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  1. Barcelona vs Chelsea: Wednesday, 2:45pm East Coast, 11:45am West Coast
    Next Tuesday, same time.

    Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich: Tuesday, 2:45pm Eastern, 11:45 am Pacific
    Next Wednesday, same time.

    The three best teams in Europe and Chelsea square off in some highly entertaining matchups with potential for great games, and I'll be showing up to work on 2-3 hours' sleep after all of them.

    First up is Real Madrid vs Bayern. These teams are expensive, with tons of top talent on display. Bayern lost Alaba to suspension but should have a pretty much up-to-speed Bastian Schweinsteiger showing why he's possibly Xavi's heir as world's best box to box midfielder. With Arjen Robben and Mario Gomez scoring infinite goals and Franck Ribery absolutely killing it on the wing, Jose will probably park the bus a bit for Madrid and play a very defensive formation. Manuel Neuer is probably the best keeper in the world and will be called upon repeatedly to stop the many-headed hydra of Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, and possibly Angel Di Maria (world's most talented spectator?)... with disgusting creativity from Kaka and Ozil in the midfield (and the return of the amazing Xabi Alonso), don't be surprised if Jose instead plays a super-cynical lineup with Pepe and Lass Diarra featuring. This much talk of the amazing talent in this game, and I haven't yet name-dropped Lahm, Boateng, Kroos, Iker, Marcelo, Khedira, or Thomas Muller.

    Bayern is pretty fortunate to have the home leg first and needs to get out there and take this one. Real is reeling a little bit atm and distracted by suddenly going from 13 point leaders in La Liga to 4 (and with the other Liga Clasico coming up this weekend between these two games), but Bayern needs to do more than simply defend its "unbeaten at home" status this week. They probably need a two-goal win (or 1-0) to feel any comfort level heading to the Bernabeu next weekend if they want to ensure a home game in the Champions' League final. This is one of the few teams in the world that can hang with Real over 180 minutes, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Bayern pip Real 2-1 and then have to hang on for dear life in Madrid.

    I love Chelsea and have watched most of their games this season, but I honestly don't see how they can hang with Barcelona. The massive size advantage if you play Drogba up top is the sort of edge that allows you to beat a superior team in a one-off matchup, but beating Barcelona over 180 minutes might be a task that this team is simply not up to. It's not 2007 anymore, Frank. Lampard, Terry, and Drogba just don't have the stratospheric game they once had, Essien is a shadow of his former self, the speed they do have (Ramires in particular) is really raw, and even though I've been impressed (really, really impressed actually) with Torres over the last month and a half, you don't beat Barcelona by outplaying them at Spanish football. Torres and Mata are not going to outplay their Spanish national team peers. David Luiz apparently is starting, which is a huge defensive liability against a team where you really have to be marking everyone at all times. Having Ivanovic and Cole back at least gives them some hope of stemming the tide, but I expect a hard-fought loss at home to set the stage for a 3 or 4-goal Barca trouncing at the Camp Nou next week.

    I think not starting Torres is a huge mistake if Di Matteo makes the decision I think he's leaning towards (still no idea why Kalou starts), but the simple fact is that Chelsea doesn't have a single player as talented as Messi. Or Xavi. Or Iniesta. Or Alexis. Or Sergio. Or Dani Alves. Or Pique. Or a couple guys on Barca's bench (hello, David Villa, good luck in your recovery attempts for the final).

    I predict Barca wins comfortably as Chelsea parks the bus but can't stop everything, and Bayern shocks Real by hanging on and absorbing the attacks next week after a 2-1 win tonight. That means this weekend is the last Clasico of the season, and Bayern gets Barca at home, which makes the final particularly interesting.

    Thoughts?
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  2. 3 best teams in Europe? Dortmund > Bayern.

