Champions League 2011-2012

FC Barcelona

While I was in Europe

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I just spent ten days in Europe: Barcelona, Prague, Brussels and Madrid. I had originally planned to try to go to Munich to the CL final, but when I could not get tickets, I went to Prague and watched the final at the lovely and lively Old Square. It was on the same day where the Czech Republic had played and lost to Slovakia in the semifinal of the hockey World Cup, so there was a disappointed

Bayern Munich-Chelsea! The best final!

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Perhaps it is because I live in South America, where almost all European football talk is limited to Barcelona and Real Madrid. Granted, they are amazing sides, but I have been kind of getting tired of all the hype for a while, and was really hoping we would not get another Real Madrid-Barcelona final.

The fall of Barca

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After losing 0-1 in Chelsea, I was personally expecting (though not hoping) that Barcelona would pull through at home. And after leading 2-0 and being one man up after John Terry's pretty silly red card, it looked as if Barcelona were on their way to a new final. But then Lionel Messi, the "best" player in the world, missed a penalty, and with a 1-2 goal by Ramires, Chelsea was suddenly in the

Champions League

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My dream remains to go to Champions League final after I tried to sign up for tickets at the UEFA site for the second year in a row. It does seem that going to see a final is even something only for the selected few, and not for the masses. Just as actually playing! Four teams have made it to the semifinals after the quarterfinals.

Messi five, Leverkusen 1

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I am becoming more annoyed at Barcelona, but I do not believe that anyone can doubt Lionel Messi's genius after a night like tonight, where he (with some help from his teammates) trashed Bayer Leverkusen 7-1. Barcelona had won the first match 1-3 in Leverkusen, and I must admit that I had doubts whether even to watch a match that would undoubtedly have as much excitement as paint drying.

Soccer Teams - Club

The Italian Job in the Champions League final

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Two elements of the Italian game seem to have played two very different roles in the Chelsea vs Bayern Champions League final.

Roberto Di Matteo's catenaccio style layered defense that stretched Bayern worked to perfection while Jupp Heynckes decision to pull Thomas Mueller in the 84th minute to preserve a one goal lead proved disastrous.

Chelsea and City win, financial fair play rules not so much

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Financial fair play rules into the sinkhole?

In October 2010 Wayne Rooney issued a warning to the Glazers to splash the cash to make Utd competitive. He was proven right a year and a half later as City won their maiden Premiership. For their part City were hardly obliging as even before the ink had dried casting their eyes at their favourite supply chain, Arsenal, for the services of Robin Van Persie, ready to send his wages out of the stratosphere.

John Terry lifting the Champions League trophy the lowest point

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Suspended captain John Terry who played no part in the Champions League final lifting the Champions League was probably as low as it could get. On the other hand, one cannot but feel happy for Didier Drogba, who lives and dies football everytime he steps out on the pitch. Even his orchestrated dives cannot be grudged.

Chelsea vs Bayern gets down to football brasstacks

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Will Arjen Robben come to haunt Chelsea? Banquo puts the shivers in Macbeth.

A Barcelona vs Bayern Munich final would have been an ideal exposition of the best football would have to offer. Lots of freewheeling attacking and horrendous defensive lapses would have made it a final to remember.

Champions League semi-finals: Bayern overcome Real on PK's as Neuer shines

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szólj hozzá: Real-Bayern Full highlights HD

David Alaba's handball should never have been. It was inadvertent for which the left back received a yellow card which leaves him out of the Champions League final against Chelsea. Cristiano Ronaldo made no mistake from the spot. The Bernabeu erupted again as Ronaldo made it a brace after Mesut Oezil dissected the Bayern defense with his through pass.

Champions League semi-finals: Ramires's brilliance lifts Chelsea over Barca, 2-2 (agg 3-2)

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szólj hozzá: Barca Chelsea 2:2 EXTENDED HIG

Ramires is the man. The Brazilian provided that laser like cross to find Didier Drogba in the first leg to score the only goal and the winner in the first leg.

