Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Champions League Kick-Off

The 2006/07 UEFA Champions League kicks off today with 8 matches. It only seems like yesterday we were watching Barcelona hoisting the trophy in Paris after a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. Today we begin that journey once again.

Here are a few of my picks:

Barcelona vs. Levski Sofia
The defending Champions League winners and defending la Liga Champions open up at home against Bulgarian club Levski Sofia. Barcalona should not have much trouble with this match, as there are no reports of any of the heavy hitters having any injury issues. Ronaldinho, Saviola, Gudjohnsen, Eto’o, Deco, Messi, should all be available, which should mean certain victory for the Catalan club.
Barcelona 3 – 0 Levski Sofia

Chelsea vs. Werder Bremen
This is one of the better match-ups in the group phase this season. Chelsea are still whining about not getting a First Seed for the draw and are still trying to sort out life without Joe Cole and life with everyone else who is new. That said, Chelsea are oozing talent which should still get them through the group phase. Werder Bremen are one of the better Bundesliga clubs, but without the services of their main striker Klose, who seems to be out due to a thigh injury. According to Chelsea midfielder, Michael Ballack, Bremen can score goals, but they also allow a lot of goals as well. I think that the talent of Chelsea overcome the skill of Bremen.
Chelsea 3 – 1 Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich vs. Spartak Moscow
After labeling them as the upset of the group phase, I am beginning to feel that Bayern might be able to pull it together and get out of the group phase to the knock out stages. I wrote about this earlier, as the main weight of their chances fall on the shoulders of Hargreaves, van Bommel and Deisler. Seba is still out with his knee injury, so van Bommel and Hargreasves will have to carry the load in the midfield. Lucas Pudolski seems to be in line for his first start of the season, partnering up front with Roy Makaay, which could be the lethal strikeforce that Felix Magath has been hoping for. Having Santa Cruz and Pizzaro on the bench available, things should look good for Bayern, at least in this match. As this is the Group of Death this season, Bayern had better get the 3 points at home against the Russian side.
Bayern Munich 2 – 0 Spartak Moscow


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