Thursday, April 14, 2011

What I think and what I wish

The semifinalists for this season's Champions League are ready after some not overly surprising nor exciting matches. The semifinals are as follows:
That the two Spanish giants are playing one another in a couple of weeks on four crucial encounters is completely unprecedented. No matter how it goes, football history is being made. Although Real Madrid will be hungering for success against their eternal rivals, I do believe that in the CL, Barcelona will carry the day and make it to the final.
Schalke 04 are undoubtfully the dark horse in the semifinals after having eliminated the defending champions of Inter Milan with 7-3 on aggregate. Only number 9 in the Bundesliga, nobody had expected them to be where they are, and they will undoubtfully fight their guts out to make it to the final. That said, they won a lot because of Inter's arrogant stupidity, and that is a mistake that Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United is unlikely to make. While it will surely be an interesting encounter, I think this will be the end for Schalke 04.

I predict a repeat of the 2009 final. But that is not necessary what I wish for.

I like Schalke 04, and in sympathy for the little guy, they are my favourite team of the four left. So I would like them to defeat Manchester United.
I always support FC Barcelona against Real Madrid. Not because I am a Barcelona fan (I support Valencia), but more for dislike of Real Madrid. That said, this time, I would like to see the Marengues facing one of the biggest stars of their history (and one of the greatest players in modern football history), Raul, who at his "advanced" age was made to change to Schalke 04. No matter what I think of Real Madrid I have always found Raul an outstanding player and a football gentleman.
Thus, I would love to see a Real Madrid-Schalke 04 final, where Raul scores the winning goal for his new German team against his old Spanish one!
That would be football history!
But there is always a giant leap from what I wish, to what I think!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Valencia third!

Valencia and Villarreal were playing today their local derby for third place in the Spanish league. These matches are always difficult, so it could as always go to either side even though Valencia had the advantages: they were three points ahead of Villarreal on third spot, and were playing at home.
Indeed, Valencia played one of their best matches of the season, and won a stunning 5-0. Juan Manuel Mata's goal for 2-0 was particularly beautiful.
This was surely the most important victory of the season for a club whose only objective left for this season is to qualify for the Champions League. And in spite of some difficult matches left, this is indeed a giant step on the way!

Thursday, April 07, 2011


As I was at work, and leaving late, I recorded one match. I didn't know which one in fact, but I made sure I heard no results, and quickly put on the match as I came home.
Chelsea-Manchester United was a bore! Manchester United won 0-1 on a Wayne Rooney goal, and will probably make it to the semifinal, but the most notable thing about the match was how lousy Chelsea played, and Ancelotti's very strange insistence on keeping a toothless little boy called Torres on the pitch, instead of what would seem like a deadly striking force in Drogba and Anelka.
It turned out the other match, between FC Barcelona and Shakhtar Donetsk was much more interesting! Shakhtar Donetsk are usually outstanding at home, so it was important for Barcelona to pull a solid result before going to Ukraine. And indeed they did with a 5-1 victory. No matter how good Shakhtar are at home, it looks like Barcelona and Real Madrid will be facing each other in the CL semifinal. In fact, they will be likely facing one another for a period of ten days in all-crucial matches!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Schalke 04 rules!

I think that Schalke 04 were probably considered the little guys in this season's Champions League, and not many would have put money on the German side as they were to face Inter Milan in the quarterfinals. But today any lack of respect for this German side that it is virtually impossible to sympathize with should be totally absent.
Schalke 04 destroyed the defending champions of Inter 2-5 in Milan and should have one foot in the semifinals of the Champions League!
Shame on Inter, who played a horrible match; such lack of concentration can only be blamed on underestimating their opponents, and their desperate outbursts are very uncharming.
If you fall, fall like a champion, and not like pretty arrogant boys!

When Real Madrid's Raul changed to Schalke 04, many people criticized him for not changing to a "big" team in one of the better leagues. The German league is outstanding, probably one of the most talented in Europe, and when Raul changed, he knew he was changing into a team where he would be more than a well-paid veteran substitute.
Raul, the great footballer he is, knew and wanted to be playing Champions League football, and this has now taken him very close to the semifinal of the Champions League, something he had not achieved since 2002 with Real Madrid!
But besides Raul, there are many reasons to be delighted about Schalke 04's triumph! A great club and great fans not the least!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Towards the championship

The European leagues are entering their last stage, and one can begin to see the shape of the champions more or less in many of them:
  • In Germany, Borussia Dortmund destroyed 4th placed Hannover 96, and are 7 points ahead of Bayer Leverkusen with six matches left. They have had an extraordinary season, and it would be a pity if they don't win it.
  • In Italy's local derby between AC Milan and Inter, AC Milan won 3-0. Pato played an extraordinary match in this important step for the Milanese, although the Serie is hot: Napoli took second spot after defeating Lazio, only three points up to first place! It will be an exciting ending!
  • In the Netherlands Twente defeated PSV Eindhoven 2-0 in a hugely important victory to retake the title. There are five matches left, and a five point difference between Twente, PSV Eindhoven and Ajax Amsterdam on first, second and third spots respectively.
  • In Portugal FC Porto defeated second placed Benfica 1-2 in Lisbon, and now 16 points ahead of Benfica and five matches left, is certain to win the championship. The Portuguse league has been completely dominated by a mighty Porto side that might still go through it undefeated!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The white shipwreck

Last night seemed like a normal night in Spanish football: Real Madrid would win against Sporting Gijón at home, while Barcelona would have to struggle in a difficult away match in Villarreal to keep the Madrid team at a distance.
However, it wasn't to be: at home in the Barnabeu, Real Madrid lost 0-1 to little Sporting. It was the first time since 2002 (when he was at FC Porto) that a team coached by Mourinho had lost at home in a league match. The Madrid side had overwhelming possession, but didn't create many chances, and they were outright unlucky in some situations. However, Sporting must be praised for their fighting spirit, and in the end the victory was well-deserved.
With this, Barcelona could take an 8-point lead with 8 rounds left, if they won in Villarreal. And there was never really much doubt about the 1-0 victory; Barcelona were the better team, and the league victory now within reach.
All this was good for Valencia as well. After some lousy rounds, they won 2-4 in Getafe, and overtook Villarreal on the importat third place, which qualifies for next season's Champions League.