Posts Tagged UEFA Champions League

Sky Sports Germany pokes fun at Spanish football

The Champions League has reached its final stage and the Germans are rejoicing. It’s the first time that two German teams will be facing each other in the final.

So naturally, like a good sport, when you are winning you make fun of the opposition. That’s exactly what Sky Sports Germany has done. In an ad released earlier this month, the sports broadcaster quite literally sticks it to the Spanish.

The ad is set in a bull fighting arena and dramatic music builds up to the mighty bull fighter’s entry. We see only the maestro’s feet but sadly it’s all over before you can even say Vamos.

All our hopes of a handsome, brave, Spaniard are dashed as a fat, mustachioed old man with Bayern and Dortmund flags up his rear end is revealed as the bull fighter.

The video ends with the words “Adios amigos! The way to Wembley.”

One can only wonder how bull fighting fan Sergio Ramos is coping with all this hurt.

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UEFA Champions League Final: Chelsea’s road to Munich

In less than 5 hours, Chelsea will take on Bayern Munich in one of the most awaited Champions League finals. Both teams are trying to make up for finals past. Bayern Munich lost the 2010 final to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan and will want to avoid the heartbreak of losing the final on their home ground. Chelsea, on the other hand,  lost the 2008 Final to English rivals Manchester United after their captain John Terry slipped and missed a penalty. It is the Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich’s dream to win the Champions League – a competition Chelsea have never won.

The Blues are finishing sixth in the English Premier League and the only way they can qualify to play in the  Champions League year is by winning the Final today. Their road to Munich has been anything but smooth. Here is a look at their remarkable Champions League campaign.

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Bayern Munich would want to avoid the embarrassment of losing a final they are hosting

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A Guide to Champions League Group F

The top team in this group is Chelsea FC and I like believing that being in Group F is a sign that we are going to be in the Final. So the question is: Are any of the other teams from this group going to end up in the Final? Here is a quick guide to help you decide:

Chelsea FC

I don’t think anyone here would’nt know about Chelsea FC. But just in case I am going to tell you a little about them (it’s always  fun to revisit our greatness). So here goes, Chelsea FC, a South-west London club was founded on March 10, 19o5 at The Rising Sun pub (now The Butcher’s Hook). Despite their name, Chelsea are not based in Chelsea but in neighbouring Fulham. They have spent most of their history in the top tier of English football and are the current English champions. Not only do Chelsea play winning  football they are also extremely cool.  In 1930, Chelsea FC featured in one of the earliest football films, The Great Game. Chelsea also appear in the Hindi film Jhoom Barabar Jhoom. Our song “Blue is the Colour” reached number five in the UK Singles Chart and Bryan Adams is a Chelsea fan and he dedicated the ‘We are gonna win’ to the club.

Last season, Chelsea scored a massive 103 goals (an average of 1.89 goals per game) to be crowned champions and striker Didier Drogba won the Golden Boot award as the league’s top goalscorer.

Manager: Carlo Ancelotti

Stadium: Stamford Bridge (capacity: 41,841)

Nickname: The Blues

Honours: Chelsea have been English champions four times, FA Cup winners six times and League Cup winners four times. They have also won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup twice. In 2008, Chelsea reached the Final of the UEFA Champions League.

Trivia: In the 1997-98 season, Chelsea played in one of the strangest matches against a Tromso, team based 100 miles into the Artic Circle. At one point, the match had to be stopped so that the lines could be cleared of snow.

Chelsea is owned by Roman Abramovich, the richest Russian in the world and the second richest person living in Britain. But did you know what Roman’s middle name is? It is Arkadievich, Roman Arkadievich Abramovich.

Quite simply, Chelsea FC is the best club in the world with  one of the most talented teams in the world, super fans and a world-class manager in Carlo Ancelotti.

Olympique de Marseille

Olympique de Marseille is a French club founded in 1899 and play in Ligue 1. They have spent most part of history in the top tier of French football and are the current French Champions. They were however relegated in 1994 over a bribery scandal. Most Chelsea fans know Marseille as Didier Drogba’s former club.

