Monday, April 26, 2010

Champions League - Return leg for 1/2 finals

So what can one say about the ability of the Frog to predict matches...um...usually it is the inverse of what is written in this blog! I thought that the Inter v Barca match would be be a tightly played, low scoring match while the Bayner v Lyon had the potential for 4 goals....ooops.

This week we will have the 2 return legs with Inter heading to Barcelona with a 3-1 lead and Bayern heads to Lyon with a 1-0 lead.

First the match in Lyon. OL will miss Toulalan due to a red card while Bayern will suffer the same fate with Ribery. This gives Lyon a slight advantage since Bayern will not have their dangerous left winger. Granted, when Ribery went out Robben stepped up his game and was absolutely impossible to contain, granted once Lyon went down to 10 players he had much more room to roam and his goal was completely deserved. Lyon might be in trouble with their central defenders with Boumsong and Cris coming back from injury. I would think Gonanlons will be slotted as the holding midfielder with Boumsong and Cris in central defense. Much will be expected from the young midfielder to check Robben's runs. However based on what I saw in Munich, I fear that Lyon was overwhelmed by a Bayern team that was clicking with Robben and Ribery running wild on the wings. Even without Ribery, I think that Lyon will have difficulty controlling Robben for 90 minutes. I am not sure that Lyon can keep Bayern off the score sheet, meaning that Lyon will have to score at least 3 goals. Which I fear is to much to ask of this side - prediction: Lyon 1 Bayern 1 - Bayern through 2-1 on aggragate.

The second match comes off a very surprising 3-1 Inter victory in Milan against the team many feel is destined to defend their title of Champions League. Barcelona seemed completely out of sorts during the first leg. Without Iniesta, the Spanish club's midfield revolved entirely around Xavi and his ability to break down the Italian defense. Something he did not have the facility to do as he had against Arsenal. Messi was also contained, every time he came close to the ball he had his national teammate Cambiasso right on his heels usually with another defender to trap the Argentine flea. On the other hand Inter was clinical on the counter attack taking their chances and while the build ups were no way near as pretty as Barcelona's they were very effective - 3 goals. However this tie is far from over - with the away goal in hand, Barcelona have a belief they can get at least 2 goals on Inter. The question will become - can Barcelona hold off Inter from the score sheet? I cannot imagine Inter not taking the same strategy - look to shut down Xavi and keep a shadow on Messi. Inter will then look to continue to beat Barcelona on the counter - feeding Eto'o and Milito. Could Guardiola slot Henry back on the left with Ibra and Messi as a 3 headed attack formation? Try to give the formation much more width with Henry out on the left. This match will be very entertaining. I think Barcelona will come out guns blazing and look to get an early goal. If Inter can stem this early tide they are in good shape, otherwise it might become a back and forth match. I think Barcelona go up 2-0 at half time, Inter scores via Eto'o in the 70th minute only to see Barcelona fight back in added time to get the 3-1 victory which makes the aggregate a tie. In extra time both sides play more cautiously and the game goes to penalty kicks....Barca wins 6-5 in PKs.....

Barcelona v Bayern in the finals....

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