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Friday, March 9, 2007

Champions League Final Draw

Eight teams remain, and here is how they will match up when the quarterfinals begin in early April:

Quarterfinals

AC Milan x Bayern Munich
03 April and 11 April

PSV Eindhoven x Liverpool
03 April and 11 April

AS Roma x Manchester United
04 April and 10 April

Chelsea x Valencia
04 April and 10 April

Semi-finals

AS Roma or Manchester United x AC Milan or Bayern Munich
24 April and 2 May


Chelsea or Valencia x PSV Eindhoven or Liverpool
25 April and 1 May

Final in Athens, Greece

Chelsea

23 May 2007


We could see an all-English final in Athens, and that would be historic. But watch out for Roma or Milan. Especially Spaletti's Roma team who are playing with a lot of confidence after their win over Lyon in France.

Predictions in bold.

1 comment:

Merengue said...

Except for Barcelona last season, Porto in 2004 and Milan and Juventus in 2003 most of the teams who have been the biggest protagonists of recent Champions Leagues have not been the first place teams in their respective coutries. It is very difficult to maintain the level of play needed to win a close league championship race and keep your edge for the Champions Legaue. That is why I think teams like Roma and Valencia who are not in first place in their respective countries stand a good chance of going far in this year's Champions League and repeating the feats of Monaco, Liverpool and Arsenal of recent seasons.

What I admire about Roma's team is they can attack you from so many different ways. It isn't simply a question of saying watch out for Totti or Mancini but all of their midfielders and fullbacks are threats in attack and defensively the team is pretty solid. Defeating Lyon the way Roma did was in my view the most impressive of all the octave final results in the Champions League and is a sign Roma are a team to watch. Plus manchester United while leading in England are starting to feel the effects of the crowded schedule and are sputtering along right now relying mainly on the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Valencia won't have it easy against Chelsea but I do not think Chelsea has an answer to the speed of David Villa or the wing play of Vicente and/or David Silva. And with Roberto Ayala and Raul Albiol, Valencia's centerbacks, in great form now, Chelsea will find it diffiuclt to score. They won't be receiving any "gifts" from Santiago Canizares, like the blunder Porto's keeper Helton gave them to bring Chelsea back into that game against Porto. Valencia are a very balanced team who are deep and have fought through numerous injuries to their squad this year. With a relatively healthy bunch I think they can defeat Chelsea.

In the other two matchups, both Liverpool and PSV have trouble scoring but Liverpool may have a bit too much physical power for PSV. Milan-Bayern is a toss up but I worry about Milan's offense apart from Kaka. Bayern's coach Ottmar Hitzfeld is a wily old fox and seems to have set his team on the right path since taking over about a month ago. I predict Bayern will narrowly edge out Milan but wouldn't be shocked to see the rossoneri emerge victorious in that one. I am already looking forward to these quarterfinal matchups!

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