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Quick Champions League Preview

The Champions League is back underway today and tomorrow. With only two games left to play in the group stage, the games this week could decide the fate for some teams. Here is a quick preview of some of the more interesting games:

Group C

Marseille v. AC Milan: This game is really only a big deal if Marseille wins. If they do, and Real Madrid beats Zurich as well (which is expected), then Marseille and Real Madrid will be at the top of the table. However, they play in the final game of the group stage and the winner of that game will move on while the loser will likely be out; because AC Milan will likely leapfrog the loser if they beat Zurich in the final game. I made that more complicated and wordy than necessary. Just check the scores after tomorrow's games. If Real and Marseille have both won, then there will be a great showdown with the two teams, in Marseille, to decide who moves on. If any of those teams tie this week, then I have no idea what will happen.

Group E

Liverpool v. Debrecen and Lyon v. Fiorentina: This one is slightly less complicated, but much more compelling at this point. For Liverpool to advance they must win and Lyon must win. If Fiorentina wins, then Liverpool is done. Both games are important, but between the two games, the Lyon/Fiorentina should be a better game since the two teams are evenly matched. Debrecen have yet to win this season, so Liverpool should win. However, nothing is a guarantee with Liverpool this year, especially since they are playing without some key players.

Finally, my favorite group, Group F

I posted this table before, but it's worth posting again:

UEFA Champions League Group F

Internazionale 4 1 3 0 5 4 1 6
Barcelona 4 1 2 1 3 2 1 5
FK Rubin Kazan 4 1 2 1 4 5 -1 5
Dynamo Kiev 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 4

The bottom two teams play each other today, while Inter and Barca play in Barcelona.

Why Tyler Should Care: My friend Tyler follows this site but mentioned the other day that sometimes it's hard to read the posts because he's not a huge soccer fan and doesn't quite understand the importance of some games or not sure why he should even care about what we are talking about. He's not only a hockey fan, but a Los Angeles Kings fan, so he can relate and understand following a non-mainstream sport and one that people may not always understand.

So, for his benefit, here is why I think Tyler should care: The Champions League is the "best of the best" league. All of the clubs that finished at the top of their league the previous season, play in the Champions League the next year. As mentioned, this isn't the final game of the group stage, so neither Barcelona or Inter will be eliminated after this week's games. But besides one game to Chelsea last season, Barcelona completely dominated the Champions League and the Spanish League. They were practically untouchable. Inter Milan dominated the Italian League last year. Coming into the Champions League, it was expected that both Barcelona and Inter would advance from this group to the knock out rounds. However, neither team has performed like it did last year and for one of these teams to not make it out of the group stage would be a huge upset and disappointment for that club, especially if it was the reigning champions Barcelona. Neither team can afford to lose this game. Plus, if Barcelona loses, then you won't get to see any more of Messi (pictured). At 5'6", he's arguably the best player in the game right now.

In hockey terms, this game would be like if the Mighty Ducks (after they were good) entered a tournament and in the round robin portion, they were grouped with The Hawks and then another team that played with their tennis shoes instead of skates and another that was full of a bunch of girls (Rubin Kazan and Dynamo aren't that bad). Naturally, you would expect that the Ducks and the Hawks would advance. Not because the other two aren't good, but just not as good as the Ducks and Hawks. Well, imagine if the Ducks and Hawks had some bad games here and there to the point that they were playing, and although it wasn't for the championship, the loser would not be guaranteed to move on. The game just went from interesting because of the skill of all the players involved, to thrilling because so much is on the line. Plus, last night, Inter found out that Barcelona's best player was actually owned by Inter and now has to play with Inter today. It's amazing no one noticed it before, but it adds to the drama (that was probably one too many Mighty Duck references).

So there you have it. The (not so) quick preview of the Champions League games this week. Surely an analysis of some of the games will come in later posts, unless Liverpool loses in which case Brig may lose all desire to watch or talk about soccer.
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