Chelsea look set to appoint Jose Mourinho as their manager for the second time. Is it the right choice?
Story I wrote for laliga-news.com about Real Madrid’s Champions League win in 2000. There are some parallels with Chelsea’s win this season.
- England- Manchester City
P-38 W-25 D-5 L-5 F-93 A-29 Pts-89. Top Goal Scorer: Sergio Augero, 23 goals
- Italy- Juventus
P-38 W-25 D-15 L-0 F-68 A-20 Pts-84. Top Goal Scorer: Alessandro Matri, 10 goals
- Spain- Real Madrid
P-38 W-32 D-4 L-2 F-121 A-32 Pts-100. Top Goal Scorer: Cristano Ronaldo, 46 goals
P-34 W-23 D-7 L-4 F-93 A-36 Pts-76. Top Goal Scorer: Siem de Jong, 13 goals
- Germany- Borussia Dortmund
P-34 W-25 D-6 L-3 F-80 A-25 Pts-81. Top Goal Scorer: Robert Lewadowski, 22 goals
- Portugal- FC Porto
P-30 W-23 D-6 L-1 F-69 A-19 Pts-75. Top Goal Scorer: Hulk, 16 goals
- France- Montpellier
P-38 W-25 D-7 L-6 F-68 A-34 Pts-82. Top Goal Scorer: Olivier Giroud, 21 goals.
Bayern Munich will take on Chelsea FC in this years Champions League final. The match itself will be played Bayern’s home stadium the Allianz Stadium. So far, through out the history of the Champions League (or European Cup) there has only ever been three years where the host venue has had it’s home team make the final. Real Madrid in 1957, Inter Milan in 1965 and Roma in 1984.
Real Madrid played in the Bernabeu against Italian side Fiorentina in ‘57. Real won the game 2-0 thanks to a penalty from Alfredo Di Stefano in the 69th min and a 75th min winner from forward Francisco Gento. The win saw Madrid successfully defend their European Cup title and would be the second of five consecutive Cups they would win. A feat that will surly never be repeated.
Internazionale in 1965 after beating Benfica 1-0 in the San Siro. The victory saw Inter win their second European Cup as well as (just like Real in ‘57) defend the title they had won the previous season. The match was won thanks to a 42nd min strike by Brazilian winger Jair da Costa. It would be the last time the club would win the Cup until Jose Mourinho’s Inter side of 2010.
Roma lining up before the 1984 European Cup final in the Stadio Olimpico. Liverpool FC lined up against the Giallorossi that night, where the matched ended 1-1. To date this was the only time Roma have managed to make the final of the European Cup. Roma went on to lose the match on penalties. The shoot out has become legend thanks to the antics of Liverpool keeper Bruce Grobbelaar. Grobbelaar employed the strange tactic of wobbling his legs while lining up to stop Roma’s penalties. The tactic seemed to work as Francesco Graziani blased his penalty over the bar, leaving Alan Kennedy to score the winning penalty. It was Liverpool’s forth European Cup.
Clarence Seedorf playing for Inter Milan in 2001 I think? Playing against Juventus where he scored two amazing goals. Seedorf has played for numerous large clubs- Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan. He is also the only player to win the Champions League with three different clubs. He is undoubtably a modern day legend.
It’s the latest chapter in one of footballs greatest rivalries- Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi. Well that’s what you are lead to believe if you listen to various media outlets. But more importantly- the spectacle, magic and passion of El Clasico, Barcelona vs Real Madrid, is upon us and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Real Madrid will start the match atop of La Liga, leading Barcelona by just four points. This gap has been reduced from ten points as Barcelona have won 11 league matches in a row. Real Madrid have won eight and drawn three of their last 11 league matches, so they both head into the match in good form. Both sides will also be looking to bounce back from defeats in their first leg semi-final Champions League matches this week. Real Madrid will be upset with the late goal they conceded against Bayern Munich to lose 2-1 and Barca will be disappointed to lose 1-0 to Chelsea despite dominating the game.
Mourinho will remember the first time he visited the Nou Camp as Madrid coach where they lost 5-0. His heaviest defeat as a manager of any club. In that match Mourinho played an attacking line up, which is what Madrid fans demand, and they were completely over run. Since then he has being trying to find a balance between defense and attack for his side. He knows he can not play a defensive game against Barcelona as that would not be accepted by the Madrid fans or the club hierarchy. Much to his frustration, he has struggled to find the right formula to combat Barca. So far he has only managed to win one match (in extra time), drawing four games and losing five against Barca.
