May 21, 2013
Posted: 1606 GMT
Let’s face it, if I could predict the future I would not be working as a sports journalist. Considering all the money I could make foretelling events in the coming days, weeks, months and years to come I would ideally work less than a sloth on strike. Clearly then, this is not a superpower I possess. However, though I can’t tell you exactly what will occur in this weekend’s UEFA Champions League Final between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, I can make an informed guess; so that is what I am going to do.
So let’s start with the score. I think Bayern will beat their Bundesliga rivals 2-1 so it will be the Bavarians celebrating their fifth European Crown when the dust settles at Wembley on Saturday night.
Bayern will win because they have been the best team in the competition: simple. They have won nine of their 12 games, have scored more goals and conceded less than any other side. They have shown they can dominate games by hogging most of the possession while also being effective as a counter-attacking team against Barcelona. This is a well-oiled machine, which plays to its strengths and seems to score at will against any opposition.
The key to Bayern’s success this season has been their wing play. Most of their attacks are conducted down both wings and they rely on deadly combinations between the full backs and wingers to create two-on-one situations around the opposition’s box. We all know Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben create goal-scoring chances, but what full backs Phillip Lahm and David Alaba have done is quite extraordinary. They combine for six assists in 12 Champions League games this season.
May 13, 2013
Posted: 1720 GMT
As the end of another UEFA Champions League campaign draws to a climactic close, it’s traditional to assess those that stood above others with their contribution of exceptional performance, inspired tactics and delivery of dramatic moments.
The ritual of placing an outstanding player or masterful manager on a pedestal to marvel at their achievements is an annual exercise of adulation, but there is a flip side to the tale of the season that this ignores.
Tradition, according to Christian scholar Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, is “the living faith of the dead”, and so - with this thought as a guiding light - this column will focus on the negative and malfunctioning instead. Namely, which manager failed most to live-up to their pre-season goals? After all, this is the question that preoccupies the myriad of club owners across Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
May 7, 2013
Posted: 1332 GMT
After 124 games and 355 goals, there are only two teams left standing in the European Champions League.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund managed to navigate their way through an intense group stage and six dramatic knock-out stage matches to reach the final, scheduled for May 25 at Wembley.
Since there is still plenty of time to look ahead to the Battle of the Bundesliga, I have decided instead this week to take a look back at what has been an exhilarating season and pick my Most Valuable Player of the competition. Read the rest of this entry »
May 2, 2013
Posted: 1348 GMT
With its youth system, strong national team, and financial prudence as well as the entertaining style of football employed by both the country's international side and its top clubs, it's not difficult to understand why Germany has been branded a soccer success.
And it is. Just not as much as we perceive it to be. Yet.
While the march of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to Wembley has been thrilling to watch, it's too early to tick the box marked "Era of German domination." Read the rest of this entry »
May 1, 2013
Posted: 1600 GMT
No sooner had the final whistle blown on the semifinal victory by Borussia Dortmund over Real Madrid, than speculation swiftly turned to whether this was also the final whistle on Jose Mourinho’s career at the helm of the Spanish giants.
Never one to miss a trick in tantalising the press, the self-dubbed "Special One" shaped the narrative of the media response to the defeat by suggesting in post-match interviews that he “might not be” in charge of Los Meringues next season.
“England,” he stated, “is where I know … I am loved. I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 1456 GMT
Owen Hargreaves is a former England midfielder who lifted the Champions League trophy twice during a glittering career.
On Thursday, the former Bayern Munich and Manchester United star made his debut for the CNN Football Club. Read the rest of this entry »
April 30, 2013
Posted: 1531 GMT
"Almost impossible." That's how former German international striker Oliver Bierhoff described the task his country face in trying to win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
On the evidence of last week's Champions League semifinal first legs, Bierhoff is mistaken.
Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund could both capture continental glory after four-goal hauls against Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively, but the big winners look set to be the German national team.
A look through the starting line ups for both Bayern and Dortmund reveals an array of young, exciting, vibrant, German talent which must have national coach Joachim Low licking his lips. Read the rest of this entry »
April 23, 2013
Posted: 1656 GMT
Brad Friedel has become part of the furniture in the English Premier League, spending 16 years in the division with a host of top clubs.
On Thursday, the formidable Tottenham Hotspur shotstopper made his debut for the CNN Football Club. Read the rest of this entry »
April 22, 2013
Posted: 1611 GMT
Posted: 1525 GMT
English Premier League footballers have it pretty good. They are rich, famous and idolized by millions of fans around the world.
It would be fair to say they are reaping the rewards of all the work done by English football officials over the last 21 years in making the nation’s top flight the most marketable and profitable soccer product on the planet.
However, as the Luis Suarez case showed this past weekend, the increased money has brought increased scrutiny, and that means players need to realize they have a responsibility to act in a professional manner. Read the rest of this entry »