Thursday, March 13, 2008

My Dream Champions League Quarterfinals Draw--Part 2

3. Chelsea vs. Barcelona: The Special One, Mr. Mourinho, would look at this tie with special interest as his old club, Chelsea, takes on his possible new club, Barcelona. It would certainly be a contrast of styles as the Premiership side doesn't exactly play a visually stunning brand of soccer, and Barcelona has four or five players who seem like they can score almost at will. This competition is likely the last chance for real silverware for both teams, and that sense of desperation would liven this tie up quite nicely. The winner of this tie would play the winner of...

4. Liverpool vs. Schalke: Ok, I'll admit, this isn't a dream pairing, but these are the only two teams left. Ideally, I'd like to see Liverpool play another English team in this round and have Schalke play Fenerbah├že so that one of the two underdogs could reach the semifinal, but I'd more rather see Fenerbah├že and all the English teams play the opponents I already talked about. The bonus? Well, Liverpool would likely win this tie and then the ensuing semifinal against either Chelsea or Barcelona would be quality.

Schalke are currently in 5th place in the Bundesliga and need to finish in 3rd to get back into the Champions League. Places 2-7 are separated by only seven points, so it brings up a dilemma for the German side: Do they want to go for it all in the CL this year and risk tiring out their players for the stretch run of the season, or do they want to kind of mail it in right now and put all of their efforts into simply getting back into Europe's top club competition?

As I said in Part 1, the real draw will be conducted early tomorrow morning here on the East Coast. I'll be in class until 10 but should have brief capsules for each tie before noon.

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