2018 Champions League: Round of 16

In February, the playoffs in the Champions League begin. In Sweden, we especially look forward to the matchup between Manchester United and Sevilla. Currently, there are two Swedish players in United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Victor Nilsson Lindelöf, however there are questions about the status of ‘Ibra’s’ knee. In this post you can read about the round of 16 matchups with game dates and predictions. As usual, the teams play each other twice. Goal difference followed by most goals scored away work as tiebreakers.

Round of 16 in the 2018 Champions League

First game (Second game, with reverse home / away teams):

February 13 (March 7):

Juventus – Tottenham

Comment: Interesting Italian – British match-up. Juventus tend to be strong in the Champions League so we place our bets on them. 1-0 at home, then 0-0 away for the Italians? Although, the question is if Italian football has recovered since the loss against Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers? 😉

Basel – Manchester City

Comment: Manchester City is described as one of England’s best league teams ever and should have no problem dismissing Basel.

February 14 (March 6):

Porto – Liverpool

Comment: Difficult to predict…

Real Madrid – Paris SG

Comment: Real Madrid lags behind in La Liga and will therefore wholeheartedly go for the Champions League this year. They will eliminate Neymar and the French.

February 20 (March 14):

Bayern Munich – Besiktas

Comment: Bayern advances to the quarter finals.

Chelsea – Barcelona

Comment: Great match up! But Spanish football is still a little hotter than Chelsea?

February 21 (March 13):

Sevilla – Manchester United

Comment: Nice draw for Mourinho, Ibrahimovic and Lindelöf. The question is if Zlatan’s knee holds up? Unless otherwise, we will gladly enjoy Victor Nilsson Lindelöf’s defensive battles.

Sjachtar – Rome

Comment: Roma!

So, our prediction is the following teams in the quarter finals:

Juventus
Porto / Liverpool
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich
Barcelona
Manchester United
Roma

From there, everything depends on the draws.

Champions League 2016-2017: Schedule and fixtures

August will soon turn into September which means that the biggest Football leagues of Europe will start. One of them is the prestigious Champions League tournament. Last season Real Madrid defeated local rivals Atletico in the final and thus became the champions. This year we find Ronaldo and Real in Group F where they are drawn against Dortmund, Sporting Lissabon and Legia Warszawa. In this post you find the drawn groups and schedule for the group phase as well as dates for the play offs matches. The two best placed teams in each group advances to the playoffs.

Groups:

Group A:

Paris Saint-Germain
Arsenal
FC Basel
Ludogorets

Comment: PSG (without Zlatan Ibrahimovic who went to Manchester United) and Arsenal should be on top in this group.

Group B:

Benfica
Napoli
Dynamo Kiev
Besiktas

Comment: A tough group to predict, but chances are the Italian teams (Benfica, Napoli) will have a good chance to advance.

Group C:

Barcelona FC
Manchester City
Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Celtic

Comment: Barcelona and Manchester City are the two strongest teams of group C.

Group D:

Bayern Munich
Atlético Madrid
PSV Eindhoven
FC Rostov

Comment: Another group with two favourites: Bayern and 2016 finalist, Atletico (who actually met in the semifinals last season).

Group E:

CSKA Moskva
Bayer Leverkusen
Tottenham
Monaco

Comment: Group E is hard to predict. Maybe it is Tottenham’s turn to go far in the Champions League this year?

Group F:

Real Madrid
Dortmund
Sporting Lissabon
Legia Warszawa

Comment: 2016 Champions League winners Real Madrid will win this group. But who do they take with them to the play offs?

Group G:

Leicester City
Porto
Club Brügge
FC Copenhagen

Comment: An interesting group. It will be interesting to see how the 2016 Premier League winner Leicester will fare against European competition. In Sweden we hope that the only Scandinavian team (Copenhagen) will have some success in the tournament.

Group H:

Juventus
Sevilla
Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb

Comment: “The old lady” Juventus should be able to advance from group H. Maybe together with Spanish Sevilla.

Schedule, Champions League 2016-2017

Group stage:

13–14 September: match 1.
27–28 September: match 2.
18–19 October: match 3.
1–2 November: match 4.
22–23 November: match 5.
6–7 December: match 6.

Play offs:

14–15 February: Round of 16, match 1.
7–8 March: Round of 16, match 2.