Manager: Didier Deschamps

Stadium: Stade Velodrome (capacity: 60,031)

Nickname: l’OM

Honours: Marseille have been Ligue 1 winners 9 times, and have won the Coupe de France a record 10 times. In 2005, they also won the UEFA Intertoto Cup. In 1993, Marseille became the first and only French club to win the UEFA Champions League.

Trivia: The Club’s motto is Droit Au But, which translates into Straight to the Goal.

Their home game song is ‘Jump’ by Van Halen, it’s played before every home game.

Their goal song is Puff Daddy’s ‘Come With Me’, it’s played every time they score a goal at home.

FC Spartak Moskva

FC Spartak Moskva is a football club based in Russia, Moscow. They play in the Russian Premier League and finished runners-up to the title. Chelsea supporters will remember this club as the club in whose stadium we lost the 2008 Champions League Final to Manchester United on penalties.

Manager: Valery Karpin

Stadium: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow (capacity:78,360)

Nickname: Krasno-belye (The Red-Whites),  Myaso (The Meat)

Honours: Spartak have won 12 Soviet championships (second only to Dynamo Kyiv) and 9 Russian championships. They have also won the Soviet Cup 10 times and the Russian Cup 3 times. Spartak have reached the semi-finals of all three European club competitions.

Trivia: In the Soviet era, the club was owned by the Collective Production Farms which got them them the nickname ‘Meat’.

MŠK Žilina

MŠK Žilina is a Slovak football club, based in the town of Žilina. They are the current Slovakian champions and are one of the most successful clubs in the Slovak Superliga, having won 5 five championships since the league’s inception in 1993. This is MŠK Žilina first appearance in the UEFA Champions League.

Manager: Pavel Hapal

Stadium: Stadium Pod Dubnom (capacity: 11,181)

Nickname: Šošoni (after the Shoshone Native American tribe)

Honours: MŠK Žilina have won the Corgoň Liga 5 times and ended up runners-up 3 times since 2003. They have also won 4 Slovakian Super Cups and were UEFA Cup quarter finalists 1961.

Trivia: Stadium Pod Dubňom is named after the hill Dubeň adjacent to which it is located and literally means “Stadium under the Duben Hill”. However, the stadium is more outer-space than under the hill!  Due to specific instructions from the previous Chairman, when viewed from above the stadium is designed to look exactly like the Starship Enterprise as his children were huge Star Trek fans.

In 2003, Chelsea played MŠK Žilina in their first game after Roman Abramovich bought the club. Zilina play their first UEFA Champions League game against Chelsea today.

Honours: UEFA Champions League winners 1992/93, UEFA Intertoto Cup winners 2005, Ligue 1 winners 9 times including last season, Coupe de France winners 10 times.

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A Guide to Champions League Group C

After a long wait, the Champions League kicks-off today. Group C, more popularly known as Manchester United’s group is in action today. Manchester United play the Scottish champions Rangers, a club with whom they share quite a history. While the other two teams in Group C, Bursaspor and Valencia play each other in the second match of Group C on Matchday 1. Here is a quick guide to all the clubs in Group C:

Valencia CF

Valencia C.F aka Valencia Club de Fútbol is a Spanish professional football club founded in 1919 and based in Valencia, Spain. They are one of the most successful and biggest clubs in Europe and play in La Liga. Valencia is third behind Real Madrid CF and  FC Barcelona in the All-Time La Liga Table, an overall record of all match results, points, and goals of every team that has played in La Liga since its inception in 1928. Valencia are the only Spanish club outside the El Classico pair to have won more than five continental trophies.

Manager: Unai Emery

Stadium: Mestalla (capacity 55,000)

Nickname: Los Che,  Els taronja (The Orange),  Murciélagos (Bats)

Honours: Valencia have won six La Liga titles and seven Copa del Rey trophies. In Europe, Valencia have reached seven major European finals, winning four of them including  two UEFA Super Cups, one UEFA Cup, two Fairs Cups which was the predecessor to the UEFA Cup, one UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, one UEFA intertoto Cup and one Spanish Super Cup.  They also reached two UEFA Champions League finals in a row, losing to La Liga rivals Real Madrid in 2000 and then German club Bayern Munich in 2001.

