Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bundesliga-La Liga 8-1

Many people have been hoping for a Real Madrid-Barcelona CL final, but it seems that they will be wishing again. Last night Bayern Munich destroyed FC Barcelona, and today Borussia Dortmund was again superior to Real Madrid (they defeated them in the first round of this very same tournament) winning a resounding 4-1 victory against the Spaniards on a night when Robert Lewandowski became the first player ever to score four goals against Real Madrid in a European match. At times it seemed Dortmund could have made more goals, and Real Madrid was only saved by goalkeeper Diego Lopez and a huge defensive mistake by Mats Hummels that gave Cristiano Ronaldo a free chance to score.
Otherwise, it was a complete debacle for Real Madrid, and it would seem that the final in Wembley could be a Bundesliga final!
And that would be fantastic!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich

With Bayern Munich's power demonstration tonight against FC Barcelona it is obvious that the German side is strong on all its position. But as the great team it is, they want to make sure that the best players come to the club, and today it was announced that Borussia Dortmund's young superstar Mario Gotze is to change to Bayern Munich next season.
Mario Gotze is one of the most exciting young players in the world. Tomorrow he will be facing Ream Madrid in the other CL semifinal, and it therefore seems a bit strange that the announcement was made now. One could even suspect Bayern Munich for speculating about whom they want to play in the final....
No matter that, it is certain that Bayern Munich next season will be an even stronger side, under a new coach Pep Guardiola, and already getting a super player as Mario Gotze.

Mighty Bayern

I knew Bayern Munich was the best side of the four remaining in the CL. And I thought that Barcelona was the weakest side without a working Lionel Messi. But I never thought the difference would have been so large.
Bayern Munich disproved the Barcelona mantra that you need to have the ball to be the better team; the Germans just let the Catalonians pass the ball around, but without fantasy or capacity to do anything with its possession, FC Barcelona begin to look ordinary. And without the real star of the team, Carles Puyol, to dominate defense, Barca basically begin to look like an ordinary side. In almost every attack Bayern Munich were more dangerous; Frank Ribery, Javi Martinez and Arjen Robben (with one goal) were all in complete control of Barcelona, while Thomas Muller (with 2 goals!), was another of the superstars of the side.
FC Barcelona has been considered the best team in the world over the last few years, but with this match they have been pushed from the throne, and although it is not certain yet who will replace them, Bayern Munich are surely candidates.
I cannot believe that Barcelona can recover from this defeat next week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top ten excuses for Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is surely not the best footballer ever, but the most stupid footballer ever, yes.
That said, I would like to give him a helping hand, so I have some suggestions as excuses he can use to defend himself about his latest outrageous behavior:

10. "Ivanovic put his body into my mouth on purpose!"
9. "Have you not seen the size of my teeth?"
8. "The Europeans do not understand Latin Americans and our culture."
7. "I want to be like Mike (Tyson)"
6. "I thought football was a contact sport?"
5. "Give me some credit! At least I did not racially abuse him!"
4. "I love being suspended. It gives me time to play with myself!"
3. "I want 'La Garra Uruguaya' to be renamed 'La Dentadura Uruguaya'"
2. "As you know, we Uruguayans are known for biting into people..."
1. "'You'll never bite alone'?"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Saving Brondby

I must admit that I have not followed the Danish league in detail for ages. Living abroad, with plenty of work and with outstanding leagues to watch in South America, North America and Europe, the Danish league falls a bit in the background.
And the fact that my favourite side, Brondby, has been at the bottom for a couple of years has not helped on the desire to follow the Danish "Super" league...
I therefore had to find out why I was being offered options on Brondby shares when I checked my bank recently. Turns out that the club, on the verge of bankruptcy, is trying to raise 60 Million Danish Crowns through an issuing of shares, where current stockholders receive the right to buy 13 new shares for every share owned.
Believe this: there are few worse investments than investing in a football club! So the stocks worth 80 Euros I bought in years ago was more an emotional investment; to have the feeling that I am still part of the marvelous community that Brondby fans are.
But should I support the stock emission to "save" Brondby and use my options?
The fans have made a webpage calling for fans to contribute so that the club can be "saved": The site is to gather support for the stock emission, but it says really nothing of what "saving" means. Granted, it means that Brondby will not go bankruptcy, and thus not forced down to play in the lower divisions, something that no matter how you see it, will be a huge blow to the atmosphere and excitement of the Danish league. But it seems to me Brondby may go down to the second division anyway (currently they are swerving above relegation), and that to invest in the team may be like pouring water out of the Titanic with a teaspoon...
If I put money into the club, I would like to know what the club wants to do for the future. The team has not been working since Michael Laudrup left in 2006, and a pretty lousy management, sleeping on the misplaced grandeur of the past when Brondby was the "flagship" of European football, let the club be overtaken by petty sides from the middle of nowhere, such as FC Nordsjaelland, Randers and Horsens (!?!?).
I would want a management with their feet on the ground and with a realistic view about what Brondby can achieve over the next 10 years. Frankly, this has to include some hard things to swallow: we are unlikely to win the league in the near future. If we get to play European football we cannot expect to progress beyond the first round.
We are not the 90's Brondby any longer. Wake up.
On they include some famous people that support the club. I have never heard about any of them, except Jan Bartram, a great Danish player from the 1980s who had a rather short career. He is the only footballer I see supporting the club in these difficult moments, and I have to wonder where many of the legends of the club are: Michael Laudrup, Brian Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel, Lars Olsen, Kim Vilfort, Ebbe Sand, Marc Rieper, Allan Nielsen, Daniel Agger....? Legends from Brondby. What do they think about all this?
I am sure that with the talent school, infrastructure and fan-base, Brondby surely can be fighting for the title in the future. But it will take time and realism to rebuild what has been destroyed by lousy management over a long time, and I am not sure I am seeing this in the current "offer" to contribute money to them (which sounds so much better than the fact that they are actually begging).
So what should I do?