11–12 April: Quarter final, match 1.
18–19 April: Quarter final, match 2.

2–3 May: Semi final, match 1.
9–10 May: Semi final, match 2.

3 june: Final in Cardiff.

Real Madrid won Champions League 2016

Sometimes sport is wonderful. Other times it is cruel. Often it depends on which side you stand on when the fat lady sings. Odds are based on trends and that history repeats itself. We never know when a miracle will happen, dynasties broken and giants fall. The final of the Champions League in 2016 was a prime example of how small the margins between winning and losing are. A goalpost would prove to decide whether Real Madrid got a new title in the pile or rival Atlético Madrid would win their first.

The 2016 Champions League Final

A columnist in a Swedish newspaper wrote that Real Madrid’s football museum takes 90 minutes to go through if you go fast, Atlético takes only 10. A win in the Champions League for Atlético would probably extend the time by at least 5 minutes. The two teams had faced each other in the finals before, in 2014 during Atlético successful year when they won La Liga. Atlético had the lead well into stoppage time as Real managed to get the equalizer and then win the final. It was also Real who got the best start in the 2016 final: Sergio Ramos scored 1-0 after 15 minutes of play. After the goal the match changed character. Real Madrid pulled back their positions, Atlético had the greater part of ball possession, but failed to create any major goal chances. Notably, Real’s big star, Cristiano Ronaldo, was largely invisible throughout the match. The second half was dramatic. Atlético got awarded a penalty shot, but it hit the crossbar. It seemed that tonight was not their night. However, after Real creating a cavalcade of chances for a short time, Atlético finally managed to score the equalizer on the counterattack, signed Yannick Carrasco. Not logical in any way, but desperate and beautiful. Real were forced to move up the game again, but this match went into extra time.

Ultimately Atlético continued to have a high grade of ball possession against Real’s disciplined defense. The 2×15 minutes of extra time ended with no goal. This event would be decided through penalties.

Real Madrid began penalty shooting. The first seven penalties were entered and Atlético missed their fourth, which hit the goalpost. Goal for Real in the fifth round would mean that they win the title. Then, like a jack in the box, Ronaldo steps forward, scores, and call himself the golden hero after a fairly mediocre effort seen over 120 minutes of play. It might be seen as a team strength anyway; despite the team’s big star does did not deliver Real Madrid found a way to win the game. For Altético, it meant the second final loss in three years, against their archrival. History had repeated itself.

The 2016 Champions League final

May 28 at 20:45 UTC, the 2016 Champions League final is played. It is an all-Spanish showdown between the rivals from the capital Madrid. The 2016 final is also a replay of the 2014 final were the two met. What could then have been an unexpected double victory for Atletico Madrid, who won the 2013-14 La Liga, was turned into a Real Madrid triumph after a late tying goal and overtime victory. Atletico now has a chance to show Spain and the world that the 2014 season was not just a coincidence: they are a team that our to be counted with when it comes to winning great titles. The odds, however, favors Real Madrid.

The final is played at San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy.

The 2016 Champions League playoffs

Real Madrid begun their journey in the playoffs by eliminating Roma in the round of 16. In the quarterfinal they were behind 0-2 against Wolfsburg after the first leg, but a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo changed that in game two. Then they eliminated the only British team left in the semifinal.

Atleticos journey has been much tougher. They advanced from the round of 16 after penalties against PSV. In the quarterfinals they were drawn against the 2015 La Liga and Champions League winners Barcelona. They managed to win just to be drawn against another European giant in the semifinal: Bayern Munich. However, Atletico found a way to win that match as well and the only thing between them and the Champions League trophy is their local rivals Real Madrid. It is quite amazing that one capital is the home of the two greatest club teams in the world! However, no-one will remember the runner up.

