UEFA Champions League Preview

UEFA Champions League Preview

  • Posted by Geoff Reid
  • On April 7, 2010
  • Bayern Munich, Bordeaux, Geoff Reid, Lyon, Manchester United, UEFA Champions League

By Geoff Reid

Today we finish off the remaining quarter final ties with the all French affair in Bordeaux and a rematch of the 1999 final in Manchester.

Bordeaux vs Lyon From The Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux (Lyon leads 3-1 on agg.)
The all French tie took an interesting twist in the first leg with Lyon winning 3-1. It wasn’t so much of a surprise that Lyon won the first leg, but the score being as high as it was. Laurent Blanc has proven to be very good tactically so far in his young managerial career and the players just didn’t execute the game plan last time. Bordeaux are also going through a rough spell at home and abroad and having got the away goal in the first leg, the job is not impossible. Lyon manager Claude Puel is preaching his squad to be careful of overconfidence. Lyon should go into the match looking to score to all but bury Bordeaux and win the tie.

Bordeaux have Fernando (cheekbone), and Gregory Sertic (ankle) both ruled out. Cedric Carrasso (groin), Marc Planus (knee), and Abdou Traore (hamstring) are all listed as doubtful and will be game time decisions for Blanc while nobody is suspended for this one. Carrasso should get the start in goal unless his injury holds up. Bordeaux have always played this patient build up and with the match being 90 minutes, this shouldn’t change. The difference should be what Yoann Gourcuff can do, and the question is how will Lyon shut him down?

For Lyon, Francois Clerc (knee), Anderson (knee, calf, shoulder), Johann Hartock (achilles), and Jean II Makoun (groin) will miss the game through injury. The only player listed as doubtful is Mathieu Bodmer (groin), however the bad news is striker Lisandro and playmaker Sidney Govou could both miss the semi final first leg if they both pick up yellow cards. Anything in Lyon’s attack will involve Govou, Michel Bastos and Miralem Pjanic. Lyon certainly have the weapons to hurt Bordeaux and with Puel saying they will play to win the game expect them to try and play football right from the very start.

Prediction: Bordeaux 2-1 Lyon. If the score works out this way, Lyon would go through 4-3 on aggregate. I firmly believe Lyon will get through this tie anyway. Bordeaux just has too much going against them currently, and Lyon have been at this stage numerous times in the last few seasons they should finally come through and make the semi finals.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich From Old Trafford, Manchester (Bayern lead 2-1 on agg.)
This second leg is set up nicely for both teams in a way because Bayern got the win at home in the first leg, but United got the crucial away goal that’s all so very important. Either way, the tie is still on a knife’s edge. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team has hit a bit of a bad patch recently with their 2-1 defeat in Munich, followed by a home defeat to rival Chelsea domestically by the same score. The United boss said he’d be happy to win this match 1-0 which will take it to 2-2 on aggregate and United would win on away goals. His counterpart Louis van Gaal admits that the red devils are the favorites in this tie, but he says his squad has self belief. Most striking of the Dutchman’s comments were that of his jealousy towards United’s structure. Nobody is quite sure what he meant by that, but best guess would be the money Ferguson’s had to spend on players.

Ferguson has Anderson (knee), Wes Brown (metatarsal), and Michael Owen (hamstring) all ruled out for this second leg. The players that are doubtful and Jonny Evans (knee), John O’Shea (thigh), and most imporantly England striker Wayne Rooney (right ankle) after his injury in the first leg. Sir Alex already suggested he won’t use Rooney and anyone else that isn’t 100% fit. There have been stories in the English press lately of United’s top scorer to play some part miraculously but those have seemed to have been put to bed. In the end, Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov will get the chance to live up to this hefty price tag which so far has failed to do in his United career. It’s easy to say United are not the same team without Rooney, but so far it’s also hard to argue against it. Paul Scholes has in the past showed up when it matters most and tonight may be no different.

Bayern do not have any players officially ruled out for this one, however Arjen Robben (calf), and Daniel Van Buyten (knee) are doubts although as the hours pass by it looks like Robben will play in this second leg which will be a huge boost for the Bavarians. It would also take the pressure off French winger Frank Ribery. Bayern’s defense is not the best, and they can expect to be tested from United’s attackers. United’s defense has not been at it’s best recently either or this season so far and Bayern have the guns to hurt United besides Robben and Ribery. Mario Gomez will probably start up front by himself with plenty of ammunition from the midfield. Van Gaal will probably start out defensively, before deciding anything else.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich. I’m going for United to win the tie in extra time. It be foolish to bet against Ferguson and United as they’ve been here way too many times in the past, even missing Rooney. Bayern are a young team that are capable of winning and will push United all the way, but ultimately experience should come through in this one.

Editor’s Note: Geoff Reid appears on WVHooligan each week. Feel free to leave him thought thoughts and comments below.