Champions League Groups A-D after Tuesday’s results

Joan Gamper Trophy (CC BY 2.0) by tpower1978 Manchester City secured an entirely unexpected 3-1 victory over Spanish giants, Barcelona, on Tuesday evening, a result that prolongs the conclusion of Group C for another fortnight. City hadn’t beat the Blaugrana since 19 August 2009, a 1-0 victory in the Joan Gamper Trophy courtesy of a first-half Martin Petrov goal, and…

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The Big Analysis: Borussia Dortmund vs Real Madrid

“La BBC contra el Muro Amarillo,” ran Tuesday’s front page headline in Madrid’s football newspaper, Marca. Translated as, “the BBC (Bale, Benzema and Cristiano) against the Yellow Wall,” the paper focused on the challenge posed to Real Madrid’s superstars at Signal-Iduna Park in Westphalia, Germany. The Yellow Wall describes the 25,000 capacity grandstand behind the goal…

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Amsterdam’s last night of European glory

It was 14 September 1994 and Ajax were up against AC Milan. Never before or since had a single football match transversed generations with such poignancy and awe. Under a pregnant Dutch sky, an archaic, city-centre stadium hosted 21st-century football in a 20th-century setting. Naturally, the poignancy is a recent burden, heightened by a stuttering transition…

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Can Real Madrid end the Champions League hoodoo?

With the Champions League group stage underway, everyone will have an opinion on who will win this season’s competition. The usual suspects head the betting, with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and defending champions Real Madrid leading the way and a handful of other potential winners among the 32 teams. It’s a great market for providing long-term…

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The Big Analysis: Juventus vs Sevilla

The first round of Champions League group stage fixtures produced one of the most intriguing tactical match-ups of the season so far as Juventus hosted Europa League holders Sevilla. The match would provide an interesting insight into the progress being made by new Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as he looks to implement his unique football…

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The nearly men: Valencia and the Champions League

It’s April 2001 and a Champions League quarter-final where Valencia host Arsenal at the Mestalla, trailing by a goal on aggregate. The atmosphere is tense, gripping, and drawing to an enthralling conclusion. It has already been a hostile affair; shirts pulled, cards brandished, and whistles blown, much to the chagrin of the Spanish support. The…

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The tragic becoming of Bayer Neverkusen

Roberto Carlos outpaced his marker before looping a hopeful cross towards the edge of the area. Anticipating the ball’s descent, poised, was Zinedine Zidane. Adjusting his body shape with all the grace and purpose of a sculptor meticulously animating their masterpiece, and with a level of speed and certainty that only instinct can bestow, Zizou…

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