    Said i fancied Bayern a while back and still feel the same. They will be at home of they get to the final as well. Saying that, I hope Madrid crush Bayern and then in the final, play Chelsea and it goes to penalties and John Terry misses the final one again. Nothing quite like seeing that cunt cry.

    feel like Drog has to play for Chelsea to have a chance. However good Torres has looked (and i dont think he has looked that good fwiw) he has scored one goal in the PL and a couple against lower level opposition.
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  3. I bet a 2 team parlay ...
    Bayern/Real draw +220 and Barca -180...pays 4/1

    Bayern's back line is horrendous...but I'm hoping they can squeeze out a 1-1 draw at home

    Chelsea are just old...Barca is in good form

    Predictions....

    1-1 draw Bayern/Real
    2-0 Barca

    2nd leg

    2-0 Real
    3-0 Barca

    Final
    Barca 2-0 Real
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  4.  
    Originally Posted by djg23 View Post

    3 best teams in Europe? Dortmund > Bayern.

    Said i fancied Bayern a while back and still feel the same. They will be at home of they get to the final as well. Saying that, I hope Madrid crush Bayern and then in the final, play Chelsea and it goes to penalties and John Terry misses the final one again. Nothing quite like seeing that cunt cry.

    feel like Drog has to play for Chelsea to have a chance. However good Torres has looked (and i dont think he has looked that good fwiw) he has scored one goal in the PL and a couple against lower level opposition.

    Dortmund's better because they're winning the Bundesliga? I think having Schweinsteiger back changes everything for that team. I think Bayern has potentially 5 guys I'd consider if I was making a 23-man team of any players in the world (Neuer, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Robben, Ribery, with guys like Muller and Gomez pretty close), and while Real is in a similar boat, this is one of those rare matches where they can't just out-talent the opposition. As we've seen when they play Barcelona, they sometimes struggle with actually having to outplay a team on a similar level. Dortmund is very consistent, but I wouldn't expect them to be favored heads up vs the top 7 or 8 teams in Europe. Or even Chelsea for that matter...
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  5. Dortmund are one of my favourite teams so im probably a little biased but i am still pretty sure they have beaten them home and away the last 2 seasons. They have underperformed in europe but i really do think that they are a better team.

    Ribery is very overrated imo.
    Edited By: djg23 Apr 17th, 2012 at 11:36 AM
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  6. Ribery's work rate is out of this world though...that's what makes him world class
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  7. Here's a $100 Risk-Free Bet on either semi-final match:

    Tuesday, April 17
    Bayern Munich (+165) vs Real Madrid (+165)
    Draw (+240)

    Wednesday, April 18
    Chelsea (+400) vs Barcelona (-145)
    Draw (+290)

    LiL Help hur
     
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  8.  
    Originally Posted by B_O_K_E View Post

    Here's a $100 Risk-Free Bet on either semi-final match:

    Tuesday, April 17
    Bayern Munich (+165) vs Real Madrid (+165)
    Draw (+240)

    Wednesday, April 18
    Chelsea (+400) vs Barcelona (-145)
    Draw (+290)

    LiL Help hur

    I would smash the Bayern/Real draw. Then lose 1-0 to Mourinho.
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  9. pretty excited for this matchup. should be amazing. can't wait to watch this afternoon.
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  10. Cosign with the draw. Probably the best bang for buck on a $100 flier. I'm really torn on the Barca/Chelsea match. On one hand I have severe contempt for Chelsea (Spurs supporter) and want Barca to clobber them. On the other hand, I grow tired of seeing every Barca player acting like they've been gunned down by sniper fire when they get touched. It would be one thing if they needed these tactics to get them over the hump in tight spots, but they're so supremely talented that it gets a bit ridiculous at times. I'd like to see Bayern get through only because I already see Barca play Madrid twice a year. Also, I have a huge mancrush Neuer.
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  11. I think there might be a bunch of goals in the Bayern Real madrid semi. Forward and in D, Real Madrid is better, but the Real Madrid D has a lot of problems with the type of speed Bayern can bring. I feel like the only way Bayern can hang around is to match the goals scored by Real. If the Real D can stop Bayern, this series has the potential for a blow-out.