Trivia: Valencia’s nicknamed Bats came from the bat on Valencia’s crest which is taken from the city’s Coat of Arms. Legend has it that just before James I, King of Aragaon, conquered the city from the Moors, a bat landed on top of his flag, which he interpreted as a good sign.  (I like to believe Valencia is batman’s club!)

One of their most notable former players is Argentinean goal machine Mario Kempes – when he was at the club, the whole of the Mestalla would shout “Don’t say Kempes, say goal!” every Sunday.

Manchester United

Manchester United Football Club is an English professional football club that plays in the Premier League.It is one of the wealthiest and the most supported club in the world and seriously unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last some years, you would have heard about Manchester United. These guys are one of the scariest English teams out there. They have incredibly talented players, one of the best managers (if not the best manager) in the world in Sir Alex Ferguson and this season some of their older players like Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs seem to have perfected the process of aging backwards.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson

Stadium: Old Trafford (capacity: 75,957)

Nickname: The Red Devils

Honours: Manchester United is the joint-most successful club in the history of English football having won a joint-record 18 league titles, four League Cups and a record 11 FA Cups, Manchester United is the joint most successful club in the history of English football. In the 1998-99 season, they became the only English club to win the  Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League treble.

Quite simply, if your club is drawn against Manchester United, you might want to start praying.

Rangers

Rangers Football Club  based in Glasgow are the current  Scottish Premier League title holders. They were named ‘Rangers’ after an English rugby club in 1872 and are sometimes referred to as Glasgow Rangers, although the word Glasgow is not part of the club’s official title. The club’s traditional support largely comes from the Protestant community, while their biggest rival Celtic’s comes from the Catholic community.In 1961, Rangers became the first British club to compete in a European Cup Final when they reached the Final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. The 2010-2011 season is the Rangers’ 50th European campaign. They have competed in European competitions in more seasons than any other British club. In fact, only Real Madrid, Barcelona, Anderlecht and Sporting Lisbon have taken part in more campaigns

Manager: Walter Smith

Stadium: Ibrox Stadium (capacity: 51,082)

Nickname: The Gers, Teddy Bears

Honours: The Rangers have won a record 52 domestic League titles, more than any other club in the world. They had an exceptional season in 1898-99 where they finished with a perfect record of 18 wins in 18 fixtures. After that every year from 1988–89 season until the 1996–97 season, Rangers won the league title ,making it an incredible nine consecutive titles. In 1961, Rangers became the first British club to compete in a European Cup Final when they reached the Final of the Cup Winners’ Cup. In 1992, the Rangers defeated Leeds United in the qualifying round to become the first British club to appear in the UEFA Champions League. They played in the UEFA Cup for the first time in the 1982-83 season and reached the 2008 UEFA Cup Final at the City of Manchester Stadium where they lost 2-0 to Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg.

Trivia: Manchester United manager Ferguson was a boyhood Rangers’ fan and he played for Rangers from 1967 to 1969 and scored 35 goals in 66 appearances for them in all competitions.

The Rangers’ assistant manager is former Scotland striker and all-time leading Rangers goalscorer Ally McCoist.

Bursaspor

Bursaspor is a professional Turkish football club, formed in 1963 and located in the city of Bursa. They are the current Turkish title holders and are the lowest-ranked team in the competition based on UEFA coefficients, having qualified for the Group Stages as Turkish Champions. This is the first time they will play in the Champions League. However, one must remember that to win their first title (and to become the first side from outside Istanbul to win the Turkish title since 1984), Bursaspor had to beat the likes of Fenerbahçe SK, Galatasaray AŞ, Beşiktaş JK and Trabzonspor AŞ,.

