Champions League Draw

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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby Mdot » Mon Dec 14, 2015 2:22 pm

Fully agree that Zenit is a great match up given our recent run ins with them. Not easy but a team we can put up a good fight against. Salvio and Semedo will be nice returns for the club. Also I hear we were signing an exciting Barca prospect. I've heard good things but to be honest know very little about the guy. Throw in guys like Guedes and Sanches getting a couple more months of experience and it's fair to expect that we are serious contenders in this match up.

More promising is that there is PSG v Chelsea, Gent v Wolfsburg, PSV Eindhoven v Atlético Madrid, Dynamo Kyiv v City. All tough teams but if we advance and face one of these clubs, again we could put up a good fight against most of these clubs in the quarter-finals if we can make it past Zenit.

Love that it's Borussia Dortmund v Porto and Sporting CP v Bayer Leverkusen in Europa. That should keep them busy on their European outings.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby NFernandes » Tue Jan 05, 2016 11:02 am

As long as Benfica goes through that's all that matters. Playing in Russia is not easy but we've beat Zenit before. Their league is on a winter break right now but hopefully we can catch them off guard or possibly out of form.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby Ed Gomes » Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:54 pm

I would normally prefer to be home on the 2nd leg, but that might have worked against us verse Zenit. With Russia being on a break I'm really hoping for a clean sheet win, hopefully with at least a two goal lead going into the 2nd leg. Playing in Russia later in the year, might help weather wise as well.

I'm still not convinced of Vitoria. Granted there's been squad turnover, but some of the youngster have done well, but we could see and should expect a drop off due to the grind. On the whole we're still disjointed and if something should happen to Nico we're void of creativity.
Besides all that, I'm still confident in advancing.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby Mdot » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:57 pm

So we got Bayern for the next round. I was hoping to avoid both Barca and Bayern. Porto lost 7-4 to them last year. My biggest hope is that our defense is in order for this game. In a knockout game anything can happen and given how Vitoria has this team playing maybe we can pull off an upset.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby Ed Gomes » Fri Mar 18, 2016 4:24 pm

I agree Mdot, was really hoping we would have avoided Barca and Bayern. PSG and Real would have also been very tough to get by, especially now that Real only has the CL to go for. They are having a poor season and the 11th would salvage it.

Bayern holds a lot of possession, which will wear on a club, but we'll have opportunities to counter. They haven't looked as good since the winter break, so we'll see.
Nothing to lose.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby BC/SLB » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:04 pm

Yep a very tough draw indeed for us, as Bayern are arguably the second strongest team in Europe at the moment, after Barcelona. They are the clear favorites to win the tie but the good thing about this is that we can play without too much pressure and as Ed Gomes says, we have nothing to lose. If we go out to them, it'll still have been a successful CL campaign for us.

That being said, we are also a great European club, full of pedigree and we must always play to win, whoever the opponent. Bayern are certainly not without their weaknesses, they wouldn't have lost at home to Mainz recently in the league if they didn't have weaknesses. One of these weaknesses I feel is Guardiola's unyielding commitment to the tiki taka possession game, which can get predictable. If we are able to effectively exploit these weaknesses and play at our absolute best level in both matches, then it is possible to go through.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby Ed Gomes » Sat Mar 19, 2016 2:30 pm

I think the misconception os that teams should park the bus verse such a quality opponent. Maybe in a one off, but with two legs to play, eventually you get found out.
A club like Bayern has to much quality to be held off. Juve were much more successful when they pressed and were aggressive. The more they dropped back, the more they let Bayern back into the match. Granted this is all easier said then done.

To be fair, we don't have the same quality as a Bayern, but that does;t mean we can't elevate our game and get past them. If we've learned anything from Benfica's squad this so far, is that they've continued improving and shown capabilities that weren't evident at the beginning of the campaign. If we can elevate our game at key points in the match, advancing isn't out of the question.

Agree with BC/SLB, in that Pep's commitment to the tiki take, does harm them at times. Neuer seems force to try to play it out of the back, no matter what. Hence some of the silly goals they let in.
League titles and injuries could also play a critical part in the affair. Benfica is very much in a title fight and Bayern has come back to Dortmund, so that could still get interesting.

Not sure how many thought this Benfica would find itself in the CL Quarter Finals. Just want it see good performances from the squad.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby BC/SLB » Sat Mar 19, 2016 5:05 pm

@Ed Gomes: I couldn't agree more with your points above. Trying to park the bus and simply defending against teams like Bayern (and Barca) is inviting disaster. You are right about Juve, I saw the game too and their approach in the first half was spot on and showed how this Bayern team (and the tiki taka style in general) can be beaten: aggressive pressing all over the pich and super quick and direct counters as soon as you win possession.

In the second half Juve, in typical Italian fashion, decided to change to all out defensive mode and protect their lead and consequently paid the price by letting Bayern back into the match. If Juve had continued in the second half in the same way they had in the first, I'm sure they would've scored again and won the tie.

Now of course we have to be very strong and solid defensively, in order to deal with Bayern's super attacking potential. I even think we must change our formation and have an extra player in the central midfield. The 4-4-2 is a formation suited to dominate matches (which we are unlikely to do against Bayern), while the 4-2-3-1 for example is better suited to a high pressing and countering approach. So we gotta be solid and smart defensively, but not park the bus, and look to attack with speed at every opportunity. Juve showed the fragility of Bayern's defence and we must look to really try and exploit it.
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Re: Champions League Draw

Postby matt34nj » Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:12 pm

I agree that a 4-2-3-1 is the best way to line up against Bayern, but at the same time I think our best XI does not really let us spell any key players.

______Ederson_______

Nelson__Lindelof__Jardel__Elisha

_____Fejsa________Samaris___

_________Renato_________

Jonas________________Gaitan

_______Mitro__________

If that is the lineup, there's really no place to start a Talisca, a Pizzi, etc. Perhaps Rui will surprise us and find a way to play a squad player or two and spell someone. Lisandro should get a game. And Carcela when he is fit. We have to find a way to balance it out. We still have a semi-final with Braga to play as well.

As we head down the stretch, I'm more attentive to lineups and where and when we can rest key players to keep them fresh. It's definitely a concern for any team in our position.
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