Prior winners of the Champions League (2000-)

2015 Barcelona
2014 Real Madrid
2013 Bayern Munich
2012 Chelsea
2011 Barcelona
2010 Inter
2009 Barcelona
2008 Manchester United
2007 Milan
2006 Barcelona
2005 Liverpool
2004 Porto
2003 Milan
2002 Real Madrid
2001 Bayern Munich
2000 Real Madrid

2016 Champions League semifinals schedule

Eight teams have become four in the 2016 Champions League play offs. That number is going to be divided by a pair again and two teams will reach the final on San Siro, May 28. The following teams are facing each other in the semifinals:

Manchester City vs Real Madrid

Match 1: Tuesday, April 26, Manchester City – Real Madrid
Match 2: Wednesday, May 4, Real Madrid – Manchester City

Comment: Manchester City ensured that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will probably not get the win a Champions League title in his career. They outmaneuvered an inefficient Paris SG and secured a spot in the semifinal where they are up against a Real Madrid that have showed good form lately. They won the latest El Clásico against Barcelona, and, despite trailing 0-2 in the first match of the quarterfinal, they advanced to the semifinal thanks to a hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bayern Munich vs Atlético Madrid

Match 1: Wednesday, April 27, Atletico Madrid – Bayern Munich
Match 2: Tuesday, May 3, Bayern Munich – Atlético Madrid

Comment: Who will stop the German giant Bayern? Maybe Atlético Madrid. They have already stopped a giant in the quarterfinal when some unexpectedly knocked out Barcelona after a 2-0 victory in the second match. Bayern Munich has not been tested for real this season so it is difficult to say something about what Pep Guardiola and his men go for this year. They dominate the German Bundesliga, just like PSG dominate the French Ligue 1.

Final at the San Siro

The 2016 Champions League final will be played May 28 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. It’s AC Milan and Inter’s home stadium and was built in 1925. It holds up to 80 000 spectators and the stadium has been used in international contexts before: the World Cup in 1934 and 1990 and the UEFA European Championship 1980. The Champions League Final of 2016 is the first final match as held at the stadium. Unlike other playoff games the final is only one match: 90 minutes. If its a draw, then 30 minutes of overtime is followed by penalty shots.

Champions League quarterfinals 2016: Schedule

The Round of 16 of the 2015-16 Champions League is over and eight teams have advanced to the next round. The quarterfinals are played April 5-6 and 12-13. Below you can see the draw for the first round. We have some heavy favourites in the form of Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. Also, French Paris Saint Germain and German Bayern Munich are favored by the odds. If we are to find a suitable surprise or two in the quarterfinals it might be Atletico and/or Manchester City; Atletico are having a good season in La Liga and know their opponents well. Paris SG is one of the teams under the top-tier teams and does not have the same stability as the other favourites. Another bet might be to play Wolfsburg against Real Madrid. Real have had a troublesome season in La Liga and reports are saying they have some internal strives.

Will Zlatan Ibrahimovic ever win the Champions League?

The Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is 34-years old and have won many league titles in Europe: Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France. However, he has never won a Champions League. This year might be his last chance for winning it. Rumors place him in the Premier League next year, but with Zlatan, you never know. Paris SG should be able to fend of Manchester City in the quarterfinals but in the semifinal, the greatest teams of Europe await. These are the teams you have to beat, preferable more than once, in order to win the Champions League. If we look at the 2015-16 season, it is hard to see any team match Barcelona though; Messi, Neymar and Suarez individually would be a threat in any teams offensive line-up, and Barcelona have three of them! In fact, Barcelona can probably win the Champions League even if one of them have a bad day!

April 5:

Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid
Bayern Munich vs Benfica

April 6:

Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Paris SG vs Manchester City

April 12:

Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona
Manchester City vs Paris SG

April 13:

Real Madrid vs Wolfsburg
Benfica vs Bayern Munich

Champions League 2015-16: Paris SG 2-1 Chelsea

Paris SG

In the Champions League 2015-16 Round of 16, French capital team Paris St-Germains were drawn against British Chelsea. PSG is having a good season, with a clear lead in Ligue 1, while Chelsea is struggling in Premier League. Before the first match of the playoffs, which were played in Paris, PSG had some internal fuzz going on, when Serge Aurier decided to insult his team mates in social media. The question was how this would affect tonight’s game?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the first goal

The phase of the game increased as time passed in the first half. Paris SG had the most of the ball possession while Chelsea created some dangers in the offensive penalty area. German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp made a remarkable save worth a Youtube-video, on a header from Chelsea’s Diego Costa. Instead, it was PSG who could score the first goal, through Swedish star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Ibrahimovic scored on a free kick. The wall bounced on a defender and surprised Thibaut Courtois in the goal. The Swedish commentaries made two interesting questions afterwards: why do the defenders in the wall move, when their mission is to stand still and block the shot, and why do they goalkeeper throw himself in one direction when he knows there is a chance the ball might hit something on the way and change direction?

