Champions League semis showcase changing role of deep-lying midfielder

May 12, 2015

“This season’s Champions League semifinals don’t feature the four most outstanding goalkeepers, defenders, wingers or strikers in the world, but it’s difficult to argue with the selection of deep-lying midfielders. In Sergio Busquets, Andrea Pirlo, Xabi Alonso and Toni Kroos, we’re being treated to an exhibition of probably the world’s four most revered footballers in that role. Between them, the quartet have won the last three World Cups and seven of the last 12 Champions League titles. More crucially, in different ways, they’ve helped redefine the nature of their position.” ESPN – Michael Cox

Bayern’s Champions’ League dream in tatters after late Barça surge

May 12, 2015

“Three-quarters of the way into the opening leg of their Champions’ League semifinal in Barcelona, FC Bayern looked good to take a decent result with them to Bavaria. All seemed well as Pep Guardiola’s side had kept out everything their opponent could throw at them as the clock ticked past the seventy-five minute mark. Then . . . two crushing blows in the space of three minutes turned the tie on its head, with a crippling – and completely avoidable – third goal coming in injury time. In truth, all three goals were avoidable in a game that had looked so good until the wheels came dramatically spinning off on what was a warm, late-spring evening on the Mediterranean coast.” Bundesliga Fanatic

Barcelona v Bayern Munich: the evolution of Pep Guardiola – video

May 6, 2015

“In the build-up to Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg, Jonathan Wilson analyses how Bayern Munich and Barcelona have changed since they last met in 2013; how Pep Guardiola might set up his team and who will he play up front if Robert Lewandowski doesn’t make it; and how Barcelona have evolved under Luis Enrique from the team that Pep built” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Champions League Semi Final: The Barcelona perspective

May 6, 2015

“The biggest event on the footballing calendar is drawing close, and we’re at the last stop on the road to Berlin. With excitement coming close to fever pitch, we at Outside of the Boot decided to get a closer look at the challenges and opportunities each team will face at this stage. Here are the opinions of one of our writers.” Outside of the Boot

Champions League Semi Final: The Bayern Munich perspective Outside of the Boot

Spanish Contenders Can’t Relax Before European Tests

May 3, 2015

“There are two ways to prepare for this week’s Champions League semifinals — the Spanish way, and the way the rest of Europe does it. In Spain, where the domestic title is going down to the wire, both Barcelona and Real Madrid were obliged to put out the best teams they could Saturday to sweat out games played in the upper 80s in Andalusia. Barcelona toiled for over 40 minutes before it opened up and beat last-place Córdoba, 8-0.” NY Times

Like everything in Spanish soccer, the relegation picture’s a complicated one

April 29, 2015

“When Las Palmas’ fans started rushing on to the pitch, there was no indication they would stop. Veteran midfielder Apoño had just given the club a lead that could have sent it into Spain’s top flight. The Basque folk from hilly Éibar had already purchased their seats next to Barcelona and Real Madrid, and so too had Deportivo de La Coruña, now a ghost of the team once hailed as SuperDepor. Only one spot remained in 2014-15’s Primera División.” Fusion

Guardiola Returns to Same Camp Nou, But Different Barça

April 27, 2015

“Early Friday morning, the news that many wanted to hear (and some of us feared) was officially announced: FC Barcelona will face Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final. The two-leg match, which is set to be played in Barcelona on May 6th and in the Allianz Arena on May 12th, will be the most anticipated clash of the season, and will signal the return of Pep Guardiola, Barça’s most accomplished and prolific manager, the man who perfected Cruyff’s tiki-taka style of play, to the Camp Nou.” Barca Blaugranes


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