In the second leg in the Camp Nou, Frank Lampard finds Ramires who raced ahead of a slowly reacting Barca defense to chip the ball over Victor Valdes to score a goal that Messi would be proud to embalm in his trove of unforgettable goals.

Champions League semi-finals: Chelsea play a perfect match in 1-0 Barca upset

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szólj hozzá: Chelsea - FC Barcelona 1:0

On Wednesday evening, Barca in a rare moment of self doubt, looked back to contemplate an axiom that applies to all except a chosen few. Football is indeed a cruel sport.

We give kudos to Didier Drogba's clinical strike and a defense that held up against the Blaugrana waves that marauded the Chelsea third for immense portions of the game.

Champions League semi-finals: Bayern outclass Real Madrid, 2-1

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szólj hozzá: Bayern - Real 2-1

We're back! After more than a week of suffering from flu like symptoms that left me prostrate, weak as a kitten, and delinquent with blogging. A week away from the world's game is like being away for a lifetime. But thankfully, it was to this game that we make our return.

Champions League QF: Apoel hold their head high as Real win, 5-2 (agg 8-2)

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szólj hozzá: Real Madrid 5-2 APOEL (HD)

The best moments came in the 67th minute and the 82nd minute when Gustavo Manduca and Esteban Solari scored Apoel's goals. At the Santiago Bernabeu no less! Real played real spoilsports to this David slayed Goliath story as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brace with Kaka, Callejon, and Angel Di Maria adding to the tally.

Champions League QF: Ramires miss of the season

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szólj hozzá: Ramires a gólvonalnál ront

Ramires, I confess, made a mess, right in front of goal, no less.

Champions League QF: Chelsea underwhelm in their Benfica victory, 2-1 (agg 3-1)

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szólj hozzá: Chelsea 2-1 Benfica ALL GOALS

Many missed chances. And nerves jangling right to the end for Chelsea. Benfica did not have any of their four recognized center backs including Garay, Luisao, Vitor, and Jardel. Jorge Jesus, the Benfica coach had to rejigger his back four using Javi Garcia, a midfielder and Emerson, a left back.

Champions League QF: Bayern cruise past Marseille, 2-0 (agg 4-0)

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Ivica Olic got both of Bayern's goals as Franck Ribery stamped his authority on this game. French goalie Steve Mandanda was put up a magnificent display in a losing effort. It looks like a Bayern vs Real semi-final unless Apoel pull off a miracle. Marseille go back home to a tattered domestic season with Didier Deschamps's coaching future in jeopardy.

Champions League QF: Barcelona get past AC Milan, 3-1 (3-1 agg)

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Barcelona and especially Lionel Messi did not wear their shooting boots today. And because of that they kept AC Milan in the hunt despite their numerous scoring chances. As an example, an early opening created by Cesc Fabregas's delectable flick left Messi one on one with Abbiati and he shanked wide.

UEFA bans Arsene Wenger for three games

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I ordered the Chateau Pape de Neuf and you give me the Montepulciano?

The UEFA wizards ban Arsene Wenger for three matches for the offense of having a verbal altercation with referee Damir Skomina after the Milan Champions League match. Wenger is also fined £33,000.

Skomina was the referee who allowed Robinho's goal to stand after receiving a pass from a clearly offside Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Champions League QF: Bayern Munich coast past Marseille, 2-0

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szólj hozzá: Marseille 0-2 Bayern GOALS

There is a full scale revolt going on by the deeply unhappy Marseille fans against their club. L'OM lost seven straight matches in the Ligue till their weekend draw against Nice, were knocked out of the French Cup by third division US Quevilly, and their third string goalie Elinton Andrade was drafted for the Bayern Munich match following Steve Mandandas suspension.

Champions League QF: Milan holds Barca, 0-0

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Barca did everything except score a goal. But credit Milan they turned in a defensive performance they can be proud of.

Luca Antonini who is usually derided by Milanistas as a simple minded buffoon was their hero coming up with a number of key blocks to deny Sanchez and Cristian Tello.

