Tag Archive | "2012 Champions League"

2011-12 Champions League: Through Champions League Scores 10/19/11

The UEFA Champions League group stage in 2011 got revved up once again this week, and there aren’t all that many surprises to talk about through three of the six fixtures in this year’s qualification for the knockout rounds.

Group H is the biggest laugher. Both AC Milan and Barcelona have seven points through three matches, and both BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen have just one point from playing each other. There’s no doubt that this group has already been decided.

Both Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen have played fantastic soccer in the Champions League as well. Both teams already have two victories. Valencia is going to be the odd team out in all likelihood, as it is already four points back of qualification in Group E.

The busy group of the bunch is Group F, where you would like to think that all four teams are still in search of the second phase of the competition. Arsenal and Olympique Marseille both have two victories to head up the group. However, if the group stages ended right now, it would be the German champions, Borussia Dortmund that ends up going home as the last place team in the group. Dortmund has been outscored 7-2 in its three matches, including a bad loss to Olympiakos that probably will not be forgiven.

Further down in Group G, it’s surprising to see Apoel Nicosia still undefeated. Granted, this hasn’t been the toughest group in the world, and there are only three points separating all four teams, but just the thought that it has a shot of staying alive in any European competition is impressive.

The dominating teams in the top half of the Champions League draw have been as good as expected in the start of this tournament.

Real Madrid has three victories and an impressive 8-0 goal differential in its three matches so far to run away from Ground D, and it can be the first team to punch its ticket into the second round of the tournament with just one more result. It seems as though the last fixture between Ajax Amsterdam and Lyon will determine which team survives into Round 2.

Manchester United is only 1-2-0 in Group C, but we don’t foresee any issues going forward. The Red Devils are a point clear of FC Basel for second place behind Benfica, who has only conceded one goal and has seven points to show for its three matches.

Inter Milan is two points atop of Group B, and it really shouldn’t have any challenges going forward at this level of the competition. The team can really take it easy against the likes of CSKA Moscow, Trabzonspor, and Lille, all of which are just grasping for a hope at being the second team to qualify through this group.

Finally at the top of the table, things are most interesting in Group A. The English giants, Manchester City are doing a fantastic job taking care of business in the English Premier League, but they are only 1-1-1 in three fixtures in the Champions League. Right now, that’s just not good enough, as both Bayern Munich and Napoli are in front of the Citizens. Another Spanish side is struggling though, as Villarreal has just one goal to show for its three matches, and it is likely already conceded to being out of European competition.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

2011 Champions League Predictions: Previewing the Champions League Odds

We are incredibly excited to see how the best teams in the world are all going to fare in the Champions League this year, with action in the group stages starting on Tuesday. Check out our Champions League predictions for each of the groups and how we think this tournament is going to pan out!

Group A
It’s fairly clear that this is the proverbial “Group of Death.” Manchester City got rather unlucky to be placed in this group, but the Citizens are still our choice to get through. They’re +115 favorites at 5Dimes Sportsbook to win Group A, but Bayern Munich isn’t all that far behind at +165. Villarreal, which finished fourth last year in the Spanish Primera, would like to think that it has a reasonable side, and in another group, perhaps it would have better fortune. Napoli, at +1040, really has very little shot at qualifying for the next round, as the two fixtures with the Azzuri are the ones that everyone expects to get points from. Napoli does play surprisingly solid defense, but this unit really doesn’t have the offensive firepower that the rest of these clubs do. Just surviving to tell about the Europa League would be quite the accomplishment, but we don’t see a team that Napoli is finishing in front of. We tend to think that both Man City (+1025) and Bayern Munich (+2000) have chances of actually winning the Champions League, but odds have it, neither will be around to see much more than the quarterfinals. A semifinal season for either would be quite the accomplishment.

Group B
Group B is a wide open group that any of the four teams can win. The favorite, of course, is Inter Milan, the traditional Italian power. At -130, this is one of the rare odds on favorites to win a group, but we aren’t so sure that it is justified. Going into Russia and Turkey are never easy tasks, and you can bet that both CSKA Moscow (+395) and Trabzonspor (+1775) are going to do everything that they can to make life a living hell on the Italians. However, the second qualifying spot is the most interesting in this group. Lille (+385) is the second favorite to make it out of this group, but it is clear that any of these three teams could find its way into the knockout rounds, just as it wouldn’t be all that surprising if any of the three don’t qualify for even the Europa League. Inter Milan (+3000) is the only team in this group that we feel has any chance whatsoever of beating the Champions League odds, and we’re fairly convinced that it doesn’t really stand much of a chance either.

