UEFA Champions League – PSG v. Liverpool Nov 28

PSG v. Liverpool (Group C) – November 28th Champions League Group C Group C is one of the few groups that is completely up for grabs, with only 2 points separating the top and bottom teams. With this small of separation, it’s possible that goal difference could become completely irrelevant depending on how the games … Read moreUEFA Champions League – PSG v. Liverpool Nov 28

Champions League – Matchday 4 Recap

After four matches in the Group Stage of the Champions League, there has Witbeen some separation. That said, only one club – Barcelona – has officially clinched a spot in the Round of 16. There are an additional six clubs that have been eliminated from reaching the Round of 16, though they can still technically finish third in their groups and qualify for the next round of Europa League.

As mentioned in our last matchday recap, Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens were the only two clubs in the tournament without a point. They remain that way after Matchday 4 after both failing to win. While both are still technically in the mix for Europa qualification, chances are they won’t even make it there, most likely because of their large goal differentials (-9 for Lokomotiv and -8 for AEK Athens) and poor results against the other clubs in their group.

Here are some of the more shocking results of the fourth day of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Liverpool
I talked about this match in our weekly Small Club of the Week piece, because Red Star is one of our favorite “smaller” clubs and it was nice to see them achieve victory in a tournament where the odds were stacked against them. I wanted to mention it here because of the impact that it had on Group C. Napoli and Liverpool remain tied at the top with six points, but Paris Saint-Germain has five points and Red Star has four (they tied Napoli on Matchday 1). Red Star has an outside chance at qualifying for the Round of 16, with matches remaining at Napoli and at home against PSG, but they would need some help to do so. I’m pulling for the club obviously,, if only because it might mean that PSG fails to advance after their financial malfeasance (and subsequent coverup) was revealed this week.

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Champions League – Matchday 3 Recap

We are halfway through the Group Stage in the Champions League, and we have three groups that have leaders with the maximum of nine points. While they are not yet assured of advancing to the knockout phase, their chances are much higher, and they can be sealed up with wins on Matchday 4 in two weeks.

We also have two clubs with zero points through three matches, so they would have to go on and amazing run to redeem their Champions League play and possibly qualify for the Europa League by finishing in third place in their groups. However, neither club – Lokomotiv Moscow and AEK Athens – were favorites to advance coming in, and they have shown with their play thus far that people were right.

Finally, we have two of our own “favorite” clubs in the tournament – Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys – that are probably going to miss out on Europa as well. While they have both scored one point through three games, they are far behind their groups in fourth place with terrible goal differentials. I have higher hopes for Young Boys moving up to third, if only because they just drew with the club ahead of them in the group, but they will need to find three points against two clubs that have already defeated them easily.
Here are some of the more shocking results of the first round of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Atletico Madrid
Atlético Madrid entered the Champions League Group Stage as the second-ranked club in UEFA; Borussia Dortmund entered in 10th. One would expect a competitive match under those circumstances, not a 4-0 destruction. Maybe Atletico chose not to send their Best XI to the match because they were tied with Dortmund with six points heading into the match, far ahead of the other two clubs in Group A. Maybe they knew that Matchday 4 would see a rematch, except at home in Madrid, so they expect to even the score then. Either way, both clubs are still the overwhelming favorites to advance out of the Group, and will fight for the first position, if only to face off against another group’s second finisher. But the only other matches in the Champions League that have had as lopsided of a score were matches between top clubs and qualifiers, not from two of the top 10 clubs in the tournament.

Read moreChampions League – Matchday 3 Recap

Champions League – Matchday 2 Recap

The next 16 matches have been completed in the Champions League, and we have what is probably the first real upset, at least if pre-League expectations are to be believed. We also had all the Premier League teams ending with disappointing results, and our two Small Clubs in the draw – Young Boys and Red Star Belgrade – pretty much punch their tickets out of the competition with terrible results.

Here are some of the more shocking results of the first round of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Bayern Munich 1-1 Ajax
Bayern Munich is the second best club in UEFA, at least according to the club rankings. Ajax isn’t chopped liver, but they are currently ranked 29th. But the club from the Netherlands went into Munich and picked up a draw, and with it, first place in Group E after two matches. Bayern has to be disappointed in dropping two points in a home match, especially when most of the other favorites in other groups are sitting with six points after two matches. It could be worse, I suppose, and playing AEK Athens in three weeks might be just what the doctor ordered to right the ship for Bayern.

CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid
As bad as it is to draw against a lesser team, at least Bayern didn’t lose to Ajax. We can’t say the same about Real Madrid, the NUMBER ONE TEAM in UEFA, who lost to the team right behind Ajax in the rankings. Granted, the match was in Moscow, and Real remains the favorite in Group G, but it should be viewed as a wake-up call for the defending Champions League champs.

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Champions League – Matchday 1 Recap

The first 16 matches have been completed in the Champions League, and they mostly went as expected. But there were still some surprises, and this will highlight some of those results instead of the so-so march to the final that it seems that Real Madrid is on yet again (they started things off with a 3-0 victory at home against Roma).

Here are some of the more shocking results of the first round of matches from around Europe (based on UEFA rankings heading into the match or location). Home teams are listed first:

Manchester City 1-2 Lyon
Manchester City qualified for the Champions League group stage as the top club from the English Premier League last season, winning in dominating fashion, losing only two games and dropping a total of 14 points all season (32-4-2), on their way to the first 100 point season in Premier League history. Lyon, on the other hand, qualified based on their third-place finish in Ligue 1 on France, distantly behind champion Paris Saint-Germain and only one point ahead of fourth-place Marseille. Yet the Kids from Lyon defeated Manchester City at Etihad Stadium in their first match in the Champions League.
Manchester City is still favored to win the group, and still have the fourth-best chance of winning the entirety of the Champions League, but getting behind 2-0 at home to the third best team in the group isn’t a good start. They’ll need to bounce back against 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany in a couple of weeks to prove that the opening match wasn’t a fluke and to get back on the winning path. Lyon, on the other hand, faces off against Ukrainian champion Shakhtar Donetsk at home, hoping to continue the fight for a second place finish and advancement to the Round of 16.

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Champions League – Group Draw

After two and a half months of qualifying play, we’ve finally reached the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League! But before matches kick off on 18 September, the qualifiers had to be drawn into their respective groups.
Six qualifiers – who joined at various stages of the qualification depending on the UEFA coefficient of their association – have to fight through five qualifying rounds. Only one club that entered in the first qualification round – Red Star Belgrade – made it through to the Group Stage. They are joined by Ajax (second qualification round), AEK Athens & Benfica (third qualifying round), and Young Boys and PSV Eindhoven (Play-off round).
The 26 teams that are placed directly into the Champions League at the Group Stage are pulled from the following associations:

  • 11 champions from associations 1–11
  • 6 runners-up from associations 1–6
  • 5 third-placed teams from associations 1–5
  • 4 fourth-placed teams from associations 1–4

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