Pep Guardiola's secret sauce to Barca's success

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The brain acts in parallel to improve speed of planning and execution, so does Barcelona

Today, four time Champions League winners and present holder, Barca play AC Milan, one of the most stories clubs themselves in international competition with seven CL titles.

A mouthwatering feast that will pit Zlatan Ibrahimovic against his former club and Thiago, who might be wearing the colours of the Blaugrana next season.

Champions League QL: Real Madrid 3 Apoel 0

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szólj hozzá: APOEL 0-3 RMCF BOSNIA

Full marks to Apoel for keeping Real Madrid at bay for 74 minutes. But once they were breached, they gave away two more goals in quick succession. Benzema scored twice after missing an absolute howler and Kaka added to the tally. The Brazilian provided the spark needed to break Apoel's highly organized defense by creating Benzema's first goal.

Champions League QL: Chelsea 1 Benfica 0

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szólj hozzá: Benfica 0:1 Chelsea HD

Salomon Kalou turns Fernando Torres's measured cross into goal in the 75th minute. David Luiz did not go nuts in front of his former club. He actually did well.

Roberto De Matteo kept Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, and Michael Essien on the bench.

Marca is already envisioning El Clasico at Munich

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There are some inconvenient matches in between but Marca has already pronounced that Real will meet Barca in El Clasico in Munich. Barca meet the winners of Chelsea vs Benfica while Real await either Bayern or Marseille.

See, these two clubs have already progressed to the semi-finals.

Didier Drogba gets caught diving: My eye, my eye!

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Didier Drogba was immense in Chelsea's fight back against Napoli, scoring and creating chances. Yes, the old Drogba was back in more ways than one! Doesn't this all look too familiar?

Chelsea's magnificent comeback against Napoli, 4-1 AET (5-4 on agg)

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Roberto De Matteo's first three matches in charge have produced a 100% winning rate, none bigger or more important than the one today against Napoli who came in with every expectation of going to the Champions League quarter-final stage after their 3-1 spanking in the first leg. They have ruled the Serie with possibly one of the most dynamic attacks, the unstoppable Edinson Cavani, the human dynamo Ezequiel Lavezzi, and in Gokhan Inler and Marek Hamsik, two of Europe's top rated midfield generals.

Inter win against Marseilles, 2-1 but away goal rule dooms them

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szólj hozzá: Inter Milan 2-1 Marseille / HL

Claudio Ranieri's grip on the Inter job became even more tenuous as Inter exited from the Champions League undone by a added time Brandao goal. They looked to have booked their passage through Diego Milito's second half goal. But Inter's vaunted defense have never looked worse or as sluggish when they let the Brazilian score the vital away goal and the equalizer.

Bayern Munich rout Basel, 7-0

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szólj hozzá: Bayern - Basel (7:0) HL / HD

Bayern crushed Hoffenheim, 7-1 this weekend with Mario Gomez scoring a hat trick. This time he went one better against Basel in the Champions League second leg as Bayern knocked in seven unanswered goals at the Allianz Arena.

The Arena is the venue for this years Champions League final.

7 April 2004: Deportivo Coruna shock AC Milan, 4-0

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The Spanish club now in the second division knocked the Champions League winners out of the competition pouring in 4 unanswered goals in the second leg to overcome a 4-1 first leg deficit. Coruna found four separate goalscorers as Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron, Albert Luque, and Fran Gonzalez dismantled an excellent Milan side.

Arsenal should keep their powder dry for the Premiership not AC Milan

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Arsenal will have to channel the spirit of Spartacus at the Emirates today

Arsenal vs AC Milan at the Emirates, CL 2nd leg @ 2:45 PM EST

This month Arsenal are being celebrated as the comeback kings. In January they couldn't crumble quickly enough. Arsene Wenger sees the victories against Spurs and Liverpool as evidence his side that can pull rabbits out of a hat which is why he's so gung ho about the AC Milan second leg despite being four goals down.

The Rest

Penalty, penalty, we cry with you Schweinsteiger!

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Bild's reaction to Bayern Munich losing to Chelsea with the crestfallen Schweinsteiger as the focal point.