Friday, November 26, 2004

Champions League Matchday 5

For this CL round, I only had the opportunity to watch Monaco-Liverpool and PSV-Arsenal. Liverpool against Monaco was quite a bore. Liverpool defends well, but attacked little, so the game did not swim in chances. PSV has been a great positive surprise this season, and I actually expect they can get very far. Although Arsenal was a disappointment, Gus Hiddink's troops did not do more than they had to. Even when two men ahead, they did not lose their cool: they always knew that their quarterfinal spot was secure.

A thing about the first round of this CL is that it is becoming increasingly hard to see a winner: so many teams are incredibly strong! I still would tip Barcelona, although they only got a 1-1 at home to Celtic. But you got to give Celtic the spirit thye play with is great, and Barcelona will have to open up sometimes.

However, some of the Italians are looking strong: Juventus went on to the fifth 1-0 victory in a row! That has to be a record, although it does not seem the most exiting. Inter is sure to go thrugh, while a feverish game awaits between Valencia and Werder Bremen in Mestalla for the next round! Valencia must win by 1-0 or two goals ahead (this is because in case of equal points, the decision is taken for games between the contenders). At least the results went Valencia's way, and it is now in their own hand.

AC Milan is also looking strong, now with the great Argentinian Hernan Crespo, who really returned with strength, scoring two goals in the 4-0 victory against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayern Munich is another strong contender. The goal-machine Roy Makaay scored again in the 5-1 destruction of Maccabi Tel Aviv. Nobody will want to play the South Germans, who after a couple of dry seasons, now seem to be back at former levels.

Dynamo Kiev would also count here. They did what they had to do, defeating a disillussioned Roma side in Moscow 2-0. But this group will go to a really exiting finale. Amid appalling continued racist chants from Spanish spectators, Real Madrid could not defeat Bayer Leverkusen, and is now forced to defeat Roma in Rome (or, if they tie, hope Dynamo Kiev wins against Leverkusen). Both Leverkusen and Dynamo Kiev have their own destiny on their own hands, unless Roma saves some face and defeats Real Madrid.

On December 7th and 8th we will know which teams continue as champions, and which are losers!

No comments: