Morbo Minute–European Preview

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

————–

Group A

FC Bayern Munchen (GER)

Villarreal CF (ESP)

Manchester City FC (ENG)

SSC Napoli (ITA)

The Yellow Submarine survived a playoff scare from Danish team OB to progress to the group stage, which promptly put them in the proverbial Group of Death.  Only Bayern were in the Champions League last year, with the other three teams competing in the Europa League.  Die Roten host the Final at the Allianz Arena next May, so there their aim is to be in it, and I expect them to progress.  As for the others, City has bought an imposing team so they will be a factor.  Could be argued that inexperience might be a factor but most of their players have been in this competition before. Napoli will be trying to build on a memorable season, but I see them struggling to fight on two fronts.  As for Villarreal, they must win their win home matches, as simple as that.  I don’t see them going on the road and coming back with points.  Do that, and they might sneak in.

Projection:

FC Bayern Munchen (GER)

Manchester City FC (ENG)

Villarreal CF (ESP)

SSC Napoli (ITA)

————–

Group D

Real Madrid CF (ESP)

Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)

AFC Ajax (NED)

GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Real Madrid can book a spot in the Round of 16. Ajax was in their group last year and offered nothing, and, despite entering as Dutch Champions, I don’t see anything changing.  As for Lyon, los Merengues face the French power again.  These have been tight matches in the past, but the Evil Empire has gotten stronger while Lyon has had their players picked off again. Zagreb will be tough at home, but don’t see them doing much, maybe getting a win against Ajax and probably finishing with four points are so.

Projection:

Real Madrid CF (ESP)

Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)

AFC Ajax (NED)

GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

————–

Group E

Chelsea FC (ENG)

Valencia CF (ESP)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER)

KRC Genk (BEL)

Valencia are back in the Champions League after another third place performance in the league.  My original comment about last year’s campaign was that it was poor, but then I did a little research.  They crushed Bursaspor and comfortably took care of Rangers.  My opinion was formed on the matches against United, in which they did very little.  Chelsea should control this group with AVB reshaping the squad and getting a shot at the top club competition.  There will be the interesting story line of Mata facing his former team and how the Mestalla responds.  As for Leverkusen, @OutsideMid offered the following comment: Weaker through the spine this season, disjointed in attack. If they go through, possibly due to hands of young GK Leno/Adler.  I’ll be honest, I don’t know anything about Genk.

Projection:

Chelsea FC (ENG)

Valencia CF (ESP)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER)

KRC Genk (BEL)

————–

Group H

FC Barcelona (ESP)

AC Milan (ITA)

FC BATE Borisov (BLR)

FC Viktoria Pizen (CZE)

The defending champions have an interesting group.  Obviously there is the glamour tie against AC Milan, which according to Bobby McMahon (@BobbySoccerRep) and Anto (@rossoAnto), these two games will allow AC Milan to see where they stack up and also give the Rossoneri a “free shot” at the champs while avoiding them in the Round of 16, a la Inter of 2010.  FCB will also need to improve their performances on the road, well not performances but results, an area they have struggled the last couple of seasons.  BATE and Pizen will not offer much besides a nice trip or a chance to blood younger players.

Projection:

FC Barcelona (ESP)

AC Milan (ITA)

FC BATE Borisov (BLR)

FC Viktoria Pizen (CZE)

————–

EUROPA LEAGUE

————–

Group F

Paris Saint-Germain FC (FRA)
Athletic Club (ESP)
FC Salzburg (AUT)
ŠK Slovan Bratislava (SVK)

Bilbao were drawn against Trabzonspor in the playoff round, and, after a scorless draw at the San Mames, the return leg in Turkey was cancelled as the Turkish club got promoted to the Champions League due to Fenerbahce’s involvement in a match fixing scandal.  My knowledge of Sazlburg and Bratislava is non-existent.  Los Leones should go through with PSQatari, as this competition should give their new signings a chance to bed in and make a run in Ligue 1.

————–

Group I

Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP)
Udinese Calcio (ITA)
Stade Rennais FC (FRA)
Celtic FC (SCO)

Atletico beat Vitoria from Portugal 6-0 on aggregate.  And then Inter got screwed on the Forlan transfer.  (He is ineligible for the CL group stage and cannot play in the EL knockout phase if Inter qualify for that and Atleti are still in.)  Hopefully their new signings hit the ground running because they will need goals to get through this group.  Udinese will be fighting on two fronts despite losing players from last year’s campaign (Inler, Sanchez and Zapata).  At the time of this writing, Celtic is in the competition after Sion used ineligible players in their playoff tie.  The 3-1 win for the Swiss became a 6-0 aggregate win for the Scots.

I don’t know enough about the teams in this competition to really predict how they’ll finish.  I do think both Spanish teams will progress out of their groups.


Advertisements
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: