Real Madrid rallies; Manchester City, Dortmund cruise in Champions League

September 15, 2016

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“Defending European champion Real Madrid scored twice in the final minutes to turn defeat into victory on a Champions League night that was far livelier and less predictable than the first half of Matchday 1. After a string of thumping wins for the elite clubs on Tuesday, Wednesday brought tension and drama. A Bruno Cesar goal had had Sporting Lisbon dreaming of an improbable victory, but Cristiano Ronaldo leveled with an 89th-minute free kick against his former club before Alvaro Morata’s injury-time header delivered the three points.” SI – JONATHAN WILSON


Gulf in class evident for Barcelona, Bayern Munich in Champions League openers

September 15, 2016

“The build-up to this season’s Champions League was dominated by talk of the disparity in resources between the haves and the have nots of European football and two of the superclubs playing on the first day of this season’s group stage did nothing to dispel that. Favorites Bayern Munich and Barcelona cruised to 5-0 and 7-0 victories over Rostov and Celtic, respectively, to kick off this season’s competition in style.” SI – JONATHAN WILSON


Werder Bremen: Impressive Business yet sinking feeling?

September 6, 2016

“Junusovic with the free-kick, in to Pizarro, on to Ujah and Djilodobji, it’s in, it’s in! Never had the Weserstadion erupted to the sound of the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles quite like that last day victory over Eintracht Frankfurt. They had done it; Viktor Skrypnyk’s side had dragged themselves out of the relegation abyss in the most dramatic of fashions. After the jubilance of survival in that manner passes, the realisation that changes need to be made normally follows: Werder were no exception.” Outside of the Boot


Bayern Relaxes, Dortmund Look Backward And Other Week One Impressions

September 1, 2016

“It’s one game. Never get too bold about season long team qualities on one game. But it’s the first game. The first actual games we’ve seen in months means there’s a lot to learn. We can at least start to sniff some stylistic choices from a few teams, see some potential problems for others, and can confirm that Andre Schürrle might lead Europe in both shots and key passes. Again this is week one so we are going with light impressions, no firm conclusions, but here are some things that caught my eye.” Stats Bomb


2016-2017 Season Preview: For Bayer Leverkusen, the Time is Now

August 28, 2016

“There are a few on Bayer’s squad who warrant close attention: 1. Kevin Volland, because he’s the team’s most expensive ever signing, 2. Jonathan Tah, because he’s going to be the future of the CB position in Germany, or 3. Benny Henrichs, because the youngster seems to have the talent to play almost anywhere on the pitch and has only impressed during his time with the first team. That said, if you watched the Olympics you know that there’s really one player set to steal the spotlight this season, and that is Julian Brandt. If the Games were any indication, he has added a new dimension to his game to go with his speed and technical ability.” Bundesliga Fanatic


Neymar the hero of a nation as Brazil fans look for villains

August 23, 2016

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“There were real grounds for concern when the final of the men’s Olympic football tournament went to penalties. How often do the Germans lose a shootout? Winning the gold medal was much more important for Brazil – they were in front of their own fans in the Maracana stadium, this was the only title they had never won and their game badly needed a boost.” The World Game – Tim Vickery


Over/Under: European club, season predictions for 2016-17

August 20, 2016

“With the new top-flight seasons set to kick off in Italy and Spain this weekend–and Germany one week later–and the Premier League just underway, there are lots of predictions to be made and questions to be answered. Will the competitive imbalance in France, Germany and Italy continue to be a problem? Will we see a surprise winner in any league? Will there be an outsider who cracks the Champions League elite? And just who will Jose Mourinho fall out with next? With all of those questions–and more!–in mind, we take a look at the European club landscape in the over/under prism to provide as much clarity as possible entering a nine-month quest for trophies and championships…” SI