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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bayern Munich's Kahn will retire if his team win Champions League

German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn admitted on Tuesday that he might retire from football if Bayern Munich won the Champions League.

"It is really likely for me to retire the game if we clinched the Champions League trophy this season," German media quoted Kahn as expressing.

In fact, the 37-year-old international, who was the second-choice keeper of the German team that won the bronze medal in the World Cup earlier this year, said he wants to quit on top before people call on him to retire.

What's more, coach Felix Magath told the club's website that he wants to give Kahn's long-term successor as competitive matches as possible.

"We all know that Rensing is Kahn's designated successor for us, so I believe he needs match practice when there's something at stake. I have complete faith in him," he stated.

And now it's fair to say that during his 12-year career with the Bavarians, Kahn won seven league titles and one Champions League trophy.

In the most important moment of his career, he led Germany to the final game of the World Cup 2002 before losing to Brazil. Though, he was named FIFA's best footballer of that Cup.

Great encounters to take place in the next stage

Current champions Barcelona were pitted against England's Liverpool Football Club in a meeting of the Champions League winners of the past two season as the draw for the first knock-out stage of the competition threw up a series of attractive clashes.

The catalan team, who were among the second seeds in the draw in Nyon, Switzerland, will be pleased to be avoiding some of this season's top favourites, but still face a stern test in the 2005 kings and five-time European champions.

In fact, Barcelona president Joan Laporta expressed: 'It will be a meeting between the last two champions, so it is going to be an great tie.

"I can say that I am happy with the draw. Liverpool are one of the sides I fancied meeting at this stage. They are powerful opponents who play very physical football and have players we know very well, like Luis Garcia and Xabi Alonso. But let's not forget, we are the squad to beat this season."

As we know, Liverpool club secretary Bryce Morrison said the clash with Barcelona could be the launchpad for another assault on Europe's top prize.

"They don't come much bigger than that. We are relishing these matches. And we hope we can go all the way once again, starting with this big one."

Furthermore, the draw brought together two familiar foes in record nine-time European champions Real Madrid and German Bayern Munich.

In fact, the two sides have met 10 times in the competition since 2000, with Real Madrid knocking Bayern out in the last 16 in the 2003/2004 season and in the quarter-finals on the way to the 2002 title.

It's important to consider that Bayern Munich did the same to Real in the 2001 semi-finals before beating Valencia in the final for their fourth and so far last title.

And Real Madrid sports director Pedja Mijatovic admitted: "We have had a bit of luck. I think we can be satisfied. Bayern have a strong, battling team but we have the opportunity of going further. Maybe on paper we are the favourites."

But Bayern manager Felix Magath described the meeting with Real as 'a cracking game' and quipped: "I said beforehand it would be Real - I'd arranged it with UEFA."

In another major game, British champions Chelsea - regarded as one of the favourites - come up against Portugal's Porto, pitting Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho against the club he led to the Champions League title in 2004.

As we know, the two clubs met in the 2004/2005 group stage when Chelsea won 3-1 at home and lost 2-1 in Portugal.

What's more, six-times champions AC Milan face Scottish side Celtic while cross-town rivals and Italian league leaders Inter Milan have an intriguing tie against Spanish side Valencia.

Let's mention that of England's remaining clubs in the last 16, last year's losing finalists Arsenal come up against Dutch title-holders and 1988 European champions PSV Eindhoven while English league leaders Manchester United meet French side Lille.

Also important: in the remaining tie, fancied French champions Lyon, regarded as one of the top contenders for this year's title, will have to overcome Roma.

The "Red devils" will be seeking to make good against a Lille team who helped put the Reds out in last season's group stage. United lost 1-0 Lille and were held to a goalless draw at home.

Red coach Sir Alex Ferguson told the club website: "We just had a bad experience last year but this is a different United squad.

Finally, we must keep in mind that the round of 16 matches are to be played over two legs on February 20/21 and March 6/7, 2007. The final game is scheduled for May 23 in Athens, Greece.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Liverpool failed in Istanbul

The Champions League night saw Liverpool Football Club make an unsuccessful return to Istanbul as they lost 3-2 to Galatasaray despite two goals from veteran frontman Robbie Fowler.

Spanish coach Rafa Benitez opted to rest a number of first-team regulars, with the Reds already safely through to the knockout stages of the competition.

