Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Who will win the Uefa Champions League?

By Bereng Molapo

Finally, we are at the quarter-final stage of Europe’s elite club competition: the Uefa Champions League, starring PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Galatasaray, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Malaga. This is interesting.

The Favourites
"Statistically the greatest footballer ever."
Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Most people would bet their bottom dollar on this team, they possess World Cup winners and statistically the greatest footballer ever. Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2011 and many were shocked they didn’t make it to the final last year. After a promising start to this season’s competition Barca stumbled slightly against AC Milan in the last 16, losing 2-0 in Italy before overturning the deficit to win 4-2 on aggregate. The Catalan Kings face PSG in the last eight and it will be a cracker.

Real Madrid
Real Madrid would be the bookies choice to win if Barca fail. Just like Barca, they possess World Cup winners and the world’s second greatest player in Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo earlier in the season complained that he was unhappy. He seems to have got his act together and Madrid will seek that elusive 10th Champions League title, but first Galatasaray.

Bayern Munich
A team that is looking to revive the Beckenbauer glory days, Bayern are always a side the world expects to win and with the Bundesliga in the bag many feel this is their year. Having come agonisingly close last year (Bayern lost the Champions League on penalties to Chelsea in their own stadium) the Bavarian giants will feel they have a point to prove, and what better way to start than beating Juventus.

Not so far behind

Borussia Dortmund
A team I have a ton of respect for; they broke the Bayern code by winning the Bundesliga two years running. Let’s not forget Dortmund won the Champions League in 1997 and they have seemingly resurrected into a genuine threat, so don’t count this team out.

There is no other team with a bigger point to prove in this competition than Juventus. Back in 2006 it was discovered that Juve fixed some of their matches en route to the league title and consequently were demoted to Serie B (Italy’s second division). Six years on they went undefeated en route to winning their first league title since that scandal and also cost reigning champions Chelsea their place in the last 16. But are they back to being that powerful side that marched to Champions League semi-finals and finals?

New Money
PSG's superstars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham
Paris Saint Germain
The French team were taken over by Qatar investors in 2011 and their mission was simple: create a dominant squad. It started with the likes of Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Ezequiel Lavezzi and now David Beckham, but even with all this firepower will they beat the likes of Barcelona and Bayern? A good example is Manchester City, like PSG money is not an issue but City failed to qualify for the last 16. However, PSG deserve credit for making it this far after a long hiatus from Champions League football and Barcelona is the perfect platform for them to prove they are the real deal.

Fairytale season

The Turkish team have an array of home grown talent and previous Champions League winners, but there’s one thing they lack: experience at this stage. Drawn against Real Madrid, it is going to be hard for them but remember this is football, a sport that has had its fair share of massive upsets.

I honestly didn’t think Malaga would be here but they proved through belief and passion they could get here. However, will their belief and passion count for nothing against the German champions, Borussia Dortmund? Dortmund might not have reached this stage in a long time but their current squad has tasted success whereas Malaga have not sniffed such late stages of European competitions before. Is this a bridge too far? 

1 April 2013

1 comment:

  1. At Pollfish we asked 640 football funs from Europe.

    Here are the results!