Monday, April 25, 2011

INFTH Champions League Predictions

RaulSchalke 04 vs Manchester United- A David and Goliath battle, one which pits potential finalists against a team that really should have been knocked out ages ago. Schalke's rise to the semi finals of the Champions League has been surprising and inspiring but I think the journey may well end here for Ralf Rangnick's men.

Schalke's opponents will be Manchester United, experienced Champions League warriors, players that have the muscle memory capable of seeing them through the final. However, United have never beaten a German team in a two legged tie, and pessimists in the United camp will think back to the team's latest European disappointment, a two legged loss to Bayern Munich.

I expect an open game in both legs of this tie, Schalke are not good enough to sit back and defend, and Manchester United will be looking to rack up the away goals against a defense which has been porous at best for most of this season. Sir Alex Ferguson was able to rest several of his key players for this match, handing United another, albeit small, advantage.

Prediction: 1-3

Real Madrid vs Barcelona- When Lionel Messi tucked away his penalty at the Bernabeau two weeks ago, virtually guaranteeing Barca the Spanish Primera title, nobody would have guessed that Real would head into this tie as favorites to advance.

However, since that Messi conversion, Real Madrid have been in blistering form, first pegging back Barca to a 1-1 draw, then winning the Copa Del Rey, and lastly eviscerating Valencia at the Mestalla, scoring six goals against one of Spain's better teams, despite fielding what was effectively a reserve side.

Jose Mourinho will look to follow the blueprint his Inter Milan side set last season, of defeating Barcelona by a two goal margin at home, and then defending at the Camp Nou. Full of confidence after consecutive wins, one would imagine that Real Madrid will be ready to attack Barca, and with injuries in the defensive third continuing to foil Guardiola's plans, Ronaldo and co. will smell blood.

Needless to say, this tie is likely to be an extremely close one, a historic match up which could hand us a sneak preview of the future of Spanish soccer. After two and a half years of dominance, Barca are beginning to be caught up, and a win for Madrid in this tie would just be another step on the road to a more lasting transfer of power.

Prediction: 2-1

No comments:

Post a Comment