As we saw, the opening minutes of the clash saw little action in either goalmouth, with neither side having much to play for.

But the encounter burst into life after 22 minutes as Craig Bellamy found space down the left and his ball into the area was bundled home from close range by Fowler.

And within two minutes it was 1-1 as Xabi Alonso's poor pass was intercepted by Necati Ates, who raced clear to beat Jerzy Dudek with a low shot.

It's important to see that three minutes later Gala were 2-1 in front as a corner from the right was only half-cleared and Okan Buruk volleyed home superbly from 25 yards out with his right foot.

The home team almost got a third right on half-time as Dudek blocked Sabri's shot with his legs after some sloppy play in defence.

Furthermore, Gala went close again eight minutes into the second half as Ergun's free-kick in from the left was headed against the far post by Umit Karan, with Dudek well beaten.

And eleven minutes from time it was 3-1 to the home side as substitute Mehmet Guvan got clear on the right and his cutback into the area gave fellow replacement Sasa Ilic an easy finish.

That was game over for Liverpool, but they at least kept fighting until the final minute, when Jermaine Pennant found space on the right flank and his stand-up cross was headed home at the far post by Fowler.

Barcelona beat Bremen and advanced in Group A

The defending Champions Laegue king, FC Barcelona, avoided becoming the first European champions to be knocked out at the group stage with a Group A win over Werder Bremen while Chelsea defeated Levski to assure the first place in the group.

In the city of Barcelona, Ronaldinho fired the home side into the lead on 13 minutes when he slid a free kick beneath a leaping Werder Bremen wall, the ball rolling past a helpess Tim Wiese in the German goal.

And just five minutes later, Eidur Gudjohnsen tucked home the second goal for Barcelona when he touched home a pass from the right by French striker Ludovic Giuly.

In fact, the German team improved in the second half, but Barcelona continued to be the best side with Wiese having to make several nice plays to keep the scoreline respectable.

In the other game of the group, Chelsea defeated Levski 2-0. The Bulgarian team's first foray into the Champions League ended pointless after they were beaten by a superior Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, Ukrainian forward Andriy Shevchenko was able to put the Blues in front in the 27th minute after punching home a pass by Frank Lampard from inside the penalty area.

We must mention that Levski's defense held out well for much of the game although Chelsea were clearly the better of the two teams, and they managed to add a deserved second goal seven minutes from time when striker Shaun Wright-Phillips bagged the score.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tiago: "Lyon can win the Champions League"

Tiago is part of a very competitive French club: Lyon. And he has revealed his belief that his team can win the UEFA Champions League this season.

Indeed, Gerard Houllier’s side are once again leading the pack in Ligue 1 and can now divert some of their attention to European matters when the knockout stages come around.

"Honestly I am convinced that we can win the Champions League," said the Portuguese player.

"It's just that we qualified quickly for the knockout stage - that was very important and that showed our ability.

"We are still leading Ligue 1 and have really high hopes for the Champions League."

We must consider that the ambitious French side have performed well in the competition in recent seasons and are many experts tip as a ‘dark horse’ for the title.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sporting's Caneira will be out until January

Sporting most valuable defensive playe, Marco Caneira, will only be out until January with a leg injury suffered in the Champions League against Italian club Inter.

As we know, the 27-year-old player took a heavy blow to the right leg, which was initially thought to be a fractured tibia but has been confirmed as just heavy bruising.

Sporting surgeon Gomes Pereira told O Jogo: "In the game against Inter Caneira suffered a violent blow to the right tibia, which caused him to be substituted.

"I can say that the following examinations moved us away from the initial fear that he had fractured his leg, although we predict that he will need at least three weeks to recover."

In fact, with the upcoming winter break this means Caneira will not play professional football until early 2007.

It's important to mention that his replacement that day, Abel, was also injured later on although the slight tear to the left thigh muscle is not thought to be that bad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Barcelona in the edge, Chelsea in the top

It is a hard time for Rijkaard's team in the Champions League. FC Barcelona face their penultimate Group match knowing that they are on the verge of making an unwanted piece of history.

Indeed, if results go against them on Wednesday, Barcelona would become the first defending champions to fail to get through a group stage since the Champions League began.

It's important to know that Levski Sofia would need to beat Frank Rijkaard's men at home in Sofia, a result that looks unlikely considering Barcelona beat the Bulgarian squad 5-0 in the reverse fixture in September.

Coach Frank Rijkaard has opted to keep faith with the same 18-man squad that beat Mallorca 4-1 in La Liga at the weekend, although he still has several key men unavailable.

Rijkaard has only one fit striker in Eidur Gudjohnsen, with Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o, Argentina's Javier Saviola and Lionel Messi all injured, along with midfielder Edmilson and right back Juliano Belletti.

In fact, Levski have so far conceded 13 goals in losing their first four matches in the group, and coach Stanimir Stoilov has suffered another blow ahead of the match with the news that striker Emil Angelov will not play.

But it's a must to mention that first-choice goalkeeper Georgi Petkov has recovered from a finger injury and will replace 18-year-old Nikolay Mihaylov, who had a nightmare debut in the Champions League against Werder last month.

As we know, forwardr Valeri Domovchiyski is also available after recovering from a groin injury, and warmed up for the big clash by scoring in a 3-0 demolition of city rivals Lokomotiv on Saturday.

Werder Bremen face firts place Chelsea

Mourinho's Chelsea go in to their penultimate group match knowing that they need just a point to ensure qualification.

Indeed, Jose Mourinho has promised to pick his strongest available team for the tie, dismissing suggestions he might attempt to help sabotage rivals Barcelona's bid for qualification by gifting the points to second-placed Werder.

The Portuguese coach has left centre-back Ricardo Carvalho out of his squad for the match, after he was substituted at half-time during the Premiership win at the weekend.

We must know that Salomon Kalou also misses the trip to Germany with medial knee ligament damage.

German side Bremen have failed to win in their last five matches, and needed a late Miroslav Klose goal to rescue a point against Alemannia Aachen at the weekend.

It's also important to mention that Patrick Owomoyela (ankle injury) and Mohamed Zidan (groin operation) are definitely out of the match, while captain Frank Baumann, who is currently recovering from an achilles problem, will also miss out through suspension.

Full back Christian Schulz pulled out of training early on Monday complaining of soreness in his knee, but is still hopeful of recovering in time to take his place in the starting team.

Liverpool and PSV battle for the first place

It's the most crucial match for Liverpool Football Club and PSV Eindhoven. These two teams will fight each other in the UEFA Champions League at Anfield on Wednesday to decide who finishes top of Group C, while Galatasaray and Bordeaux will meet in a similar situation regarding the UEFA Cup place.

The English team have won every European match at Anfield this season and dropped only two points at home in the Premiership. Coach Rafael Benitez is set to continue his attacking policy.

"I think that nobody can say Liverpool is a defensive squad. We play with two wingers and use a lot of attacking players," the Spaniard told the club's website.

"I told my footballers if we keep creating chances and playing well, things will change."

Liverpool's Spanish international winger Luis Garcia has shaken off a hamstring injury and looks set to start out wide, while long-term victims Mohamed Sissoko (shoulder) and Harry Kewell (Septic Arthritis) miss definitely miss the game.

It's important to say that Daniel Agger will retain his place in the centre of defence ahead of Sami Hyypia.

In the other side, PSV look set to rest striker Patrick Kluivert, loath to risk his knee problem when they are already qualified. Midfilder Mika Vayrynen will also be missing after picking up a knock in Finland's 1-0 win over Armenia last week, while another midfielder, youngster Ismail Aissati, is out too.

In fact, the two clubs are equal on ten points and so, having shared a 0-0 draw in Eindhoven, whoever wins Wednesday's game will be certain to top the group after the final group match on head-to-heads.

PSV thrashed Excelsior Rotterdam 4-0 at the weekend to remain top of the Eredivisie by three points, while Liverpool FC shared a goalless draw with Middlesbrough.

Friday, November 03, 2006

UEFA might take actions for violent game in Barcelona-Chelsea derby

The latest derby between Barcelona and Chelsea finished 2-2. But that was not the last word: UEFA president Lennart Johansson claims that disciplinary action will follow Chelsea's tempestuous match against the Catalan team.

As we know, Italian referee Stefano Farina showed 10 yellow cards during the Champions League match in the Nou Camp - six to Chelsea players - and was confronted by furious Barcelona boss Frank Rijkaard at the final whistle.

There was also continual pressuring of the referee, mainly by Barcelona players, while Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho had stoked up the contest before the match by claiming the Blaugrana team were a group of divers.

