Monday, December 19, 2005

Champions League Last-16 draw

The first round of the UEFA Champions League ended with some surprises. The biggest was probably Manchester United's elimination in Group D. Meanwhile Glasgow Rangers managed to sqeeze through behind Inter Milan in Group H, while largely all the favourites continued on from the other groups.
Last week, the draw for the fixtures in the last-16 took place, with some very interesting matches ahead:
Two teams who are currently going through crises in their respective leagues, will be under great pressure to perform in the Champions League. I tip Arsenal to be the better at the moment though, as I do not believe in Madrid after their recent changes.
This will be a classic clash between two of the greatest teams in Europe! Bayern Munich has been looking very strong lately, although the Milanese are never to be underestimated. Both are teams that can make it all the way.
PSV continues from its good performance of last season. However, they will surely have to play their best against a Lyon side that has been simply amazing this season. The French deserve to get very far in this tournament.
Liverpool is playing very well, and will continue figting hard to defend their title. Benfica showed strength however, when defeating Manchester United in their last match. I believe that Liverpool will prevail though.
This is without any doubt the clash of titans. These are the two best teams in Europe at the moment, both leading their respective leagues, and playing awesome football, although very different styles indeed: Barcelona's magic attacking football, against Chelsea's strong defensive style. When they met last season, it was an amazing match, and it is sure to be again. This one is not to be missed!
Glasgow Rangers made it through with their splendid fight. They will ahve to continue doing their best against a Villarreal side who won its group ahead of Benfica, Lille and Manchester United.
The Italians from Juventus are playing well at the moment. Werder Bremen continued from the group by destroying Panathinaikos 5-1, and depending on Barcelona defeating Udinese. The Germans will surely have their hands full against Juventus.
Another classic match. Ajax is not as strong as in former times however, and Inter Milan's awesome strikers, led by Adriano, will be difficult to control for the Dutch defenders.

The first round of matches take place on February 21st and 22nd!

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