Friday, March 19, 2010

France to have club in Champions League semi-finals!!!

Well that is not a difficult prediction since the two Ligue 1 clubs in the Champions League will face one another in the quarter finals - Lyon versus Bordeaux. Fortune since France is guaranteed a club to get to the 1/2 finals, unfortunate that both clubs do not have a chance to both try and make the next round.

The full draw:

2009/10 UEFA Champions League draw
Quarter-finals: 30/31 March & 6/7 April
1: Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) v FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA)
2: FC Bayern München (GER) v Manchester United FC (ENG)
3: Arsenal FC (ENG) v FC Barcelona (ESP, holders)
4: FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) v PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Semi-finals: 20/21 & 27/28 April
1: Winner quarter-final 2 v Winner quarter-final 1
2: Winner quarter-final 4 v Winner quarter-final 3
Final: Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid; 20.45CET, Saturday 22 May
Winner semi-final 1 v Winner semi-final 2

The irony for clubs like Barca, Arsenal and Manchester United is that two of the "weaker" clubs are facing one another - Lyon v Bordeaux. I am sure Barca would have rather faced a French club over the North London french club. A quick look at the draw -

Lyon v Bordeaux. Bitter sweet draw for Ligue 1. Lyon has shown a different style in the Champions League as opposed to during domestic play. I think this is a complete toss up, but I am going to side with Laurent Blanc's side. Bordeaux go through.

Manchester United v Bayern Munich: The Red Devils fall upon a club that is starting to pick up their game - with Ribery and Robben back healthy they have the width, creativity and pace that could give Manchester United problems. With the Bavarian giants be able to contain Rooney? That will be the key. The former Everton player is playing at a higher level these days and could simply carry the Devils to the next level. I think that Bayern will exploit the weakness on defense withe the Ribery-Robben duo. Bayern Munich with the upset and head through.

Arsenal v Barcelona: Ouch for the Gunners...a few years back they made a great run to the Champions League finals in Paris only to fall to Barcelona. Granted there is no Lehmann present to pick up a red card and throw the North London club into a difficult situation. Underlying all of this will be Cesc versus his former club. With the rumors that continue to swirl around his going back to Spain whether for Barca or Real this summer, Cesc will be very motivated to carry his current club to the semi-finals. Finally the other story line to follow is that Barca plays the way Arsenal strives to play - quality ball control through a quality midfield and look to hit on surgical passes behind the defense. Unfortunately the Gunners look to Bendtner to finish...Barca have Ibrahimovic to finish or Messi or Henry. I cannot see Arsenal finding a way to score enough goals over 2 matches against the defending Champions League champions. Barcelona go through.

Inter vs CSKA: Ah after a battle with his old club, the Special One draws one of the weaker clubs for his next round. Not to say that the Moscow club is a push over, heading to the Mother Land will be no easy task for Inter. However I think that Inter has too much talent and fire power. Unlike Sevilla, they will understand how to manage a return leg if they  have a lead. Inter gets through.

So we will have:
Bayern v  Bordeaux
Barcelona v Inter

I see a Bayern v Barcelona final with the Catalan giants winning back to back Champions League titles.


smh2141 said...

I'm not so sure about the Bordeaux vs Bayern semifinal- even though Bordeaux have been outstanding in the CL thus far this season (only team undefeated). But, lately they have been lacking in form and haven't been able to grind out the wins like earlier this season. Unfortunately- their slump in form is happening at the same time Lyon appears to be peaking.

GFC said...

I would agree, especially after watching them play Marseilles in the League Cup finals. But something tells me that Bordeaux is laser focused on the Champions League this season and want to show well. Lyon is playing better but I just do not see a difference maker for them. I think they beat Real Madrid because they played a very sound strategic game and I think Real Madrid took the first leg off and just thought they could turn in on back in Madrid - let us face it had Higuain been more clinical that is exactly what might have happened.