Western Courier

UEFA Champions League update

Bradley Piros, Assistant Sports Editor

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came to you about a month and a half ago with an update on the Champions League group stage matchday one. Since then, each team has played three more games, matchday four being last Tuesday and Wednesday. With that, let’s see what happened, and where that leaves everyone in the standings.

I might add, there are four teams in a group, and there are eight groups, resulting in 32 teams. The top two teams in each group move on to the round of 16. You go through on points, three for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. Each team plays six group stage games, playing a home and an away with the other three teams.

Things started off with a shocking upset in France. AS Monaco (France) was brought down 4-0 by the Club Brugge (Belgium). This puts Monaco in last with only one point after four matches and ended their chances of getting through. The other two teams in the group are Athletico Madrid (Spain) and Borussia Dortmund (Germany). This was a great matchup last time, for one team at least. Dortmund won 4-0 at home, but this time Athletico came around to win 2-0 on their home field. Both teams are now tied for first in Group A, with nine points each followed by Club Brugge with four points.

Now on to Group B, what I think is the toughest one to come out of. Let’s start off once again with my favorite team, FC Barcelona (Spain). They took on Inter Milan (Italy) that ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams were in great form coming into this matchup, but it played out to a tie. Barca had 65 percent of possession but were unable to finish their opportunities. The other match in the group was Tottenham Hotspurs (England) against PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands). The Spurs ended up taking this one 2-1 at Wembley Stadium. Barcelona sits atop the group with 10 points, followed by Inter with seven points, Tottenham with four points and PSV with one point.

On to Group C, also a pretty tough one. Liverpool (England) was surprisingly beat 2-0 by the Red Star Belgrade (Croatia). The first match between these two ended in a 4-0 beatdown by Liverpool, but not this time. The other match between Napoli (Italy) and Paris Saint-Germain (France) played out to a 1-1 draw. Last time the teams played, it was a 2-2 draw. These results end up with a really close race to the end. After four matches Napoli and Liverpool are tied for first with six points, followed by PSG with five points and RSB with four points. There’s still a long way to go in this one.

Group D might be the most lackluster of the bunch. There are no “star” studded teams, leading to some boring matches in my opinion. The first match was between FC Porto (Portugal) and Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia.) Porto won 4-1 eliminating Lokomotiv’s chances of going through. The other match was between Schalke 04 (Germany) and Galatasaray (Turkey), with Schalke winning 2-0. With that the group looks like this: FC Porto in first with 10 points, followed by Schalke with eight points, Galatasaray with four points and Lokomotiv with no points.

Group E isn’t the most exciting either, but it does have one great team. That team being Bayern Munich (Germany). They took on AEK Athens (Greece) and won 2-0. The other match was between Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Benfica (Portugal) and it played out to a 1-1 draw. That leaves Bayern atop the group with 10 points, followed by Ajax with eight points, Benfica with four points and Athens with no points.

Group F is kind of the same, one really good team with three other not so good teams. Every team that makes the Champions League is great, but only the super teams go on. One of those teams being Manchester City (England.) They beat Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 6-0 at home to stay atop the group. The other match played out to a 2-2 draw between Lyon (France) and TSG Hoffenheim (Germany.) With that, Manchester City leads the way with nine points, followed by Lyon with six points, Hoffenheim with three points and Shakhtar with two points.

Speaking of super teams, Group G has the biggest one, Real Madrid (Spain). While they are a bit light offensively without Christiano Ronaldo, they’ve still won this tournament 13 times and know what they’re doing. They beat Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) 5-0 on the road. The other match in the group was between CSKA Moscow (Russia) and AS Roma (Italy). Roma barely edged out a 2-1 win, to keep them level on points with Madrid. Tied for first are Madrid and Roma with nine points each, followed by Moscow with four points and Plzen with one point.

That leaves one group left, Group H. This one is also pretty exciting in my opinion, for two reasons. Manchester United (England) and Christiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo now plays for Juventus (Italy) and they took on Manchester United at Old Trafford last time out. It’s always special to see players play against their old teams, as he played in England back in 2008. Juventus won 1-0 at Trafford but lost 2-1 on their home field. The other match in the group was between Valencia (Spain) and Young Boys (Switzerland). Valencia won 3-1 at home to keep this group relatively tight. Ronaldo and Juventus sit atop the group with nine points, followed by Manchester with seven points, Valencia with five points and Young Boys with one point.

The group stage of this tournament separates the good teams from the great ones, and that’s what makes this tournament so good. It showcases the best teams in the world, going up against one another till one team is crowned the best in the world. The best part of all this, is that this tournament can only get better from here. The round of 16 will be underway in mid-February and I can’t wait for the those matchups.

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UEFA Champions League update