Barcelona and Juventus are set to face off in the Champions League final this Saturday night. Few would’ve predicted these two sides as the eventual finalists of Europe’s top competitions when the season begun. They’ve both shown themselves worthy though, especially as the knockout rounds progressed. Barcelona, with their experience and talent on hand, will be immediate favorites but the final itself will be an intriguing tactical battle. Both sides enacted a similar approach in their semifinal ties, relying on their strongest unit to get them through. Barcelona gave Bayern Munich more time on the ball than any other opponent they usually face and used the skill, speed and intelligence of the best forward trio in world football on the counter and in general play. All the goals scored by the Spanish side were created and finished by that trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Juventus relied on a defense led by Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini to […]

BARCELONA v BAYERN MUNICH Camp Nou, Barcelona Wednesday 5th May, 2015, 20:45 GMT  *** All eyes will be on Pep Guardiola on Wednesday night when he takes his Bayern Munich side to the Camp Nou – a venue where he served Barcelona with such distinction as both a player and a head coach. There will be no room for sentiment in this first-leg encounter, though, with a place in the final of the Champions League at stake. Guardiola will be returning to his former club for the first time since his departure at the end of the 2011/12 season. Emotions might run high for Pep, but his starting eleven and strategies will be closely scrutinized by one and all. Luis Enrique might not have pleased Lionel Messi and a few others at the beginning of the season, but now, he has his sights firmly set on the treble. Team news and tactics Barcelona Played five, scored 20 and conceded none – […]

AS MONACO v JUVENTUS Stade Louis II, Monaco Wednesday 22nd April, 2015, 20:45 GMT  *** Juventus will be hoping to make it 11 victories out of 11 against French teams in knockout ties when they face AS Monaco in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday. Juventus moved 15 points clear at the top of Serie A after beating second-placed Lazio 2-0 on Saturday as they close in on a fourth successive domestic crown. They also have their eyes on a first Champions League semi-final appearance since 2003. On current form they will start the match at Stade Louis II as favourites to reach the last four. They have won all 10 of their previous knockout ties against French teams in Europe while Monaco have won only one of six ties against Italian clubs. The Ligue 1 club have also not won any of their last four home matches in any competition. Massimiliano Allegri saw his men win […]

FC BARCELONA v PSG Camp Nou, Barcelona Wednesday 11th Dec, 2014, 19:45 GMT  *** Barcelona host Paris Saint-Germain in a “winner takes all” final Champions League group game. PSG need only a draw to progress as group winners but coming to Camp Nou with such a mentality will be very risky and Laurent Blanc would be well advised not to sit back and play for one point. The French side need to start with a positive attitude and knock Barca out of their stride early in the game to ensure progression as the first-placed side, thereby potentially giving themselves an easier opponent in the next stage of the competition. Both clubs have already booked their place in the last 16 and PSG, who have a one-point advantage, need only avoid defeat to hold on to top spot. This is a game Barcelona simply have to win if they want to progress as group winners—a draw is good enough for the visitors, […]

BAYERN MUNICH v AS ROMA Allianz Arena, Munich Wednesday 5th Nov, 2014, 19:45 GMT  *** Bayern Munich host AS Roma at the Allianz Arena looking to seal their qualification from Group E. Pep Guardiola could not have asked for anything more from his side in the away game at the Stadio Olimpico but Bayern would be advised not to underestimate Roma. The difference in class between the two teams was painfully visible in the first half an hour of the game and the relentless pressure on Rudi Garcia’s side yielded five first half goals which settled the contest. Bayern were made to work hard for their 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at the weekend and Franck Ribery’s decisive intervention after coming on as a sub was another reason to cheer for the Bavarians. Guardiola would like his side to improve their conversion rate as they were guilty of missing some gilt-edged chances on Saturday. Roma, on the other hand, were comfortably […]