Usually an international break leads to fans wishing for the return of league football. However, now that we're back and the weekend's football fixtures are upon us, it's tempting to skip ahead to next week and look at some of the amazing Champions League matches lined up for us.
Real Madrid v Manchester City. Chelsea v Juventus. Bayern v Valencia. Dortmund v Ajax. Group D is cruel with all four teams (on paper) deserving to be playing in the second round. That's the luck of the draw, but it also means all 6 Group D matches will be a delight to watch.
Group D is also interesting because it features 2 of the 4 teams considered most likely to win the Champions League this season. The odds on anyone other than Barcelona or Madrid winning the Champions League can seem quite high at times but as we've seen in the past four years, a good team can always find a way to stop a better one on any given day through the correct tactical approach.
And that's why the Champions League is fun to watch - you see good teams going up against even better teams and finding new ways to solve old problems. To each approach there's a clear response, and to each response a counter-move - and at the top level a football match - free-flowing or otherwise - can be as intricate and planned out as a chess match (without the turn by turn, of course).
Already this weekend you have teams planning to rest their star players ahead of difficult Champions League games. Man City have Aguero returning from injury but may bench him on their trip away to Stoke to save him for the Madrid game. Madrid themselves will be monitoring Cristiano Ronaldo very closely as he was involved in both of Portugal's World Cup qualifiers and is sorely needed against Sevilla.
Tactics usually play less of a role at the start of a Champions League season as managers, keen to test new ideas in the league, become ultra-traditional and stick with the tried and tested when it comes to Europe. With the money on offer, it pays to play safe.
Our picks to watch for Matchday one are Real Madrid v Manchester City, and because we're keen on seeing their new squads in action in Europe, both Arsenal v Montpellier and Manchester United v Galatasaray. Predicting the outcomes of these three matches is not as easy as you might think - United are prone to slip up in Europe in recent years, Montpellier are defending French champions and City have proven themselves to be near-unbeatable even when they're having a bad day.
For those after safer excitement, playing a football themed slots game might be more fun than putting your money on football itself. The game available in www.jackpotcity.co.uk is played with old-school football cards, inspired by the Shoot! magazine. Well worth the shot to try your slots skills while enjoying football.
Whatever happens in your every day life, coming here should be an escape from it; so cheer up and talk FM
The champions league is I think one of the best in the world unfortunately we now have more than 68% of foreign players, which may be good for the league, but pretty poor when we try and put a team together that has chance of winning in the World cup or European, we are gambling with our football future
└ This post was edited by Casino (2013-09-08 17:44, 4 years ago)
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