Champions League draw brings Mourinho, Beckham back home

Mourinho will be smiling when his Inter put one over on his old club in the CL 2nd round; photo by Steindy

Who said fixing the draw was a bad idea? I have no idea if UEFA followed FIFA’s lead and rigged their draw for the second round of the Champions League. But even if they didn’t, they couldn’t have planned two more mouthwatering ties than Inter v Chelsea and Milan v Man U. Jose Mourinho will leading his new club, Inter against his old club, Chelsea, in his first match back at Stamford Bridge since his departure two years ago. And David Beckham will also be making his debut as an Old Trafford visitor after never playing against his former side while at Madrid.

The returns will get the headlines, but these are two very tough second round games for all of these teams, with at least one genuine contender for the title guaranteed to bow out, throwing the competition open at a fairly early stage. Continue reading

Champions League roundup: East beats West

The Russians turn the Champions League on its head

The Russians turn the Champions League on its head

So much for the dull group stages of the Champions League. The group stage has recently seemed like a means to enrich the bigger clubs rather than a genuine competition, and this year looked to be no different with most groups having two clear favorites to progress. But after some shock results and a couple of upstarts from the east challenging some of Europe’s titans, this year’s group stage is shaping up for a very exciting finish. There is a genuine possibility that a couple of the big powers like Liverpool, Bayern Munich, or Inter could miss out on the knockout stages and previously unknown teams like Russia’s Rubin Kazan and Romania’s Unirea Urziceni could take their place.

Here’s how the groups shape up heading into the next round of matches on November 3rd and 4th: Continue reading