For soccer fans, the glitzy Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Championship league games come second only to the excitement of watching the World Cup. The second leg of the Round of Eight begins today so here are some random thoughts about the upcoming games. My money is on the first two games where the offense is all Real Madrid while the defensive money goes to Manchester City.
Tuesday 4/12: Real Madrid – Wolfsburg (first leg 0-2)
One should never dismiss Cristiano Rolando, and yet I am saying “bye bye Real.” Wolfsburg is an excellent example of a team that used well the money it got when they sold Kevin De Bruyne to Manchester City by acquiring Julian Draxler. Draxler was instrumental in both goals.
Tuesday 4/12: Manchester City - Paris Saint Germain (first leg 2-2)
Good teams know who they need and do not mind spending to get it. See the above note about De Bruyne. He is developing into an essential pawn carrying Manchester City to the semifinals. My take on the game is that with two away goals, City will stay in their half and defend. And that’s where my money is.
Wednesday 4/13: Atletico Madrid - Barcelona (first leg 1-2)
Some say that it took a red card to Ferdinand Torres for Barcelona to score. True, but let’s not ignore that Atletico Madrid played an aggressive game, probably taking advantage of the fact that the game referee was F. Brych, who is notorious for allowing forceful and hard tackles. Sure, a goal away is always nice and the return leg will be a battle again. However, I cannot see Lionel Messi and Co. failing to pass the turn.
Wednesday 4/13: Benfica – Bayern Munich (first leg 0-1)
Given the difficulty Bayern Munich had in passing the Round of 16 (a last minute score to tie the game with Juventus, a game played at home), I think that, against all odds only a few months ago, Benfica has a good chance of prevailing. Bayern scored in the first minute of play, a nice goal for sure, and it controlled the ball during the first half. However, Benfica took over in the second 45 minutes. And what about that obvious penalty kick not given to Benfica? I am all for Benfica’s Jonas and Konstantinos Mitroglou.
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