Johansson, in London to launch his campaign to be re-elected as UEFA president, announced: "I'm against this behaviour but I don't make the decisions, they are taken by the disciplinary bodies.

"I'm convinced that now things will happen as it was so obvious and the people we had in place who saw it will report it."

Chelsea can expect a fine for 'unsporting behaviour' - any team collecting more than five yellow cards in a game faces action - and Barcelona could also be in further trouble after their supporters hurled bottles as Blues players applauded the travelling fanatics at the end of the 2-2 game.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Vieira to miss Inter vs. Spartak

Inter of Milan will travel to the Russian capital for Tuesday's Champions League Group B showdown with Spartak Moscow without Patrick Vieira.

In fact, the talented midfielder sustained an ankle injury during Saturday's 4-3 derby win over AC Milan.

We must mention that Vieira, who will be sidelined for two weeks, had strong words with Inter's assistant coach Sinisa Mihajlovic after the clash.

The French footballer's request to be substituted midway through the second half, 30 minutes after damaging his ankle during a contest with Milan's Gattuso, was turned down by Inter.

Manager Roberto Mancini opted instead to replace forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was also struggling with a minor knock.

"I am sorry that I couldn't replace Vieira," Mancini expressed. "I really thought he could finish the match. I needed him considering that Ibrahimovic couldn't make it.

"In the end, Vieira got upset with Sinisa. However, I want to thank him for what he did for the squad."

And while Vieira stays behind in Milan for treatment on the injury, Ibrahimovic will be available for Tuesday's encounter although Argentine Julio Cruz is likely to partner Hernan Crespo upfront.

"I have seen a lot of positives out of our win against Milan," said Mancini. "I am happy because the team has shown a lot of character.

"Now we are focused on our tricky game against Spartak."

The Nerazzurri welcome back Fabio Grosso, who missed their 2-1 home triumph against Spartak earlier this month through suspension, as they look for their first triumph on the road this current season.

It's important to notice that they trail six points behind group leaders Bayern Munich and are a single point behind Sporting Lisbon.

The Italians must brace themselves for a battle at the Luzhniki Stadium as Spartak, who lost at Inter two weeks ago, cannot afford a loss having only taken one point in three European games.

Should the Russian giants fail to take a positive result, and Sporting beat Bayern in the other group game, Spartak's hopes of progressing would vanish.

But a win on Tuesday would see them leapfrog their illustrious opponents and put them right back in contention.

Russian captain Yegor Titov has been unimpressed with the Italian champions this season and believes they have a genuine chance.

He told the Russian newspaper: "The current Inter team is not what it used to be in the past few years.

"I think there is no better time to play them and if we can't beat them this time we probably never will."

In fact, they will have to perform better than they did at the weekend though - on Saturday the Russian champions were held to a 1-1 draw by the Premier League's bottom team Shinnik Yaroslavl.

Chelsea want to beat Barcelona to assure the first place

The Champions League is setting up for one of the most important derbies in the last years: Barcelona against Chelsea. New goalkeeper Henrique Hilario will keep his place in goal for Chelsea's clash with the Spanish team at the Nou Camp.

We must mention that Hilario has conceded only one goal in four games since replacing injured keeper Petr Cech and saved a penalty against Sheffield United on Saturday. It's also good to know that Carlo Cudicini is fit after a spell out with concussion but boss Jose Mourinho has promised to keep faith in Hilario in the Nou Camp.

Chelsea's coach Mourinho will make a late decision on strikers Didier Drogba and Andriy Shevchenko who both trained with the team today. Drogba came off at Bramall Lane with a foot injury, and Shevchenko missed the match with a thigh strain.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sir Alex Ferguson wants another title for Manchester United

When we talk about Sir Alex Ferguson, we must mention the word "success". He has won everything with Mancheste United. However, he wants to win at least one more Champions League for the Old Trafford team before he retires.

In fact, the old coach will have been manager of United for 20 years on November 6, and has already led the club to eight Premier League titles, five FA Cups, two League Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup - as well as one Champions League triumph, against Bayern Munich in Barcelona in 1999.

Now at the age of 64, Ferguson admits: "It is a priority to do better in the European Cup and that will not change at this club because Europe is a motivation for us all the time.

