- Posted by Geoff Reid
- On September 29, 2010
- 1 Comments
- Geoff Reid, UCL 2010/11
By Geoff Reid
(Editor’s Note: sorry we’re a tad late on this today…life happens!)
Here is part two of the second round of matches that take place today.
Tottenham vs FC Twente from White Hart Lane, London.
Harry Redknapp’s boys will be looking to get their first home win in this competition after giving up a two goal lead a fortnight ago in Bremen. Judging by results so far this season, Spurs are going through the growing pains of playing on two fronts in this tournament as well as the league, and trying to balance things out. The Dutch champions got off to a decent start, although a draw at home in their opener may be seen as a disappointment, but when it’s the defending champions of Europe it’s not necessarily a bad result. They will certainly look to get a point away from home in this encounter.
Inter Milan vs Werder Bremen from the San Siro, Milan
After a disappointing result this past weekend in league play, Inter will look to get back to winning ways against the Germans. New head coach Rafa Benitez has had a somewhat inconsistent start taking over the reigns from Jose Mourinho, but is experienced in this competition with both Valencia, and more recently Liverpool, and has an excellent record. Bremen on the other hand will be disappointed with their start, but should be encouraged by the fight back they showed against Tottenham and will need that same team spirit to get anything out of tday’s encounter.
Tel-Aviv vs Lyon from Bloomfield Stadium, Tel-Aviv
One match that won’t really generate much interest from the neutrals, this game will be a tricky away match for Lyon, as it is never easy to go to hostile environments such as this one. However, if the French side fail to pick up less then three points, then they should class this one as a disappointment. Group B on paper is very tight, and with all due respect to the Israelis, they should be the whipping boys in the group.
Schalke vs Benfica from the Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen
Schalke have not gotten off to a good start in league play this season, but after picking up their first win of the season this past weekend against Borussia Monchengladbach, new signing Raul is confident the goals will now start to flow. After losing to Lyon in the tournaments opener, a home win will do nicely for the Germans. Benfica picked up a nice 2-0 win against H. Tel-Aviv which is what was expected from them anyways. Nevertheless, a win is a win, and builds confidence. The Portuguese outfit are experienced in this competition, and should be confident of getting points in Germany.
Valencia is Manchester United from the Mestalla, Valencia
This is a match that United will be favorites to win, but will be missing star player Wayne Rooney. Sir Alex Ferguson has a big enough squad to compensate with in form striker Demitar Berbatov available, Michael Owen who seems to be in form also, and Mexican striker Javier Hernandez available for selection. This Valencia team is not as good as the version Rafa Benitez managed to two league titles in 2001, and 2003, but it’s still a team that has picked up 13 points from their first five league games that has put them top of La Liga. Should be a good one.
Rangers vs Bursaspor from Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow
The Scottish champions will have picked up a big boost of confidence knowing that they came out of Old Trafford with a point against Manchester United, while in contrast, Bursaspor will have been shaken after the home defeat to Valencia two weeks ago. If both clubs are realistic here, they will be vying for the third place finish in the group to get qualification in the later rounds of the Europa League, although both managers will never say that. If anything, these clubs will play spoiler in the group.
Rubin Kazan vs Barcelona from Centralni, Kazan
The Russian side have shown themselves very well in the Champions League in the last few seasons, while Russian football has always been improving the last decade. Pep Guardiola will know it won’t be a walk in the park, and while the Catalans will be favorites to win this tie, it should be a very good game for the neutral and usually watching Barcelona is always fascinating. On paper, these two clubs will be the ones that advance.
Panathinaikos vs FC Kobenhavn from OACA Spyro Louis Stadium, Athens
Both of these clubs will think they can realistically finish second behind Barcelona, so these matches along with the ones against Rubin Kazan are massive, and in turn it puts more pressure on Barcelona. Besides a place in the knockout rounds in this competition, but also in the Europa League is up for grabs. This Panathinaikos team is not as good as years past, but will still have a great atmosphere at their home ground, while the Danish champions are experienced enough in European competition they will want to go further then previous seasons.