Barstool’s Champions League Preview – The “Quarterfinalpalooza Continues” Edition
So this happened.
Fucked up. Very fucked up. Little is known at this point and idle speculation could end up compounding the confusion. However, since reputable news sauces are saying a suspect on “the Islamist spectrum” (note: since when did terrorism and autism become so similar?), that will inevitably lead people to say this was ISIS or at least ISIS-inspired. The former seems unlikely since their M.O. is not to leave a note at the scene claiming responsibility, but in the end who knows at the moment.
More importantly, I will say this: you come at the king, you best not miss.
And guess what you terrorist fucksticks: you missed. Bout time for Big Daddy Donald to stop messing about with little pattycake airstrikes and start getting down to business and bombing these pieces of shit back into the stone ages from whence their perspective on life came.
But instead of getting too wrapped up in politics and letting the terrorists win, let’s get back to the soccer at hand. And O-M-G do we have a good day ahead of us. But first:
This full schedule for the home-and-homes coming up this week and next:
Hahahaha, stupid ass terrorists. You tried to ruin the Champions League (and kill people in the process) but, one broken wrist aside, all you ended up doing was setting the stage for an INCREDIBLE day of #sports with three UCL fixtures back to back/back followed by NHL playoffs. And for their troubles they’ll probably get bombed back to bolivian. Congrats, and enjoy your 72 “virgins”, idiots.
The big question of course (for the purposes of this blog anyway) is how yesterday’s “incident” will impact the teams. Some people are going to assume BVB will rally around one another and come out extra motivated. I mean, I guess that’s possible. Not sure how much more motivated a team could possibly be than when heading into a Champions League quarterfinal where you are already favored to advance. On the flipside, some people may think that the team is going to be shook up and will lack focus for this game. I have a hard time buying that as well. In a former life when I used to play sports, the playing field was the one place where you could escape the vagaries of the real world (death of friend/family member, girlfriend cuckcycling you, etc), and I am willing to bet the same will be true for Dortmund. Which is a long way of introducing the fact that I am sticking with what I said going into yesterday’s originally scheduled kickoff:
One team has a young player that other teams are fawning over and are busily scraping together every last nickel they have to buy this summer… and the other has Kylian Mbappe. (And if you think I’m talking about [the other] Mousa Dembele you can go F your own B.)
Joshing aside these clubs are the poster-children for youth systems and scouting. Both do more with less year in and year out than almost any team in Europe, perhaps the world, though at the same time they are perennial selling clubs where the Bayern’s and PSG’s (among many, many others) stop by every summer to restock their war chest of ridiculous talent. Somebody is going to pay a gazillion for Mbappe this summer, and somebody else is going to pay almost as much for Dembele, and Liverpool is going to buy Pulisic for buttload (source: every Liverpool fan). And that’s just sort of par for the course for these teams. It’s pretty ridiculous when you really think about it – both the amount of talent Monaco and Dortmund hemorrhage on an annual basis and the fact Liverpool think they are gonna get CP10 (I hope).
Anyway, the Juve/Barça game is going to attract 90% of the attention but this game is going to be where the action is at. Whereas the first leg in Turin will likely end up being a rather “restrained” affair, Dortmund and especially Monaco are allergic to boring games. The French side has scored 88 goals – EIGHTY EIGHT – in league play, which is more than any team save for the aforementioned MSM-led Barcelona.
The big question is whether BVB’s defense can handle it. Watching them crumple like Big Sean after a wind sprint against Bayern last weekend was not a pretty sight. The Babyjesus may (eventually) be able to walk on water, but he can’t play defense and offense at the same time.
Point being: if you have been riding that Over Train (Choo Chooooo) to riches all season in the Champions League – and it has been pretty lucrative of late, I’m told – you’d be a damn fool to hop off now. This one should have goals galore, especially since Monaco’s best defender Tiemoue Bakayoko is suspended for the first leg.
Should be a crazy game but after all is said and done I’m going 3-3 draw.
*I was tempted to scale the scoring back just a bit in light of the events of the past 24 hours and go with 2-2 draw… but nah, sometimes just gotta let it ride, especially with Bartra now out at the back for BVB.
From a purely financial perspective, I’m not quite sure how anybody could pass up taking Real Madrid given the odds on offer.
But in the end [spoiler alert] I am personally going to be passing them up. In the wake of yet another first leg embarrassment for Barcelona, Zidane will no doubt be tempted to coax his players to no get overextended going forward in the hopes of not getting chopped apart – and for good reason given Bayern’s scary offense AND the absences of both Verane and Pepe in the back for Real. That means the task of slowing Robben, Ribery and Lewandowski falls to Sergio Ramos and Nacho, the latter of whom has played surprisingly well this season but is still a bit wet behind the ears.
Bayern has some issues of its own at the back with Mats Hummels now out for the season and Manuel Neuer in doubt, but the defensive midfield combo of Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso provides a helluva safety blanket just in front of Martinez and Boateng. Ze Germans will need it against BBC, but I think at home they have enough firepower to get the job done.
UPDATE [12:05pm CT]: Lewandowski is a late scratch due to a shoulder injury suffered during last weekend’s mauling of BVB in Der Klassiker, which definitely changes things for Bayern. They still have options, notably Thomas Muller. Not a bad Plan B, but he has NOT been in great form for… well, a couple years now.
Bayern to win *2-1*. [Note: this has been scaled back from Lewandowski-aided prediction of 3-1.]
Welp, time to see if Cinderella can dance.
“Naïve” is a word that gets thrown around way too much by people who think they are members of the soccer intelligentsia. But since I am admittedly, avowedly, proudly not a part of that club I’m going to use it here. Sevilla was incredibly naïve in the way they played against UCLeicester in the Round of 16. Beyond just Samir Nasri’s stupidity in picking up a needless red card, the club essentially played right into the Foxes hands by leaving big holes at the back for Vardy & Co. to run into.
Atletico is not naïve. Shrewd, grizzled, wily, wizened, street-wise? Yes. Bland, stodgy, monotonous? Perhaps, at times. Naïve? No, absolutely not.
Truth be told, this is going to be a weird game. Like when two counterpunchers face off in boxing and end up circling the ring for the first four rounds… this definitely has that kind of potential.
In fact, if the first leg was going to be played at the King Power Stadium, I would be LOVING the scoreless draw right about now. At home though, Atleti will be a little more motivated to find something and, after poking and prodding for a while, tough to imagine Griezmann won’t eventually find a couple extra inches of space – a la Paulo Dybala yesterday – and slide a dagger or two into UCLeicester’s hopes and dreams.
Atleti to win 2-0.
Boom, briefest Champions League blog barstool SPORTS will post all day. More great games coming up tomorrow. Hahahahahahahaha, kidding. It’s just Spursday. (Though I wouldn’t blame United fans for getting a little hot and bothered about it assuming they want to play in the UCL next season.)
Still true (as we’ll probably see today at the Vicente Calderón):