Dark Horse Chronicles – Manchester City

The darkhorse for this week seems like a crazy name to include because of how they are performing so far in this season. As well as the fact that they ended last season as Champions. They set a new points record with 100 points in the Premier League, so how can they be a darkhorse? … Read moreDark Horse Chronicles – Manchester City

Small Club of the Week – Red Star Belgrade (2nd Award)

Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!

Additionally, since there hasn’t been any matches played in the other tournaments I usually pull from for this series – though the FA Cup will play its first round this weekend – I’ve decided to revisit one of our previously featured teams in the series this week, due to their unexpected win in Champions League yesterday.

Red Star Belgrade (FK Crvena zvezda)

Nickname: The Red-Whites
Founded: 4 March 1945
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Team Colors: Red & White
Ground: Rajko Mitić Stadium
Capacity: 55,538
Current League: Serbian SuperLiga (Tier 1 of Serbian Association)
Website: http://www.crvenazvezdafk.com/
Twitter: @crvenazvezda_en

Reason For Notice

Red Star started with a draw in the Champions League group stage, a result I covered in the recap of Matchday 1 in the tournament. That scoreless draw was followed up with two (expected) losses to Paris Saint-Germain (6-1) and Liverpool (4-0) that left them in last place in Group C after three matches. Nevertheless, they managed to overcome that same Liverpool team on Matchday 4, winning 2-0 at home behind two first half goals from Milan Pavkov. They are still in fourth place in the group, but their path to perhaps finishing third and moving on to Europa League has increased, with FiveThirtyEight giving them a 14% chance of finishing third in the group. They have to win at least one of two matches that remain, especially because they have a goal differential of -7, so they would most likely lose a tiebreaker should they end up tied with another club.

Read moreSmall Club of the Week – Red Star Belgrade (2nd Award)

Dark Horse Chronicles – Borussia Mönchengladbach

After a brief visit to the Premier League, we’re going to take another trip back across the English Channel, this time to Germany. Our Darkhorse of the week is Bundesliga club Borussia Mönchengladbach (Gladbach for short), who get this honor based on their performance this year over last year.

Gladbach is one of the most storied German programs of all time, and during the 1970s Gladbach won 5 Bundesliga titles and finished runner up twice more. During this span they also won the UEFA Cup for the 1974-1975 and 1978-1979 seasons, finishing as runners up two more times. They’ve also had two European Player of the Year selections in Igor Belanov (1986) and Allan Simonsen (1977). They’ve also had players selected as the nationality player of the year (i.e. Kasey Keller, USA Player of the year 1997, 1999, and 2005) on numerous occasions.

More recently, they were relegated from the Bundesliga in 2006-2007, although they won promotion the following season. They’ve stayed in the Bundesliga since and under the Lucien Favre years 2011-2015 (now the Dortmund head coach/manager) the Foals had success until the last portion of his tenure where after a string of successive losses, Favre resigned. Favre’s replacement, Schubert, got the Foals back to the Champions League, however, he too would resign the following season after struggling mightily. Dieter Hecking was appointed as Gladbach’s newest manager in January 2017.

Read moreDark Horse Chronicles – Borussia Mönchengladbach

Small Club of the Week – BSC Young Boys

Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!

Young Boys of Bern

Nickname: The Yellow-Blacks
Founded: 14 March 1898
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Team Colors: Yellow and Black
Ground: Stade de Suisse (since 2005)
Capacity: 31,783
Current League: Swiss Super League
Website: www.bscyb.ch
Twitter: @BSC_YB

Reason For Notice

With the Champions League kicking off this week, I thought I would preview another long-shot club in the tournament, this time a club that has made the Champions League Group Stage for the first time in their history. Unlike previous entry in this series Red Star Belgrade, who had to play through multiple qualification rounds to reach the group stage, Young Boys entered the tournament during the playoff round, the last round before the Group Stage. They defeated Dinamo Zagreb of Croatia in that round, securing a berth in the Group Stage

Read moreSmall Club of the Week – BSC Young Boys

Small Club of the Week – Red Star Belgrade

Note: This weekly series will look for teams outside of the top flights of European football to find true underdog stories of clubs well below the radar. Clubs will be featured based on performance in the various tournaments that happen concurrently with the league seasons, or even strong runs in some of the leagues that dot the European football landscape. Chances are, these clubs will be years away from finding a home at the top flights of football – if they are ever able to get there – but it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve attention from time to time. If you happen upon a team that you think might qualify, feel free to drop me a line on Twitter @GuruEbby or @SportMuseNet!

Red Star Belgrade (FK Crvena zvezda)

Nickname: The Red-Whites
Founded: 4 March 1945
Location: Belgrade, Serbia
Team Colors: Red & White
Ground: Rajko Mitić Stadium
Capacity: 55,538
Current League: Serbian SuperLiga (Tier 1 of Serbian Association)
Website: http://www.crvenazvezdafk.com/
Twitter: @crvenazvezda_en

Reason For Notice

This week is a little different, if only because there wasn’t any giant killers in English football this week. Because of that, I decided to look to the UEFA Champions League, which held its group stage draw on Thursday last week. And though they are not the lowest ranked club (currently ranked 119th) to reach the Group Stage – that distinction belongs to Greek club AEK Athens (ranked 123rd) – Red Star Belgrade was the team that played the most rounds to get to that stage, mostly because of their football associations’ 28th-place rank by UEFA coefficient. So even though they were the champion of their league last season, and one of the most successful clubs in Serbia, I felt their long odds overcome in the course of their qualification for the Champions League warranted a mention in this series.

Read moreSmall Club of the Week – Red Star Belgrade