September 26, 2006

Champions League Matchday 2 Preview: Part Two

Posted in Champions League at 10:58 pm by deadlymusings

Group A

Levski Sofia v. Chelsea – Levski host their first ever Champions League home game against the world’s most expensive team. They are coming off a 3-0 win over strugglers Rodopa in a Bulgarian league that many consider too large. However, they continue to top the table and have not conceded in their first seven league matches.

Frank Lampard finally looked like he regained some form in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West London rivals Fulham on Saturday. The England midfielder scored both goals, and will probably score another pair against arguably the weakest team in the draw.

Werder Bremen v. Barcelona – Werder are coming off an entertaining but ultimately disappointing draw against Hamburg, and they cannot afford the kinds of defensive mistakes they made against Chelsea on Matchday 1. Miroslav Klose should be fit to start against the Catalan giants.

Barcelona failed to take full points against Valencia yet again in La Liga action and they were fortunate to even get a point thanks to an Andres Iniesta goal. Barça beat Werder by a combined 5-1 scoreline in their two Champions League matches last season, and they will be expected to produce similar results this time around.

Group B

Spartak Moscow v. Sporting Lisbon – Spartak’s 3-0 win over Rubin Kazan kept them third place in the Russian Premier League table, but they only sit two points behind leaders CSKA with nine matches remaining. The Red-Whites were disappointingly thumped by Bayern Munich on Matchday 1 and they will hope to play much, much better at home.

Sporting’s 2-0 win against Aves kept them three points behind Superliga leaders Porto in weekend action. Marco Caneira delivered a stunning goal in their first match against Inter and are expected to take their second win of the group in Moscow.

Inter v. Bayern Munich – Inter took the Serie A lead on Sunday, but they will be without Patrick Vieira, who got himself sent off against Sporting two weeks ago. The Nerazzuri continue to have problems at the back as they nearly blew a four goal lead in the last 20 minutes against Chievo.

Bayern Munich went top of the Bundesliga with their 2-1 win over newly-promoted Aachen. The Bavarian giants have struggled at times this season and in Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski they have two unsettled strikers. This could turn out to be a high-scoring draw.

Group C

Bordeaux v. PSV Eindhoven – Manager Ricardo Gomes signed a contract extension this week which should prove a boost to a side that has had mixed form in Ligue 1 this season. Jean-Claude Darcheville and Wendell scored a minute apart in their 2-1 win over Troyes. The former will be fighting it out with Marouane Chamakh for a starting spot.

PSV are without four first-team players for their trip into France after Patrick Kluivert limped off during their 2-0 win over ADO Den Haag. Jason Culina, Philip Cocu and Jefferson Farfan are the other players on PSV’s injured list. Ibrahim Afellay is back as these two sides battle to be the first to score a goal in Group C play.

Liverpool v. Galatasaray – Rafa Benitez has spent a lot of time in the buildup talking about why he has changed his team for Liverpool’s last 93 games. He deflected the questions superbly by taking attention away from himself and talking about Liverpool’s history. The Reds are coming off a 3-0 win over a Spurs team that laid down for them, and I doubt Galatasaray will do the same.

Galatasaray were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Trabzonspor on Saturday, but the Turkish side are excellent at grinding out results against superior sides in Europe. Unfortunately, this means that this match has 0-0 written all over it.

Group D

Shakhtar Donetsk v. Olympiakos – The Ukrainian champions were crushed 4-0 by a rampant Roma side in their group opener. Even their league form is unremarkable by their standards as they still top the table despite their 1-1 draw with Dnipro this weekend.

Olympiakos did well to stay with Valencia in their group opener, and will be expecting to get a result on the back of that performance. A 1-0 win courtesy of an own goal against AEK kept them top of the National League table.

Valencia v. Roma – Valencia dominated play on the weekend in Barcelona, but they could only claim a point which kept them third in La Liga. The three striker formation worked wonders on the weekend, but the lack of finishing has to be a concern for Valencia.

Roma manager Luciano Spalletti was angry with his side after their 4-0 win over Parma on Saturday as he claimed the match was won by Vincenzo Montella and Simone Perotta with poor performances everywhere else. The Giallorossi will be missing Mancini, who has been an important contributor in their season thus far.

Predictions:
Levski 0-3 Chelsea
Werder 1-2 Barcelona
Spartak 1-1 Sporting
Inter 2-0 Bayern
Bordeaux 0-0 PSV
Liverpool 0-0 Galatasaray
Shakhtar 1-3 Olympiakos
Valencia 2-2 Roma

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1 Comment »

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