PSG’s one goal advantage did not last though. John Obi Mikel could score the equalized when the clock showed 45+1. A psychological and important goal for Chelsea. 1-1 before the second half. A result we all recognize from the double meetings between the team from the last years Champions League playoffs.

However, Edinson Cavani had other plans than letting history repeat itself. With about 15 minutes remaining of the match, he distinctively shot 2-1 for Paris SG which also became the end result. A very important goal before the return meeting on Stamford Bridge, Wednesday, March 9.

Other results from the Champions League 2016 Round of 16

Benfica 1-0 Zenit St. Petersburg
AA Gent 2-3 Wolfsburg
Roma 0-2 Real Madrid
Dynamo Kiev 1-3 Manchester City
Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona
Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich

Champions League 2016: Round of 16

The group stage of Champions League is finished and the round of 16 drawn. As usual, the play offs are held in the format of two matches. The first round is played February 16-17 and 23-24. The second round is played March 8-9 and 15-16. We have some interesting matches to look forward to. Last season’s champions, Barcelona, will once again face Arsenal. Paris SG and Chelsea meet once again. Chelsea just gave their coach Jose Mourinho the boot. He is replaced by Guus Hiddink. This is the third year in a row that Chelsea and Paris SG are drawn against each other in the Champions League playoffs. Two years ago, Chelsea beat PSG in the quarterfinals. Last season, PSG eliminated Chelsea in the round of 16 thanks to more goals scored away. The old Lady, Juventus, who were in the final last year, will have to find a way to pass Bayern Munich.

Round of 16, Champions League 2016:

KAA Gent – VfL Wolfsburg
AS Roma – Real Madrid
Paris SG – Chelsea
Arsenal – FC Barcelona
Juventus – Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven – Atlético Madrid
Benfica – Zenit St Petersburg
Dynamo Kiev – Manchester City

Odds, teams to advance

As usual, the German and Spanish teams are favourites. However, we would like to pose a warning for PSV Eindhoven who made an excellent group phase, eliminating Manchester United from group B. Chelsea won their group even though they have had a tough season in the Premier League so far, with reports of internal conflicts. Maybe the Champions League can unite them towards a shared objective somehow? Paris SG have the odds on their side but are far from obvious favourites. Looking at how all teams have performed during the 2015-16 season two teams have to be regarded as heavy contesters for the overall win in Champions League: Barcelona and Bayern Munich. After a slow start, Barcelona is now at the top of La Liga, easily winning the first El Clásico of the year. Before the season, everyone expected Bayern Munich to win all german titles and they have a great advantage in the already decided Bundesliga. They have also played their best game in Champions League, especially when they defeated Arsenal 5-1.

Champions League 2015-16: Barcelona 6-1 Roma

In the first meeting between the two teams in Champions League 2015-16, Roma and Barcelona played 1-1 in Italy. Before the second match, Barcelona was at the top of group E at 10 points before Roma at 5 points. Barcelona were strengthened by their victory in this weekend’s El Clásico. Roma have had their up and downs this season, with a great offense, but questionable defensive play. A tied game would mean that Barcelona would win the group. A win for Roma would give the Italians a theoretical chance to win group E.

Messi, Suárez, Neymar

Lionel Messi, who has been suffering from a knee injury this season, played for Barcelona from the start. He was into the action immediately with a couple of scoring chances the first 10 minutes. Barcelona got the ball behind Roma’s defenses time after time. After 15 minutes of play, Daniel Alves could serve Luis Suárez for 1-0. Roma kept playing with a high defensive line and no defenses at the sides. In fact, they looked uninterested in defending at all. Two minutes after the first goal, Lionel Messi scored the second. After some beautiful plays he made no mistake, increasing Barcelona’s lead to 2-0. After 35 minutes of play Barcelona had a ball possession advantage of 73%-27%. Roma kept playing defensively sloppy, without aggressiveness on the midfield. Shortly before the break, Suárez scores his second goal of the game with a nice shot. Two goals tonight, two goals in El Clásico and five goals in five matches is his current record. His suspension from the national team is over so he can once again play for Uruguay.

