Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Champions League 1/4 finals surprise surprise

Some interesting story lines are emerging from the Champions League and the first day of 1/4 final matches. First Bayern Munich find a way to come back after an early Rooney strike to find a 2-1 victory.  A little bit of revenge from the 1999 finals where Manchester United pulled back 2 goals in the dying minutes to complete their treble. Granted this is the 1/4 finals and there remains the difficult return leg in Manchester. However if Rooney, who limped off late and was seen on crutches, is not available for the return leg while Bayern might be getting Robben back it might be game over for the Red Devils. Ribery already terrorized the English champions with his runs on the left wing, add a healthy Robben to the right wing and I am not sure Manchester United will be able to pull back the victory. With the two fast wingers, SAF will need to change his midfield allowing for Park and Valencia to assist the wide defenders in containing the Bayern wingers. This might limit the ability for the Red Devils to take advantage of the offensive runs from Evra. Of course Manchester United do have the away goal and are heading home, so they technically sit in the driver's seat, however if Bayern score first and if Rooney is not 100% that advantage is minimal. Throw into this equation the fact Manchester United are playing Chelsea this weekend in what many are touting the match for the league title and the next few days will be difficult for Manchester United to navigate.

The second, all French affair, was not as one sided as the final score would indicate with Lyon securing a 3-1 victory over Bordeaux. The game was wide open with both sides with great opportunities and Lloris making some tremendous saves to keep his team at 1 goal against. Bordeaux had some chances with Gourcuff playing closer to his top level than he has in the past few months. Lyon did show an ability to sustain their game, to constantly attack from any area of the pitch and defend as a block. With Lloris playing the way he is, Lyon have to believe in their ability to get to their first semi finals of the Champions League. This might be a bad omen for Bordeaux who lost to Marseilles this past weekend in the League Cup finals, if they cannot find a way to climb out of the 2 goal hole next week they will drop out of another competition. What started as a very promising week is not looking as positive.

Some highlights:

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