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Champions League semifinal

The 2012-13 Champions League semifinals will be as follows:
  • Bayern Munich-FC Barcelona
  • Real Madrid-Borussia Dortmund
Both semifinals are bound to be great matches.
But who are the best of the four teams?
It is not Barcelona. They just pass the ball around, and without Messi their attacking prowess is unimpressive. They are in fact the least scoring team of the four with 18 goals, eight of which have been scored by Messi, who also gas four assists, the same as their midfield general Xavi. Getting to the semifinal they have lost two matches, to Celtic and AC Milan, and after Paris St. Germain shook them, they are surely beatable. That said, their 4-0 trashing of AC Milan in the quarterfinal showed that FC Barcelona are surely capable of great things.
Real Madrid, with 23 goals, is the most scoring team of the tournament, and Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer of the tournament with 11 goals. But they rely less on Ronaldo than Barcelona on Messi, with a wide array of players giving the assists for Ronaldo, such as DiMaria (5 assists), Ozil (4 assists) or Benzema (4 assists). While they are a more complete team, their continued arrogance can shake them, such as Galatasaray did in the semifinal, or Borussia Dortmund did in the first round. Still, Mourinho is the best coach in the world and is hungry for a third CL title with a fourth club.
Bayern Munich looks as the best side of the four, and are eager for the title that eluded them a year ago. They have seemed to get stronger as the tournament progressed and their quarterfinal against Juventus and the last-16 away victory to Arsenal was a demonstration of power. If Bayern does not take the title it might well be the side that beats them. Still, they have been shaken; by Arsenal in the last-16 and by Lille in the first round, their two defeats in the tournament so far.
The only undefeated team of the four semifinalists is also the smallest (although still a big team. Do not forget they won the Champions League in1997!): Borussia Dortmund have won six and tied two of their matches, and this includes a 2-1 win and a 2-2 tie against Real Madrid in the first round. Their super youngsters on the midfield, Mario Gotze and Marco Reus, have been fantastic, and Robert Lewandowski a dangerous striker up front. Thet fully deserve their semifinal spot and I believe that if you are not a Real Madrid, a Barcelona or a Bayern Munich fan, but simply love football, you will be supporting Borussia Dortmund.
Be sure that I will.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The usual suspects

FC Barcelona "messied" themselves in the semifinal of the Champions League with 1-1 at home against a Paris St. Germain team that won some friends today, and surely deserved better than what happened today. The difference was Messi. Make no mistake; FC Barcelona are an outstanding side, but it is Messi that makes them outstanding, and I think that showed today.
In the meantime Bayern Munich was again powerful against Juventus, winning 2-0, and probably presenting themselves as favourites for the title that eluded them last year against Chelsea.
Yesterday Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund made it to the semifinals. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona were all in the semifinal last year as well, but it was the fourth side (Chelsea) who ran away with the title.
I hope the same happens this year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Dortmund comeback

Fantastic comeback by Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal against Malaga. In the 82nd minute Eliseu brought Malaga ahead 2-1 and it seemed the Germans were out. But in the 91st minute Marco Reus equalized, and one minute later Dortmund brought euphoria to Dortmund scoring the winner that puts the Germans in the semifinal.
Do not mind that Santana was off-side; Eliseu was clearly off-side when he scored for Malaga, so a neutral observer could say that it was a deserved compensation for Dortmund, who were the better side in a fantastic match.
Malaga have been a great surprise in the tournament, but it is great to see Borussia Dortmund in the semifinal, and I sure would love to see them go all the way against the arrogant giants that are certain to be the other semifinalists.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Hope is alive

In the previous round of the Champions League FC Barcelona destroyed AC Milan 4-0 after having lost the first match in Italy 0-2. Today, in the first leg of the quarterfinal in Paris the Catalonians got 2-2. FC Barcelona was up 2-1 on goals by Messi and Xavi (on penalty) until the 93rd minute when Blaise Matuidi equalized for the French side to give them hope before the second leg in Barcelona.
In spite of Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring and David Beckham becoming the first player to play Champions League in four different sides, hope is the best that Paris St. Germain has before what will be a very difficult second leg

In today's other quarterfinal Bayern Munich was superior to Juventus in a 2-0 home victory where David Alaba scored after only one minute and Thomas Muller made it 2-0 in the second half.
Juventus' hope is that their defeat was not large enough and that they can pull back on the two goals.
But hope seems really to be the best that Juventus can take away from the first leg. Bayern Munich are currently playing extraordinary football, and as Paris St. Germain, they have a difficult second leg to look forward to.

But one more thing should give Paris St. Germain and Juventus hope: anything can happen in football!