Soccer / dortmund

The War in Europe: Champions League Draw Talking Points
The stage is set and the battle lines drawn. It is clear as day, this year's UCL is a proving ground for what European league reigns supreme. A lot happened over the last 48 hours in the world of football. We got the Round of 16 draw for Champions League, providing us with lots to talk about here. However, attempting to drown out that story is the breaking headline that Jose Mourinho has been sacked from United. I’ve made my opinions pretty clear about the EPL griefer that is Jose Mourinho, and I am quite happy to see him now jobless. His tenor at United is best summed up with one word: wasteful. He wasted money, wasted time and wasted talent. He turned United into an under-performing over-paid group of unused talent. The EPL is better without him. Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into a the emerging talking points from the UCL draw and see if we can’t tease out a couple of interesting points that may have gone overlooked in all the commotion. For this piece I will specifically be looking at the EPL – Bundasliga matchups as I think they are some of the most interesting to talk about. FC Schalke – Manchester City I feel bad for the coal mining boys of Schalke, especially American midfielder Weston Mckennie, who will all likely fall prey to deadly Man City. This pairing is clearly the largest disparity in quality between two sides. While City closely contests the EPL title, Schalke have found themselves in 13th place in the Bundasliga, earning 15 points in 15 matches. The situation with Schalke could get far worse before they meet Man City. The German side sits only 3 points above the relegation zone. Depending on how the next few weeks play out we could easily see a Schalke in a relegation battle trying to take on Man City in Champions League. Schalke might have stood a chance against the likes of Porto or Roma, but they won’t last long with City as their first opponent. At this point I merely hope that Weston Mckennie can get some minutes in UCL and maybe put on a good enough performance to catch some eyes. In the end this match is likely over before it starts. Schalke should feel care-free when it comes to this match. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The tough-guys of Schalke may go down, but they won’t be defeated easily. I'm hoping they put up a solid fight regardless of the end result. Tottenham Spurs – Borussia Dortmund One of the first matches to jump out at me. The Spurs – BVB match should be a spectacle to behold. This matchup might offer us the most open attacking football out of any of the draws. Both of these teams play expansive, open, attacking football, and the pairing of the two should produce some remarkable moments and some tasty goals. If there’s ever been a matchup more likely to make an over bet land, it is right here. All things are coming up Dortmund this year. Out of the top 5 European leagues, Dortmund have the biggest gap at the top of the table than any other league, sitting 9 points ahead of second place Monchengladbach who are tied with Bayern on points. Pochettino will have his hands full if he wants to get by this red hot BVB team. Dortmund have yet to lose in league competition, getting 12 wins and 3 draws out of the 15 matches played. The German side has only loss once so far this season in all competitions, falling 2-0 to Atletico Madrid in UCL. Fans of goalfest attacking football don’t want to miss this match. I can’t wait to see the betting lines for this clash. No clear favorites here. Just two teams who like to score for fun. Liverpool – Bayern Munich I’m more interested in the off pitch drama with this matchup. Yes, I do expect very fun and entertaining football on the pitch from both of these sides. Bayern have found themselves in turmoil this year, having to predominantly fight for a top 4 position as Dortmund run away with the league. I’ll be curious what stance Bayern will take when it comes to fielding teams for UCL. On one hand they would be smart to forgo a deep UCL run and try to focus on competing in the league. On the other hand, their chances of winning the league are slim to none, so a strong UCL finish might be the best they can hope for out of this season. Regardless, Liverpool must like their chances meeting Bayern in the current form they are in. As I started off by saying, it’s not so much the on the pitch action that has be excited about this match. It of course has to do with the relationship between Klopp and Bayern. Once old rivals, and presumably still are, Klopp gets another chance at having a go at Bayern, and I assume he is happy to do so. Klopp has Liverpool performing like we haven’t seen them is many years. They are exciting, inspiring and unbelievably entertaining. Are they the best team in Europe? I’m not sure. However, they are certainly the most fun to watch and produce a show each and every match. That I can attest to. There’s not a chance on earth that I’m missing this one. Mark your calendars boys. How About You? What are your thoughts on the UCL draw? Which match are you looking forward to the most? Who were the luckiest and who had the worse luck? For me, Barca probably got the luckiest drawing Lyonnais. The Porto – Roma match is probably the least interesting to me. I would have like to see those teams split up. And of course, the Man United – PSG match should be a sight to behold. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with this year’s draw. How about you? _______________________________________________________________________________________