Leicester pulled off the incredible (with a bigggggggggggggggg fat assist from Spurs), and congrats to them. We’ll get into that more later. I’ve been compartmentalizing the blogs to focus exclusively on the competition in question all season, and I’ll be god damned if I’m gonna change that now just because the greatest Cinderella story in sports history just urinated all up in my bowl of Wheaties.
So we got a little thing called Champions League going on today and tomorrow. As I warned everybody going into last week’s games, they both turned out to be “tactical battles” – or in other words were boring as shit. Such is life in the home-and-home format that UEFA favors for many millions of reasons… most of which are crisp dollar bills (though both clubs getting to play at home does convey a whiff of “fairness” as well).
Now for the good news: the first round of games last week was essentially the spinach and cauliflower of your Champions League meal. Nobody likes them but after experiencing those disgusting flavors on your tongue, they make the meat and potatoes taste soooooooooooo much more delicious. So we’ve eaten our rabbit food, now let’s enjoy the good shit.
Yes, this happened. It sucked, but it’s over and done with. Let’s move on.
Both games were “cagey affairs” in which none of the teams (with the exception perhaps of Bayern, which simply couldn’t find a way through Atletico’s 10-man defense) showed much interest in “going for it”… aka “attempting to score”.
Hopefully things will be different this time around. Second legs often have a way of making up for their earlier counterparts.
PICK OF THE DAY
As mentioned last time around, this is a quintessential match up of offense versus defense. Round one went to defense, as Atletico scored an early goal and bunkered down into a protective shell as only they know how.
The question now becomes, is Atleti more like Floyd Mayweather (minus the love for beating on women) or the Death Star?
Everybody was under the impression that both are absolutely, positively, utterly, completely impenetrable… except in one case they were absolutely, positively, utterly, completely WRONG.
Despite what the oddsmakers apparently think, Atletico is definitely the sexy pick among experts in this one. I’ve seen all sorts of predictions that have them advancing by way of a 0-0 or 1-1 draw, predicated on all sorts of fancy stats about how many goals the (other) Madridistas have (not) given up in this or that competition or place.
Two words of caution for those dummies: 1) Playing at the Allianz Arena in the UCL aint like those other competitions or places; 2) You clearly haven’t watched enough Star Wars.
Yes, Bayern is going to be missing Ribery and Robben, who would have been dangerous flying down the wings, but the home side still have Costa and Coman to help widen play and put crosses in to Lewandowski and Muller. Speaking of Muller, Pep was guilty of a classic case of overthinking things when he left him on the bench for most of the first leg. His gauche but effective style and knack for always being in the right place at the right time was sorely lacking for Bayern last week (among some other keys, including better service into the box and more creative runs to open up space in final third), and why he was left watching from the sideline for so long – never mind not starting in the first place – was silly. Also, the continued absence of Diego Godin is also going to be an even bigger loss today on the road in enemy territory.
Having said all that, Atleti’s odds are incredibly tasty. They have proven that they are currently one of the top handful of clubs in all the land over the past few months, even if their methods for achieving said success are borderline unwatchable at times, and no club that good should ever be [+550] underdogs. But sometimes you just gotta go with the awkward white guy who may or may not want to bang his sister to eventually save the day.
Prediction: Bayern to win 2-0 with at least one goal from Müller.
Friendly reminder: City travel to Madrid to face Real tomorrow with the matchup all knotted at zeros… stay woke.
Sam U.L. Army