Oct 24, 2007

As Predicted, A More Volatile Champions League Matchday

Yesterday, Soccer Source predicted trouble for Shakhtar Donetsk and Liverpool, a potential struggle for Real Madrid and smooth sailing for Chelsea. Okay, I also thought Valencia would win their game. And actually, I didn't predict smooth sailing for Chelsea either, but I did say they wouldn't have the cakewalk Arsenal had. Then again, the U.S. men's basketball team at the '92 Olympics didn't quite have that kind of cakewalk. Go here to see the all of the games' goals (thanks to footytube for the links).

The biggest surprise on the day in my opinion was Rosenborg which moved into second place in their group thanks to the victory. (And maybe into the top 25 as well? We'll have to wait and see for that). Chelsea are now as good as through. Schalke, whom they beat 2-0 at Stamford Bridge do not look to be as good as they have been in recent years. The Germans are still alive though, trailing Rosenborg by only one point. Real Madrid are also in good shape after a terrific game against Olympiakos. Speaking of German teams, Werder Bremen is back from the dead, scoring their first victory against Lazio.

Now Group A is where things get very interesting: Olympique Marseille, who haven't done sh!te in the French league (they're fourth from the bottom) lead the group after their 1-1 draw with Porto. I have been singing Porto's praises for awhile. I suppose Marseille are just a different team in the CL than they are domestically. Maybe they play down to the competition there? But guess who is in last place in the group? Liverpool, with one single, measly point, after their loss to Besiktas. The Reds now have their work cut out for them if they are going to reach the UEFA Cup, much less the CL Round of 16: Rafa Benitez' men are four points behind second-placed Porto and two in arrears of Besiktas.

Finally, poor Celtic. First they get stomped in the old firm derby, then they lose at Benfica on a goal in the closing minutes. Celtic are in bad shape--fourth place--but with three points are far better-positioned than Liverpool. AC Milan got back into the game, trouncing their Ukrainian opponent 4-1. But Milan, who now lead the group, only have six points--as does second-place Shahtkar. There's still everything to play for there, though I suspect Donetsk's star could be fading.


  1. Just a little correction about your last paragraph... It's Shakhtar that remains in second with 6 points. Benfica moves to third with 3 points and a better differential than Celtic, who temporarily brings up the rear. They have Benfica and Shakhtar at home for the next two games, and there prior CL form at home does not need to be mentioned, then it's to San Siro, where they forced a goal by Kaka in overtime to put Milan through to win it all. I still think there is reason for optimism.

  2. indeed, I stand corrected. Donetsk are second, with the identical number of points (six) as AC Milan. And they have arguably the toughest trip--to San Siro--out of the way. Actually their only road game left is at Celtic. They're definitely in a better position than I thought.

  3. I disagree that their toughest trip is ahead of them. Even the "mighty" AC Milan fell at Celtic Park.