Klinsmann Faces Biggest Test In Champions League Quarterfinals

06 April 2009

It's tough to get up for the English sides in the Champions League quarterfinals. It's a case of 'been there, done that, and have enough t-shirts to donate to the Salvation Army'. I'll get into each match-up in depth later, but let's look at what we have. We have the same old same in Liverpool and Chelsea (thankfully this is the quarterfinals and not the semi's), the same old same in Sir Alex Ferguson taking on the ghosts of Jose Mourinho. We have Arsenal's and their 'youth' looking to take another European scalp. It's just too much of the bloody same. The match-up I'm looking forward to the most doesn't even have a leg on the British isle.

Bayern Munich are the Jeckyl and Hyde side of this season's competition. For every good performance they put out, there are two equally as bad. Their performance at the weekend against Wolfsburg was just shambolic. With Lucio out, Klose out, Demichelis facing a fitness test, and a back four that is leaking goals, one would assume that Barcelona is going to score at will. That considering Messi and Alves were left on the bench just to rest for this match.

This is going to be the ultimate test for Jurgen Klinsmann. Motivating this side has not been his strongest point this season. For Bayern Munich, they were almost fortunate they got Sporting Lisbon in the last round because they folded like a 99 cent tent after Munich scored. Can he get the most out of Ribery and Toni? Can he keep Schweinsteiger in the team's natural shape? Can Klinsmann point to all of his history against Guardiola and Munich's history against Barcelona and see it repeat itself?

If Klinsmann loses this tie with Barcelona, about the only thing that will keep Klinsmann in his job will be winning the Bundesliga title. With the way both sides have been scoring goals at will in this competition, it's all on the back fours and the two between the woodwork to get out of this tie alive. Right now there is only one side I can see doing a competent job at that, Barcelona. Prediction: Barcelona to win 4-2 on agg.

Other Ties
Manchester United v FC Porto: Porto has knocked Manchester United out of Europe twice before. However it was United who knocked Porto out at this stage of the competition back in 96-97. Johnny Evans will fit in just fine in Rio Ferdinand's absence. Frankly I don't see this as much of a contest. United has just too much for Porto to handle. Prediction: Manchester United wins 3-1 on agg.

Villareal v Arsenal: Arsenal will be without Eduardo, Van Persie and Diaby, but will get Nasri and Walcott back. Villareal will get Nihat and Garcia back, but lost Cazorla to a broken leg. This could be the second most open quarterfinal behind Barcalona and Bayern Munich. However I still have concerns about Arsenal scoring enough goals to advance. Villareal can score them and that's why I see them advancing. Prediction: Villareal wins 2-0 on agg.

Liverpool v Chelsea: I dread this tie with every single fiber of my being. With the lone exception of last year's Stamford Bridge second leg that actually was quasi-open, these games make the perfect advert for insomnia remedies. Didier Drogba and Steven Gerrard should be back for their respective sides. The worst part about this tie is you know there is going to be plenty of Liverpool attacking, shaky Chelsea defending, Cech working his ass off to keep an outclassed side alive, and a fluke goal in the final 10 minutes. The second leg will be worthy of a two hour nap. As much as I love Chelsea, sorry Blues supporters. Get the tissues ready because we're going out. Prediction: Liverpool wins 1-0 on agg.

What do you think of the Champions League quarterfinals? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


LS April 7, 2009 at 11:23 AM  

After the way they were torn to shreds by Wolfsburg on Saturday, I can't see Bayern having a good outing against Barcelona. Not sure what Klinsmann was thinking with his substitutions, he ended the match with about 6 or 7 midfielders on the pitch.

It was very mean but also funny the way Magath subbed his goaltender late on. Really rubbed his old club's nose in the dirt.

Prior to the past couple of outings, I had thought Bayern might make the CL ties close but is Saturday is any indication of what's to come, Xavi is going to shred that backline with his precision passing. Messi/Henry/Eto'o will have a field day as well.

Double Pivot April 8, 2009 at 12:07 PM  

Bayern weren't torn to shreds on Saturday. They fell apart for 16 minutes. They had the run of play in the first half.

If Klinsmann can adapt his tactics he can still come out of this game with a result. Remember Barca's back line is just as suspect as Bayern's. If he benches the worthless Podolski and allows Ribery freedom, he could get the result.

Facing off to Misimovic should give them ample training for facing Xavi, but Josue is a better DM than what Barcelona have.

LS April 9, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

I watched that Wolfsburg match and I stand by my torn to shreds comment :) Yesterday's result was just further proof that Bayern have insufficient depth in defence. Van Bommel was also lucky not to be shown a red card for his forearm smash on Messi.

Barca were done with Bayern by halftime.

I know this is going to sound like a rear-view mirror prediction but I felt that Chelsea were going to get a result against Liverpool. I didn't think it would be 3-1 though. 3 away goals is a nice little haul. It'll be interesting to see who they field in the second leg.

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