"In my time at United, we should have done it better. In some years we have been unlucky, in others we have thrown it away and in others we were just not good enough.

"However, the bottom line is we should have had at least one more European Cup in my time at the club and hopefully we can do that before I ride off into the sunset."

We must remember that last season Manchester United failed to make it past the group stage, but three successive wins so far in the current campaign mean that just a point from Wednesday's trip to FC Copenhagen should be enough to earn a place in the knockout stage with two matches to spare.

So, Ferguson believes that spreading the goals around the team is the key to their improved performances and something that will help hem progress in Europe.

"We have great footballer we rely on in terms of goals, the most important being Louis Saha," said Ferguson. "I am sure Wayne [Rooney] will eventually go on to get us 15 and Cristiano Ronaldo is quite capable of reaching that figure too. But the real impact comes from the spread of goals in other areas.

"Obviously Paul Scholes' return to the squad is a bonus in that respect because historically, he has always given us an average of 10 a year. That was one of the things we missed last year when his season was cut down rapidly by injury.

"Hopefully, Ryan [Giggs] and Michael Carrick will make a contribution, as will the defenders, so we could have a healthy situation this year."

The manager also has Alan Smith back in the frame after the ex-Leeds star recovered from a serious leg injury.

Smith is now being seen as a forward again after being played in midfield last season.

"We tried Alan in central midfield last season because we were looking for someone with a certain type of aggression to replace Roy Keane," said Ferguson.

"However, now Scholes is back and we also have Carrick, Alan would have been behind players in the queue, so we felt it was better to use him in a position he is more acquainted with.

"In fact, there are no lingering doubts about him in terms of injury now. He just needs to work on his sharpness and timing. I am sure he will be fine."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Chelsea got a sweet revenge over Barcelona

In a perfect night for Didier Drogba, he scored a brilliant goal to topple European champions Barcelona and put Jose Mourinho's squad in total control at the top of Group A.

As we all saw, the Ivorian is in incredible form and smashed home his ninth of the season, on the turn from the edge of the box. It was sweet revenge for Chelsea against the team who ended their own Champions League dream last season.

In fact, Chelsea have now won their first three matches of their European campaign and are in a strong position to go through to the knockout stages as group-winners.

As for Barcelona, with four points from three games, have a fight on their hands to qualify, with Chelsea their next rivals in the Camp Nou in two weeks.

IT's really good to notice that Hilario, in for injured keepers Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini, kept a clean sheet on his debut and left the pitch clutching the match ball.

England captain John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho were immense in central defence but the keeper played his part with several saves, including a crucial late one from Deco. His first touch came two minutes and 20 seconds into the game when he dashed from his line to collect a loose ball. The home fans gave him a big warm cheer to let him know they were right behind him.

Then, Hilario saved Lionel Messi's angled drive in the 24th minute and turned a low shot from Xavi around the post on the half-hour.

Barcelona shaded first-half possession and, in their most fluent moments, cut through Chelsea but Ronaldinho had little impact on events. He chipped over in the 29th minute after escaping the excellent Boulahrouz and Hilario easily saved a tame free-kick from the Brazilian after the break. But that, and a couple of clever flicks, was about it from FIFA's World Player of the Year.

Gianluca Zambrotta stretched to stop Drogba's effort rolling into the net but was unable to get any distance on his clearance. It spilled back into the penalty area but bounced agonisingly half a yard behind Shevchenko.

German midfielder Michael Ballack squandered Chelsea's best chance of the first half when he rose unmarked to meet Frank Lampard's corner but planted his header over.

It was left to Drogba to open the scoring, less than two minutes after restart. The Ivorian got his ninth of the season and it was just as great as the stunner which beat Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, last month.

He controlled a pass from Cole, turned Carles Puyol and unleashed a fierce drive past Valdes. Drogba's strike opened the match up as Chelsea seized control and finished strongly. Shevchenko had a glorious opportunity to double the lead in the 55th minute but the Ukrainian can seem to do nothing right at the moment and shot over the gaping net.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Football Glory

Welcome to the Unofficial site of the UEFA Champions League. We are a group of fans who will deliver you the latest news of the most important football tournament in the World.

We hope you enjoy this site, full of goals, passion and honor. Follow the games of some of the most important teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter, Manchester United, Arsenal, Bayern Munich and more...

There's no excuse to be bored. The Champions League is here!