    In terms of Barcelona v Chelsea, I'd like to see a competitive match up, but I think Barcelona will go through comfortably.

    Also, I'm very excited for the two Barcelona Madrid match ups. The last few years, when Real played Barcelona it was pretty painful. The 6-2 and 5-0 loses were bad, but watching those games, there was no doubt that Barcelona was so much better than Real. On the contrary the last few games have been much more frustrating. The loss in the Supercup and the league and the Copa del Rey were very frustrating because I felt like they were games between two teams with comparable skills, and Real played some really great soccer but they lost due to a few mental lapses and a huge inferiority complex they have for Barcelona. I'm excited to see if they can overcome it.
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  12. Draw +260
    FC Bayern München vs. Real Madrid
    Risk US$ 100.00
    To Win US$ 260.00

    Ill ride.
     
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  13.  
    Originally Posted by LVpokerdealer View Post

    Ribery's work rate is out of this world though...that's what makes him world class

    I remember watching him run his ass off around Zidane throughout the '06 World Cup, I remember being in awe about how hard the guy played.

    I don't care who wins, as long as there are good ties -- I just want some interesting second legs.
    Edited By: Nickc011 Apr 17th, 2012 at 05:34 PM
     
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  14. Getting SCHWEINSTRIKER back helps Munich big time but still dont think they are top 3 in EU. Looking forward to the games!
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  15. Can only watch tomorrow's game; Drogba is a must for Chelsea to have a chance imo. Even so they are gonna need some luck - and David Luiz to not do something stupid.
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  16. lol, good try Franck
     
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  17. Boom!
    Edited By: zander Apr 17th, 2012 at 08:03 PM
    Reason: Good try Franck indeed!
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  18. I dont get the offsides rule anymore. I thought if a player from ur team is offsides and in the path of the shot that goes in, it's offsides.
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  19. Just got home from class. Physics Prof let us out a bit early, so I get to see the first half as well. Get home, links all fired up, and literally the first kick of the ball I see is a goal.

    Looks pretty fishy imo.

    1.) Handball
    2.) Offside (even if dude didn't get a touch, he's right in the sight of the keeper...didn't catch who it was, I was too bust looking at his feet on the replay).
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  20. Not off if he didn't touch it. Was handball though


    But, how the fuck did ribery not get booked for diving. It has to be either a dive or a penalty
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  21.  
    Originally Posted by djg23 View Post

    Not off if he didn't touch it. Was handball though

    But, how the fuck did ribery not get booked for diving. It has to be either a dive or a penalty

    i thought u cant be in the line of sight of the goalkeeper, and be offsides. Otherwise u could put a player blocking the goalkeeper on every attack, and get a huge advantage
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  22. The offside rule changes just about every season. Pretty stupid really
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  23.  
    Originally Posted by edwardt1988 View Post

    i thought u cant be in the line of sight of the goalkeeper, and be offsides. Otherwise u could put a player blocking the goalkeeper on every attack, and get a huge advantage

    I've seen a lot worse goals given -- I think it could have potentially gone the other way, but, I like the decision.
     
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  24. Ozil has been terrible
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  25.  
    Originally Posted by djg23 View Post

    Ozil has been terrible

    He's been pretty mediocre this whole season IMO
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  26. Even though he's French and they embarrassed the game last WC, I love Ribery. He never stops and I'd love to have him on my team. I thought he was the best player on the pitch that half, but they really do look like a different team with Schweinsteiger back in there.

    Great first half, wouldn't be surprised to see a few goals in the second half but hoping Bayern can keep the clean sheet.
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  27. Don't know how ronaldo managed to miss the first chance. Got away with it though
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  28. Crazy goal sequence there
     
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  29. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. But whats up with C. Ronaldo missing on those break-aways?
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  30. lol at that first shot by Ronaldo before the goal
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