Manager: Ertuğrul Sağlam

Stadium: Bursa Ataturk Stadium (capacity: 25,213)

Nickname: Yeşil Timsahlar (Green Crocodiles)

Honours: Bursaspor won their first Süper Lig title in 2009–2010. They are only the second Anatolian club to win the competition. They have also won one Türkiye Kupası (Turkish Cup), two Prime Minister Cups, and 2 TFF First League titles.Their first, and most successful, foray into European competitions came in the 1974–75 European Cup Winners’ Cup, where they reached the quarter-finals. They also participated in the 1986–87 edition of the cup, but lost in the first round. In 1995, Bursaspor participated in the UEFA Intertoto Cup, but lost in the quarter-finals.

Trivia: The club’s main fan base is known as Teksas (Texas)

Bursaspor have a  trademark ‘crocodile walk’ goal celebration which was invented by Ugandan forward Majid Musisi during the UEFA Intertoto Cup match against German side Karlsruher SC on 2 August 1995.

The arms of Valencia show those of James I, King of Aragon.

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Chelsea: What Went Wrong?

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Chelsea’s season started off with a roar under Carlo Ancelotti  but now it seems likely to end in a whimper. I have been trying to make sense of why bad things happen to good clubs ( mood music would be good here) and here is what I think are some of the reasons (excuses as some cynics might point out) why we’ve lost our form in the last few weeks:

1. Champions League

Let me be the first one to confirm to everyone out there that YES, we were rubbish on the night. Now, having said that I do however feel that we have been getting a very raw deal from referees in the Champions League. Last year against Barca was truly horrible and its probably because of that terrible display of referreeing that this year’s ‘pretty bad’ referreing is not being paid much attention. We had at least one if not two sure shot penalty claims in the second leg at home. The Inter defenders were groping our players to the extent of the whole thing being  nauseating and very disturbing! Even if we don’t consider these penalties which we should have got in the second leg, I cant help but think about that foul on Florent Malouda in the box in the first leg, which once again was a sure-shot penalty. Had that penalty been given, it would have completely changed the tie.

2. Jose Mourinho

What can I say?  He is the Special One and his tactics were spot on. He knew exactly how to wind Drogba up, how to stop Chelsea playing and how to utilise his most potent weapons in the magnificent Wesley Sneijder and the incredible Samuel Eto’o. He knew exactly how to play us and play us he did. Mourinho is a great tactician and that is the reason every single club with dreams of conquering the world and money to spend, want him. I was never one of those who agreed with Roman’s decision to sack Mourinho but then I guess Roman had his reasons or may be just his ego (which I am guessing is hurting reaaal bad right now).

3. Carlo Ancelotti

The past few weeks, ever since the Champions League exit, more and more of us are singing woeful laments about losing the Special One to Inter. Now I have nothing against singing (except I prefer hitting the happier notes), but lets not forget that Carlo Ancelotti is a great manager with 2 Champions League trophies to his name. He has a lot of experience handling big name players and managed to get more out of  Kaka than Real Madrid are managing to now and more importantly he got more out of Andriy Shevchenko than Mourinho ever could. His only fault this season to me seems to be his rather conservative use of our younger players, may be thats an after effect of having come from the slightly more laid-back Serie A.  Hopefully, he has learnt albeit the hard way that ours is in fact an ageing squad!  I feel its too early to count him out and that he will get it right at Chelsea, he just needs time.

4. Injuries

We are not a very ‘lucky’ team, are we? We don’t get decisions our way and well, we get the worst injuries at the worst time. Michael Essien is probably my favourite mid-fielder and his absense has had a huge impact on us. Ashley Cole’s injury was a major blow too, especially seeing the form he was in!  Add to that Petr Cech (who actually is our only goal-keeper) and then our substitute goalkeeper Hilario (which probably worked to our advantage!).  And now when its crucial for us to win all our matches, Ivanovic who’s been probably Chelsea’s best player this season is injured. I know other teams have had their share of injury problems with  United playing with an entirely make-shift defense at the start of the season and Arsenal were without  RVP and Cesc and so we shouldn’t really use our injury problems as an excuse but all I am saying is it affected us and probably we should have coped better with it but we didn’t.