Pep Guardiola will be confident that his midfield trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets will again dominate the ball. But they need to turn that possession into goals, which is something they did not do against Chelsea. The job of scoring will fall to Lionel Messi, he has already scored 41 goals in the league, a La Liga record. Messi has proved to be a bane to Mourinho’s men with the little maestro scoring six goals in the last nine games against Madrid.
For Madrid, Ronaldo is again the main threat, he has also scored 41 goals in the league. His aerial threat may be used to exploit a perceived lack of height in the Barca side. But it’s in midfield where the game has to be won for Madrid, therefore the focus could fall on their midfield general Xabi Alonso. He has not managed to hit the form of last season and that may have contributed to the recent form of Madrid where they drew three out of their last six matches. It is his link play and playmaking skills that has seen him only miss one league game all season.
An under current of aggression and distain seems to have developed against these two sides more recently. Keeping all eleven players on field became a problem for Madrid against Barcelona. Defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos have become a figures of hate among the Barca faithful because of their recent antics. While for Barcelona- Sergio Busquets and Dani Alves have at times been accused of play acting.
It may seem cliché to say, but this is the biggest El Clasico to date. These games rarely end in 0-0. The last scoreless game came in 1989 so expect goals. It is not in the culture of these two sides to sit back and not go for the win. This game may very well decide the destination of the title. Mourinho has claimed that his sides always preform better in his second season and they will be desperate to end Barca’s dominance of the league. For Barcelona their biggest enemy this season has been complacency. It is hard to maintain the same levels of hunger and desire when you have won all that there is to win. But that should not be an issue in a game that divides a nation and where heroes and villains are made. Expect fireworks.
This is what the Champions league is about! No more pretenders, no more fairytale sides, now we’re down to the real business - the end of the season. This is a tie steeped in tradition. The game brings together two of the most successful sides in the competition’s history. Four-time winners Bayern Munich take on nine-time winners Real Madrid. The first leg will be played at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Tuesday.
These two sides have met 18 times in the knock out stage with Bayern winning in 10 of those. There are also some other interesting sub-plots to this tie.
- Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes managed Madrid for one season in 1997-98, where he won the Champions League but was sacked after the club finished 4th in the league.
- Jose Mourinho defeated Bayern Munich in the 2009-10 final with Inter Milan
- Arjen Robben will be keen to score against his former employers Madrid. While the other star, Bayern man Ribery, has been linked heavily with a move to Madrid in the past.
- Real have never won a match in Munich where this year’s final will be held. They have also only ever won one match - of a possible 22 - on German soil.
Madrid will go into the game as favorites and find themselves in good form having won six of their last seven games and scored 25 goals in the process. Bayern, on the other hand, were held to a 0-0 draw on the weekend by 12th placed Mainz and recently lost 1-0 to rivals Borussia Dortmund, a result that sees them out of the title race. But they did manage to win 12 games in a row before those last two results so should go into the match quietly confident of equalling Jose Mourinho’s men.
Both sides have plenty of attacking talent and will try to keep their opponent’s defense busy. Both sides have their star attackers: Upfront for Bayern they have Mario Gomez who has 11 goals in this season Champions League, while Ronaldo has 8 goals for Real. But overall Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 53 goals in 48 games, a quite remarkable feat. Then there is also the attacking threat of Robben, Muller and Ribery for Bayern, while Madrid can boast Benzema, Higuian, Di Maria, Kaka and Ozil to help out in attack. With so much attacking talent on display for both sides it might come down to which keeper has the better match. Again in that regard both sides can call upon world class keepers in the form of Iker Casillas for Madrid and Manuel Neuer for Bayern.
In terms of injuries, Bayern Munich will be without their defenders Daniel Van Buyten and Breno but welcome back Bastian Schweinsteiger from a one match European ban. Real Madrid will be without defender Ricardo Carvalho and utility man Lassana Diarra.
Jose Mourinho will be going all out to win the tie as he attempts to become the first manager to win the Champions league with three different clubs. Bayern will want to establish themselves amongst the elite of Europe’s clubs, particularly as their stadium will be hosting this years final. This tie has all the ingredients for a goal fest extravaganza, but more often than not these matches turn into tactical battles and cagey affairs that are often settled by a single goal. So despite the plethora of attacking talent on display don’t expect many goals. Both sides are lead by managers who have won the title before and will know what is required to get to the final. The match itself could be decided by a moment of individual brilliance in a match that may ultimately prove to be an anti-climax. I just pray to the football God’s I’m wrong.
In honor of David Beckham’s new child. Harper Seven Beckham. How lucky she is.
Here is a look at the two Real Madrid full backs for anyone who is interested