Tag Archives: FC Bayern Munich

2016-17 Champions League Final – Real Madrid CF vs. Juventus FC

Ahh, the Champions League final!

An event difficult to miss, especially when two giants of European, if not, World football collide for the most prestigious prize in club football, the UEFA Champions League.  Both clubs have been impressive leading up to the final.

Juventus FC on pace for their first possible triple (having already secured Serie A and la Coppa d’Italia) have eliminated FC Porto, FC Barcelona and AS Monaco FC en route to Cardiff, Wales.  Real Madrid CF has had to deal with SSC Napoli in the Round of 16, then FC Bayern Munich and derby rivals Atlético Madrid.

For Los Blancos, it will be a chance to make history as being the first club to win back-to-back Champions League titles since the introduction of this format in 1992.  For reasons difficult to explain, no team has ever been able to repeat as champions.  As for I Bianconeri, it will be a chance to finally lift the trophy after failing to win it in 2003 vs. AC Milan and 2015 vs. FC Barcelona.  We have to go back in 1996 and their success on penalty kicks versus titleholders Ajax Amsterdam to witness The Old Lady winning the title.

It is a 50/50 final.  Despite the tremendous amount of talent and money Real Madrid has at its diposal, la Juve has been able to inject more funds and more quality players to their side in the past few years.  The recent additions of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Juan Cuadrado, Miralem Pjanic, Dani Alves, Mario Mandzukic etc. have made this team more dangerous than ever.  And after beating Real Madrid, two years ago, to reach the final of this same competition, the confidence level will be high for the Italians.

Prediction – Juventus FC ends its 21 year drought and complete their treble by winning 2-1.

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Football – In 2017

Another year, another busy schedule for football in general, especially at the international level with the Africa Cup of Nations which occurs every two years and will take place in Gabon (from January 14 to February 5, 2017) and the FIFA Confederations Cup (in the summer) which features the winner of each continental cup and the World Cup. This year, the tournament will host:

Russia (2018 World Cup host country)
Germany
(2014 World Cup)
Portugal (2016 European Championship)
Chile (2015 Copa America)
Cameroon (2017 Africa Cup of Nations)
Mexico (2015 Gold Cup)
Australia (2015 Asian Cup)
New Zealand (2016 Oceania Football Confederation )

Eight teams, four groups and “a curse”. Yes, since its creation in 1991, no country which has won this tournament has been able to repeat the following year by raising the World Cup as champions. A little bit like the new format of Champions League introduced in 1992 where no club has been able to repeat as back-to-back winners. Will the country of Russia be where the “curse” is going to end? I doubt it, but we never know, the Chicago Cubs, baseball infamous team ended their so-called “Curse of the Goat) this year after 108 years of waiting by winning the Major League Baseball World Series, so there is hope.

At club level, the different leagues are still dominated, in most parts, by the usual suspects:
FC Bayern Munich is dominating, albeit not as easily as expected the German Bundesliga.
Juventus FC is still on top of Italian Serie A.
Paris Saint-Germain is third, after winning four consecutive French Ligue 1 titles.
Real Madrid CF and FC Barcelona are respectively first and second of Spain’s LaLiga Santander.
And Chelsea FC has a strong lead in the Barclays Premier League in Britain.

The UEFA Champions League will be interesting as well. The round of 16 offers already mouthwatering encounters such as:

FC Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal FC
FC Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain
Real Madrid CF vs. SSC Napoli
AS Monaco vs. Manchester City FC

Another great year of football ahead. Stay tuned.

2016-17 Champions League Group Stage – Wrap-Up

We have the sixteen teams that will face-off next February for the round of 16.

Winner of each group:
Arsenal FC (England)
AS Monaco (France)
Atlético de Madrid FC (Spain)
Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
FC Barcelona (Spain)
Juventus FC (Italy)
Leicester City FC (England)
SSC Napoli (Italy)

Second of each group:

Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Benfica (Portugal)
FC Bayern Munich (Germany)
FC Porto (Portugal)
Manchester City FC (England)
Paris Saint-Germain FC (France)
Real Madrid CF (Spain)
Sevilla FC (Spain)

Four teams from Spain.
Three teams from England and Germany.
Two teams from France, Italy and Portugal.
Sixteen teams in total.

The draw for the next round will take place this week after the UEFA Europa League games. Until then, Real Madrid CF will play the FIFA Club World Cup thanks to their success against Atlético de Madrid FC in the UEFA Champions League last May.

Will Real Madrid CF finally break the curse and become the first club to win back-to-back titles? Can FC Barcelona or FC Bayern Munich win their sixth Champions League title? Or will we have a brand new champion? Can Leicester City FC even do it? The answer in May 2017.

Stay tuned…

Pep Guardiola vs. José Mourinho II – Barclays Premier League chapter

Oh, that rivalry smells good. After being head-to-head in Spain, one for Real Madrid CF and the other for FC Barcelona, the two master tacticians will do battle again, in the same league, this time in the Barclays Premier League, and this could mean fireworks all over the place.

Let’s be clear, even if these two were disciples of Louis van Gaal at FC Barcelona, knew each other very well and seemed to get along just fine, they have learned not to love one another over the years. Worse, they hate probably learnt to even despise each other over time, matches, altercations, etc. And this is what will make this derby even more exciting, even crazier.

Two giant clubs that have also issues in their level of performance on the pitch. Manchester United FC, since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012-13 season, is no longer a shadow of it former self, despite winning the FA Cup last season. Whereas Manchester City FC, constant Champions League qualifier, has not won the league since the 2013-2014 season despite several expensive transfer deals and huge transfer funds.

Throughout the season, we will have a weekly head-to-head matchup between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as both men will try to become not only the king of Manchester but also of Great Britain, football-wise. We shall see, as Mr. van Gaal used to say.

One thing seems set in stone: the city of Manchester will have a champion in the near future. The only thing that we are not sure of yet is which colour will reign supreme.

(Definitely stay tuned…)