Most of Barcelona’s offense was created through the three superstars Messi, Suárez and Neymar. They kept playing the ball in the second half. Roma got a good chance in the beginning of the second half but Marc-André ter Stegen made the save. A couple of minutes later, Messi served Gerard Piqué for 4-0. Lionel Messi also did his second goal of the match in the 59th minute. The goal was another result of the cooperation between the three amigos. However, Neymar still had no goal. He sure had his chances in the second half. His best chance was at a penalty shot in the 75th minute. Wojciech Szczęsny saved though, but another Brazilian player, Adriano Correia, scored on the rebound, making it 6-0.

Roma also got a penalty, in the 81st minute, but Edin Dzeko failed to convert on it. He got a comfort goal in the last kick of the game though, making the final score 6-1 in favor of Barcelona who are now at the lead in La Liga and is ready for round of 16 in Champions League.

Other results:

Bate Borisov 1-1 Leverkusen
Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Bayern Munich 4-0 Olympiakos
Porto 0-2 Dynamo Kiev
Tel Aviv 0-4 Chelsea
FC Zenit 2-0 Valencia
Lyon 1-2 Gent

Gunners mowed down by Bayern

Champions League 2015-16: Arsenal went into round four with great confidence, having defeated Bayern Munich home at Emirates Stadium. Three important points after having losing the first two matches against Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb. However, Bayern brought their largest guns this time and the gunners were mowed down over 90 minutes.

“Femetta”

In Sweden we have a saying from the Speedway motorcycle sport: A femetta. That pretty much is a substantive meaning a 5-1 victory. It can also be interpreted as a superior victory. This was exactly what happened at Allianz Arena this night.

The match started in a great pace. Arsenal could keep up in about 8 minutes. In the 10th minute, Robert Lewanodowski scored 1-0 through a header. Bayern stepped on it. They were in complete control of the game. Thomas Müller rolled in 2-0 in the 29th minute. David Alaba scored 3-0 with a beautiful shot in the 44th minute. 10-0 in scoring chances in favor of Bayern said the most about the first half.

Kingsley Coman, born 1996, French football player that went from Paris SG to Juventus last season. He is now playing on loan for Bayern Munich for two years and made a good overall match against Arsenal. In the second half he was substituted by 12 years older Arjen Robben who scored after being on the field for just 30 seconds.

At 4-0 Bayern slowed down the pace a bit. Arsenal almost managed to score in the 57th minute, but Manual Neuer made an excellent save. About 10 minutes later he had to resign a goal though. Olivier Giroud scored on an excellent individual performance. 4-1 and a part of the Gunner’s self-esteem was saved. However, in the 89th minute, Müller scored his second goal of the night, putting the nail in the coffin, 5-1.

This was the 5th time this year that Bayern score 5 goals in a game. They are in a superior lead in Bundesliga and will probably go far in the Champions League this year. Arsenal has to rely on other results if they are to go through to the play offs. They are placed last in the group with 3 points. Their best bet is to hope for Bayern to beat Olympiakos at home and then defeat them away December 9.

Other results:

Barcelona 3 – 0 BATE Borisov
Chelsea 2 – 1 Dynamo Kiev
AA Gent (Bel) 1 – 0 Valencia
Lyon 0 – 2 Zenit St. Petersburg
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1 – 3 FC Porto
Olympiakos FC 2 – 1 Dinamo Zagreb
Roma 3 – 2 Bayer Leverkusen
Astana 0 – 0 Atletico Madrid
Benfica 2 – 1 Galatasaray
Borussia Monchengladbach 1 – 1 Juventus
Manchester United 1 – 0 CSKA Moscow
PSV Eindhoven 2 – 0 Wolfsburg
Real Madrid 1 – 0 Paris St Germain
Sevilla 1 – 3 Manchester City
Shakhtar Donetsk 4 – 0 Malmö FF

Next round:

In the next round, we have the following fixtures:

Tuesday, November 24:

BATE Bor – Bayer Levkn
Barcelona – Roma
Arsenal – Dinamo Zagreb
Bayern Mun – Olympiakos
FC Porto – Dynamo Kiev
M’bi Tel-Aviv – Chelsea
Zenit St P – Valencia
Lyon – KAA Gent

Wednesday, November 25:

Malmö FF – Paris St G
Shakt Donsk – Real Madrid
CSKA – VfL Wolfsburg
Man Utd – PSV Eindhoven