other two teams doesn’t seem to give any threat to the top two and it looks like a straight forward entry for the top two teams. Valencia is one team you can bet upon, but it looks dangerously similar to the Spanish national team in the WC, rushing to the knockout stages beating all of them just to get knocked by a team that struggled to get through. Who knows, its just the final score that matters!

The Hard-2-Earn Groups:-

Group F:

Manchester United, Benfica, Celtic. Kobenhaven:
This group has a certain winner as Man U, but the sudden comeback of Benfica in the game against Celtic has some nerves on in the Scottish camp. Celtic, with their fighting defeat against Man U during the first match day and their impressive victory against Benfica, in the first of the two back to back matches made this group look a simple walk through, but Benfica's brave comeback and Kobenhavn's shuddering victory has left it open for grabs for all the three teams, and with Kobnehavn completing both its matches against the strong Alex Ferguson side, the group may very well be open till the last minutes of the sixth match day during the first week on December. Game on!

Group B:

Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Sporting, Spartak Moskva:
Another Group with a very deserving Leader in the German force, Bayern Munich. Oliver Kahn, older but stronger yet to let the ball cross him and kiss the net. Apart from their arrogant draw in the last match, they have been impressive. The team to talk about is Inter, love them hate them, they have the real ingredients to bemuse you, again and again. Coming back from their losses, and winning two matches they have now created a good chance for themselves, but with sporting knocking at their back with a 1 point difference, Group B still has a lot to offer for the teams and for the fans.

Group A:

Chelsea, Barcelona, Werder Bremen, Levski Sofia:
Chelsea Vs Barcelona: Yet again, the hype lives up to expectation, the Drogba goal in dying moments, the Jose Mourinho slide, and the reigning champion's agony. The last minute goal by Messi saved a lot of embarrassment against Bremen during match day 2, and now they sit third in their group with 5 points and facing a very possible elimination, Blames, they won’t matter, there is one thing that matters, the final score. Losing Cech and then the standby keeper Cudicini in course of one match, Chelsea still looks pretty good to stay at the top of the table, and with Bremen's impressive performance consistently, this group becomes the real down to the wire fight.

Group G:

Arsenal, FC Porto, CSKA Moskva, Hamburg:
This is the real group as on today's standings, CSKA sitting pretty at top with 8 points, Arsenal and Porto with 7 each, and yea there is a fourth team as well yet to get off the mark. CSKA beating Arsenal back home and when the Russian team visits England, they get the gentlemen's hospitality at the newly built emirates stadium. Arsene Wenger stating that this could have easily been a 7-1 victory but it ends as a 0-0 stalemate. With 2004 winner Porto(the manager was Jose Mourinho), also sitting with 7 points and Hamburg playing disappointing game, it looks as if CSKA and Arsenal will get through to the second stage, leaving Porto and Hamburg. “Arsenal, you've got to shoot" that's what the sound is from everywhere. And there is again a big chance that the second finalist of last year may face an early exit.



abhishek said...

quite informative!
nice put-up dk.
hail Sportolysis! :)

Sports God said...

gr8 start dk

Raja said...

great analysis...specially in group stages where you lotsa boring matches....
keep up your gud work...write smtthing abt EPL too its becoming quite interesting too....