5. John Terry’s Off-field Scandal

As much as I’d like to believe that revelations about JT’s personal life have nothing to do with our football. It seems they do. Basically because JT and the rest of the team are human and negative news as much as they try and not let it affect them, affects them all the same. Remember the Manchester City game? I mean I don’t think even Manchester City thought that such a result was possible but with the whole Wayne Bridge ‘will-he-wont-he-shake-hands’ nonsense reaching  fever-pitch on the day wound Manchester City up so much that it cost us 3 (precious) points.

Those were the gory details of our fall from top of the table, but the good news is, it is not over yet. We have a game in hand against Portsmouth tonight which helps us make up a bit of ground. Our destiny is in our hands and our plan really can’t get simpler… win all the remaining games. Ktbffh.

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Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo Crash Out of the Champions League

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Real Madrid’s were stunned by French side Lyon as they crashed out of he Champions League at their home ground. This is the sixth successive season in which the world’s richest club in revenues was knocked out of the last 16 stage of the competition.

The Spanish giants started the game well with Cristiano Ronaldo netting his seventh Champions League goal of the the season and levelling the aggregate scores at 1-1 in the 6th minute of the game.Real Madrid failed to capitalize on their early lead and were made to pay for the several missed chances as Miralem Pjanic smashed home an equaliser for Lyon in the 75th minute.

The scoreline could have been worst for the Blancos had Lyon’s Lisandro and Cesar Delgado, both not missed chances when clean through at the end.

With Real Madrid’s home ground the Bernabeu being the venue for this year’s final and £240m worth of signings of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, expectations were running high in Madrid.

This failure to make it past the round of 16 leaves Real Madrid manager Manuel Pelligrini under a lot of pressure with many already speculating Jose Mourinho to replace him.

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Liverpool crash out of the Champions League

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Liverpool crashed out of the Champions League last night despite winning their match against Debrecen in the Hungarian capital.French international David Ngog’s first half strike put the Reds ahead of Debrecen in the must-win group-stage match. Liverpool, who won the Champions League in 2005 and were runners-up two years ago, needed to not only win their match but also needed Lyon to beat Fiorentina order to reach the Final 16 for the knock-out stages of the competition.

Unfortunately for the Reds, Fiorentina beat Lyon 1-0 in their match in Tuscany, ensuring that Fiorentina progressed at Liverpool’s expense. This is the first time in six years that Liverpool has failed to make it past the group stages of the European competition. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was left ruing the late goals conceded by his team against Lyon. They had been beaten 2-1 by the French champions at Anfield before drawing 1-1 at the Stade Gerland.

“It was our own fault in the end, the late goals we have conceded along the way have cost us,” said Benitez. “We have been so good in the last few years that maybe people think it is easy to qualify in all competitions. You have to be disappointed. We knew we had to win and we did. We can’t change what happened in the other match, but at least we did our job. If you look at the games, two late goals made a massive difference.”

Liverpool is expected to suffer a budgetary shortfall of about £2.4m for this season as a consequence of their group exit and this could be made worse if they continue their run of bad form in the Premier League and  fail to finish in the top four, adding another £10m loss. This would have a significant impact on the asking price of £100m for a 25% stake in Liverpool, which the owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett are looking to sell.

Rafael Benitez, however, played down the financial aspect of failing to progress to the knock-out stage.”

“You have a budget at the beginning of the season and it assumes that we have qualified for the group stages of the Champions League. We did this. Two or three more games maybe, in terms of money, won’t make such a big difference. The main thing for us is to finish in the top four and to be in the Champions League group stages again next year”, said the Liverpool manager.

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow, insisted that Liverpool could withstand the financial impact of the early elimiation and added that Rafael Benitez’s position as Liverpool manager will not be undermined by Champions League exit.

Christian Purslow said, “This will have no bearing on Rafa whatsoever. He signed a new five-year deal four months ago and in those terms he is four months into a five-year journey. You don’t deviate from long‑term plans for people and the way to take the club to the next level because of two late goals against Lyon, and that’s what it boils down to.”

Liverpool will now be playing in the newly formed Europa League with the likes of Valencia, Benfica and neighbours Everton.

Liverpool plays crucial Merseyside derby match at Goodison Park in the Premier League on Sunday.

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