Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Champions League Preview: Sporting v. Bayern

The first leg of the Champions League knockout round continues today at 2:45 (EST), with the remaining 8 clubs facing off. Sporting Lisbon finished second in their group, behind Barcelona and ahead of FC Basel and Shaktar Donetsk.

Bayern Munich finished first in their group, ahead of Lyon, Steaua Bucuresti, and Fiorentina.

Sporting coach Paulo Bento sees his side come into the knockout stage after having played second-fiddle both domestically and in European competition for the past few months.

The club was always projected for second in their group behind Barcelona in the Champions League and they are making their first ever appearance in the knockout stage, while at home in Portugal they trail perennial favorite Porto by 4 points for the title.

Bayern, in contrast, sit 4th in the Bundesliga amidst an up-and-down season, but have been consistent Champions League contenders in their history (aside from last year) winning 4 titles in the competition with the last coming in 2001.

Unfortunately for Sporting, they have failed to beat a Bundesliga side in their 14 previous attempts during UEFA competitions, and many feel that today's match represents another uphill battle despite being played at Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon. Bento himself has downplayed expectations:

"For a number of reasons, Bayern are clear favourites. They are a very well-organised team and well-balanced, so we have to be organised and, above all, enjoy the game."
Coming into this match, Sporting will have to deal with the loss of striker Postiga to injury, while Bayern will most likely may able to start Luca Toni as he returns from injury. The renewed pairing of Toni with Klose, who is tied for the CL leading scorer position with 5 goals, should give Bayern a reasonable edge in this match.

Expected Line-ups:
Sporting Lisbon: Tiago, Silva, Tonel, Polga, Grimi, Rochemback, Izmailov, Vukcevic, Moutinho, Liedson, Derlei

Bayern Munich: Rensing, Oddo, Lucio, van Buyten, Lahm, Altintop, van Bommel, Ze Roberto, Ribery, Klose, Toni

2-1 Bayern, with goals from Lahm, Klose, and Liedson.

1-0 Bayern in the 2nd leg, with a Ribery goal.


The Fan's Attic said...

what are the odds of Lando making the field? Or will he even be on the bench?

Andrew said...

@TFA: Our national team is composed of European rejects/bench sitters. Bodes well for the future.

Bayern should advance, and I depending on whether they draw Barca the next found, I think they are one of the favorites to win the CL.

Keith said...

Now, now, Andrew, we do have a ton of starting keepers in Europe.

/Would like to actually see a team of keepers take the pitch for the USMNT

ü75 said...

Sporting will win this tie 3-1 over two legs. This is my real upset alert, now that I flopped on Arsenal-Roma.

Precious Roy said...

I think I'm jumping on Sporting as well. So I really have both Portuguese teams through.

Precious Roy said...

Just want to confirm that yes, I did pick Sporting. And they lost 5-0. At home. I am an idiot.

ü75 said...

Shit. Whoops.