Newcomers Give Champions League Exotic New Venues

September 28, 2009

“Four relatively unknown teams from remote corners of Europe will host their first UEFA Champions League group stage games. Debreceni VSC, Rubin Kazan, F.C. Unirea Urziceni and APOEL Nicosia are competing with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United for a share of more than $1.5 billion and the most coveted title in European club soccer.” (NYT)

UEFA Champions League Video Previews, Predictions, and USA/UK TV Listings: Sept 29 and Sept 30
“The UEFA Champions League has its second set of group stage matches on Tuesday, September 29th, and Wednesday, September 30th. Some of the key matchups included Manchester United v VfL Wolfsburg, Bayern Munich v Juventus, and Real Madrid v Marseille. Several of the matches will be televised throughout the world including in the United States and United Kingdom. Here are a list of predictions, some video previews of specific matches and USA and United Kingdom TV listings for UEFA Champions League Group Stages matches for September 29th and 30th.” (The 90th Mintue)

Pretenders march on as rivals flounder
“While Real Madrid CF, FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC continue to cruise along nicely at home, several of their UEFA Champions League rivals approach Matchday 2 with much to ponder after weekend setbacks.” (uefa)

UEFA Champions League Power Rankings: Tuesday, September 22, 2009
“The 90th Minute Soccer Blog is glad to announce the UEFA Champions League Power Rankings that will be released after each set of group stage matches. The rankings are based mainly on teams performance in the Champions League and not necessarily a reflection of their form in domestic or other competitions. This means that a team could theoretically be 3rd or 4th in their domestic league table but 1st or 2nd in the overall Champions League power rankings.” (The 90th Minute)

Inter bring glitz and glamour to Kazan
“FC Rubin Kazan coach Kurban Berdyev likened FC Internazionale Milano’s visit to ‘a public holiday’ in the Tatarstan capital as the Russian champions await their first UEFA Champions League home game in Group F on Matchday 2.” (uefa)

Martens identifies tonic for AZ ills
“AZ Alkmaar have lost three Eredivisie matches in a row, but Belgian international Maarten Martens hopes the extra motivation of the UEFA Champions League will spur them into life against R. Standard de Liège on Tuesday.” (uefa)

Bougherra aims to shut out Sevilla
“Madjid Bougherra is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Frédéric Kanouté and Luis Fabiano as Rangers FC prepare to take on Sevilla FC in Group G on Tuesday.” (uefa)

Cypriots Find Way Into the Richest of Candy Stores
“The great and the good, the richest of the rich of the global game were gathering in this tax haven on Thursday. They came to honor Lionel Messi. He and his Barcelona pals, who won almost everything in Europe and Spain last season, will play here Friday when they take on Shakhtar Donetsk, winner of the UEFA Cup, to decide the European Super Cup.” (NYT)

Matchday 2 number crunching
“As Wayne Rooney prepares to make his 50th appearance in UEFA club competition and Olympiacos FC aim for their first competitive win on English soil, we check out the facts and figures behind this week’s fixtures.” (uefa)

Football abandons the fantasy that it is a business

September 28, 2009

“‘The debt comes from players’ salaries. Nothing else. It doesn’t come from soccer balls,’ Francisco Roca, who runs the Spanish league, told the men who run football. We all have fantasies about discovering the roomful of people who control everything. In football, that is the International Football Arena. The conference’s yearly meeting in Zurich looks like the headquarters of a global conspiracy. Agents, club bosses and lobbyists gather in Swiss suburbia to chart the future of the football business. Earlier this month, sports economists gathered in a dingy Parisian office block. The two gatherings brought one stark realisation: hardly any football clubs will ever make profits. Football is abandoning the fantasy that it is a business.” (FT – Simon Kuper)

Middle Classed Out

September 28, 2009

“The other day I was reading something about the historic 19-year ineptitude of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The once proud Bucs, who can recall a rich history dating back to the 1800s and fielding such all-time greats like Honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Mike Lavalliere, aka Spanky, are now the undisputed laughingstock of North American pro sports, especially since the Detroit Lions snapped their 19-game losing streak Sunday.” (That’s On Point)

Revierderby Madness: A “Wembley Goal”, Celebrating in Front of Opposition Fans, and a Possible Backwards Headbutt

September 28, 2009

“Plenty of drama in the Revierderby this weekend, where FC Schalke 04 won 1-0 at BVB Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. First there was the ‘did it cross the line?’ moment when BVB’s Lucas Barrios long range strike hit the underside of the bar and bounced down either inside or outside of the goal. The YouTuber who posted the above vid called it a “Wembley Goal”, which I’m assuming is a reference to the infamous Geoff Hurst goal from the 1966 World Cup Final.” (The Offside)