Group C

Manchester United should be counting its lucky stars that it drew this type of a group. There is no doubt that the Red Devils, at -420, are going to win this ground, likely with one or two fixtures to spare. The toughest clash is going to be this first one at Benfica this week, but even a point in that match should clearly send United into the next round. At +695, the Red Devils have just a fantastic price on the odds to win the 2011 Champions League. The Portuguese side knows that it shouldn’t have all that much problem qualifying for the second round either. With FC Basel (+1950) and Otelul Galati (+3300) showing absolutely no signs of life whatsoever, Benfica should be able to coast into the knockout stages. It would be a tremendous shock for either the Swiss side or the Romanian side to stay in the Champions League longer than six matches. This is the first time that Otelul has been in this tournament, making just six appearances in European competitions before this.

Group D
Real Madrid really got a sweetheart draw as well, and the Spanish side is at -355 to win Group D. There will be no stopping this team, and we’d be shocked if Madrid ended up with anything less than perhaps 14 points. Olympique Lyon at +440 should be a qualifier for the second round unless Ajax Amsterdam (+885) can pull off some magical moments. Don’t be totally surprised by the Dutch side though, as this team is rich in history, and it’s go-for-broke offensive mentality can be a surprise to some of the best sides in the world. Ajax would be our dark horse pick to survive into Round 2. Dinamo Zagreb is one of the worst teams in this tournament in spite of the fact that it is a powerhouse in Croatia. This team is +100000 to win the Champions League and +2800 to win Group D. Just picking up a few points would be an accomplishment.

Group E
The fifth group in the Champions League could be a remotely interesting one. FC Chelsea Football Club is at -225 to win Group E and +1135 on the Chelsea odds to win the Champions League, but we just don’t see it happening. This is clearly no better than the third best team in England in our estimation, and even though it will get through this group without that many hassles, winning in the knockout rounds could be awfully difficult. The Belgian champs, Genk (+3000) are the overwhelming underdogs and shouldn’t be a challenge in the Champions League, while both Valencia (+325) and Bayer Leverkusen (+550) have legitimate chances of getting into the knockout rounds. The loser of this duo will likely become one of the favorites in the Europa League.

Group F
There is a ton of experience in Group F, and that experience could be bad, bad news for Arsenal. Of all of the favorites to win a group, the English side is the one that we are most afraid could legitimate be knocked into the Europa League… or worse… out of European competition all together. The Gunners are +135 co-favorites, and if they play in the UCL as they have in the Premier League thus far, they won’t survive this group. Olympiakos is at +1285, a price which might be worth investing in. Borussia Dortmund is carrying the German banner this year as a +135 co-favorite in Group E, and it might be a worthy play at +3800 to win this tournament. Marseille is the Wild Card of sorts in this, the second version of the “Group of Death,” but we could definitely see the French side getting into the knockout rounds.

Group G
There are going to be some happy teams in Group G, as this is the one group that doesn’t have any representatives from the biggest leagues in Europe. Here, we feature the defending Europa League champs, FC Porto, who is -110 to win Group G, but we also have APOEL (+2075), Shakhtar (+220), and Zenit St. Petersburg (+405). Russian soccer has definitely come quite a long ways over the past few years, and there is a realistic chance that this could be a rare trip into the knockout rounds for this country. The Donetsk side is the second favorite, but we know that it is a team that is there for the taking. Either way, save for Porto at +4000, there isn’t a team that is even worth thinking about winning the Champions League.

Group H
There won’t be an easier group to handicap than this one. Neither Plzen (+4700) nor BATE Borisov (+2700) have any chances whatsoever of getting through this group, and both are merely going to be fighting to perform in the knockout rounds of the Europa League in 2012. This is a group that belongs to both Barcelona (-515) and AC Milan (+425). It is just a formality that these two teams have to play six games in the group stages, and both should be considered serious, serious threats at +195 and +2800 respectively to win the Champions League.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Europe, Featured

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