Champions League Special
Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
The best and most
prestigious club football tournament in the world returns to the streets
of some of Europe's biggest cities this coming week. London, Munich,
Madrid and Manchester come alive during the 22nd and 23rd of February
as Champions League football resumes after a near three month long
The December draw
for the second round of the Champions League threw up some real highlights
and fans all over will get to see some vintage football action during
the last week of February as the first legs are played out over two
days. The football community in Dhaka is on their toes anticipating
great action in the days ahead.
So yours truly
thought that this was a good time to spice things up a tad bit more.
I will try and run the microscope over all the matches and best of
all is that I will stick my head out and predict the winner of the
first leg in each and every case. And if that's not putting your head
on the line I don't know what is!!
Lets move on to the serious stuff!!
Madrid v Juventus: A clash of two of the biggest heavyweights
in football. Juve were truly spectacular in the first half of the
season conceding just one goal (that too in a dead rubber). They have
however, looked vulnerable of late with two defeats in the Serie A.
Real Madrid are
playing like they only can. 'Los Galacticos' as they are more commonly
known have been in scintillating form of late and the Zidanes and
Beckhams and Ronaldos seem to be clicking at just the right time.
Their defence is still very shaky though and that is a worrying factor.
Watch: Pavel Nedved (Juventus), Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Prediction: Real 2-1 Juve
Liverpool v Leverkusen: Much has been made of Liverpool, their Spanish
connection and their terribly boring style of play. But none of it
takes away the fact that they are the most successful English team
in European history so far. They have been in relatively good form
of late though.
the dark horses in this years tourney and are playing some of the
best football in Germany if not all of Europe at the moment. Rest
assured this will be a very competitive tie though the Anfield factor
gives Liverpool the edge
Watch: Fernando Morientes, Steve Gerard (Liverpool), Berbatov (Leverkusen)
Prediction: Liverpool 1-1 Leverkusen
Bayern 20:45 Arsenal: The big clash of the first day of action sees
another Anglo-German clash as the English Champions face the best
team in Germany. Arsenal loss to Manchester Utd in the league seems
to have reinforced rather than belie their belief that they can go
the distance in Europe. Bayern have been in solid form since the winter
break keeping a clean sheet in all their games. In the Olympiastadion,
Bayern can count themselves favorites to progress.
Watch: Micheal Ballack, Roy Maakay (Bayern) Theirry Henry, Patrick
Prediction: Bayern 2-1 Arsenal
PSV 20:45 Monaco: Monaco look a shoe in for victory ahead
of a very mediocre Dutch side.
Watch: Mark Van Bommel (PSV) Chevanton, Jaiver Saviola (Monaco)
Prediction: PSV 1-3 Monaco
Porto 20:45 Internazionale: Inter Milan are the sole unbeaten
team in Europe at the moment and they are firm favorites ahead of
last year Champs Porto who advanced just by the skin of their teeth.
A free flowing high scoring game in prospect
Watch: Diego, Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) Vieri, Adriano (Inter Milan)
Prediction: Porto 2-3 Inter Milan
Barcelona 20:45Chelsea:Arguably the biggest clash of the
night at the fantastic Camp Nou, Barcelona. Ronaldinho and co. will
be gunning themselves to take on Mourinho's solid Chelsea who look
set to miss Arjen Robben-that could yet prove the decisive factor.
Watch: Ronaldinho, Xavi(Barcelona) John Terry, Frank Lampard(Chelsea)
Prediction: Barcelona 2-1 Chelsea
Man. United 20:45 Milan: Another mouthwatering tie. Man Utd
have been in exceptional form of late and are playing their first
leg at Old Trafford.
are possibly the most complete team in the world at the moment. The
clash between Sheva and Rio looks like the chief determinant. Theories
abound. Looks likely to be a humdinger of a match.
Watch: Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd) Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka
Prediction: Man Utd 1-1 Milan
Bremen 20:45 Lyon: One of the low profile clashes, but appearances
can be deceiving. Both teams advanced from tough groups and have beaten
their share of big teams along the way.
The clash at the
WeserStadion, just beside the River Weser in Germany could yet turn
out to be the most exciting game of the second round.
Watch: Johan Micoud, Miro Klose (Werder Bremen) Juninho Pernambruncho
Prediction: Bremen 3-2 Lyon
That's about it. Good watching and hope your team makes it. As it
is, I am hoping mine goes through. Cheers!!