The boring part is over – and honestly, one has to call the group phase of the Championsleague boring. At least if you follow and agree with Benjamin Schulz from the German magazine DER SPIEGEL (although the Spiegel is not famouse to have the best reports about soccer) whos comment was titled (the entire article you can read here: Geldfluss statt Spielfluss) “Geldfluss statt Spielfluss” (roughly translated cash flow instead of flow of the game). But is he right? No doubt, it is – except you are a supporter of Barca itself not so interesting to see them sweeping an under class club out of the stadium. And I doubt that many people in Europa watch breathless the group game Schachtar Donezk vs. Sporting Braga. It is not that one cannot enjoy such games of course, and watching Messi is worth always to turn on the TV, but are such games worth to call them Champions League? I am still not sure if I agree with Schulz but in fact he has some good arguments on his side when we writes against the league phase of the Champions League. He blames that league to be responsible that the smaller teams have less and less chances against TopClubs like Barca, Chelsea and ManU. But is it really the group mode or is is a different quality in european football since some clubs have almost unlimited sources of money through men like Abramovich.
Be it as it may. The group matches are history and it is time to have a look on the outcome.
On 27th of August I made the following forecast:
A) Inter and Werder
B) Lyon and Schalke
C) ManU and Valencia
D) Barcelona and Kasan
E) Bayern and Roma
F) Chelsea and Marseille
G) Real and Amsterdam
H) Arsenal and … Braga
Not that bad. On the other hand not that surprising anyhow and to be honest: All those teams I thought could be a surprise winner failed. Neither Bremen made it, nor could Amsterdam, Braga and Kasan move to the next round. So I have to admit that my forecast was wrong all in all. I mean, it is really not hard to predict that Barcelona, Real, Bayern, Arsenal etc move forward.
On December 17th the next matches will be announced.Bayern München can face these teams:
Inter, Lyon, Valencia, Kopenhagen, Marseille, Milan and Arsenal.