Hail. Sleet. Orange balls. Orange paint. All to no avail.
In a scene reminiscent of the famous “Snow Bowl” World Cup qualifer between the USA and Costa Rica earlier this year, UEFA was forced to abandon Tuesday’s Champions League match between Galatasaray and Juventus when hail and heavy snow forced the teams off the field.
Fans of the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles are allowed to jeer referee Pedro Proenca’s decision. This never would have happened in the NFL, right?
The game will now be played early Wednesday morning (live on FOXSoccer2GO at 8 am ET) after a severe hailstorm interrupted the winner-takes-all encounter in Istanbul. A statement published on the official UEFA Champions League Twitter account read:
"The #UCL fixture between @GalatasaraySK & @juventusfc has been abandoned after a snow storm caused the pitch to become unplayable. According to article 11.04 of the competition regulations, the remaining match time must be played either tomorrow or on a reserve date or other date set by the UEFA administration. A further UEFA update confirmed the fixture would resume on Wednesday afternoon at 1300CET (1200GMT)."
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague)
Check out this amazing time-lapse video of the events as they unfolded, and have a nice cup of cocoa.
Jermain Defoe’s protracted move to Toronto seems to be the continuation of a new trend in soccer transfers - with players being linked to moves between the Premier League and MLS almost constantly.
LA Galaxy stars Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have recently been linked to loan moves to the so-called ‘biggest league in the world’, as has Seattle Sounders midfielder Clint Dempsey.
This next rumor is a biggy, though. According to one of the Sunday newspapers over in the UK, Champions League winner and England and Chelsea star Ashley Cole is being eyed up by two MLS sides for a summer switch.
Find out who and take a look at the rest of the day’s rumors in today’s Paper Chase.
Bayern Munich won its tenth straight Champions League game on Wednesday at CSKA Moscow, breaking the all-time record shared with the 2002-03 Barcelona team. In the final minutes of the victory, 18-year-old German-American Julian Green celebrated a milestone of his own — the highly-touted forward made his senior team debut for the reigning treble winners.
Green, who was born in Tampa, Florida but moved to Germany at age 2, has featured for both the U.S. and German national teams at youth level, and is yet to decide on his national team allegiance for the future. It is clear that both federations would love to secure the services of the phenom, though he is provisionally tied to Germany after having played for them in the Under-19 European Championships this summer.
Green has dominated the German Regionalliga (fourth tier) this season, scoring 15 goals and six assists in 18 matches for Bayern’s reserve team. His torrid form earned him a senior team contract earlier this month, and on Wednesday his first few minutes of action under Pep Guardiola. Green became the sixth-youngest Bayern player to debut in the Champions League, even beating out several of the team’s top stars, including Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos.
Here’s the full list of Bayern’s top 10 youngest players to make their Champions League debut:
With the exception of busts Berkant Goektan and Breno, every player on that list went on to have long, successful careers, and most of them (save for Santa Cruz) did so with Bayern. If that is anything to go by, Green is set for a sparking career!
With one matchday to go, Arsenal are sitting on 12 points in Group F but are still not officialy through to the Round of 16. How can that be? Thanks to Marseille losing each of their first five games, Dortmund and Napoli are both sitting on nine points and are also very much in the running for a place in the knockout stage.
If Napoli beat Arsenal at home on the final day and Dortmund take care of Marseille as expected, all three teams would sit on 12 points. And thanks to UEFA’s peculiar tie-breaking rules, figuring out who would move on in that very possible scenario is not so simple.
In all three teams are tied on 12 points, the two with the best goal difference in matches involving only the three clubs in question move on to the Round of 16. The results against Marseille get thrown out. In those games, Arsenal lead with a +2 goal difference, while Dortmund are +1, and Napoli are -3.
Since Dortmund plays Marseille last, they will remain at +1 and, if all three clubs are on 12 points, will definitely advance. In that scenario, Arsenal would still move on if they lose by less than three goals.
Here are the scenarios each team would need to qualify:
Arsenal: A win or tie in Napoli will be enough to put them through, as would a Dortmund loss or draw. If Dortmund win, the Gunners can also advance if they lose to Napoli by less than three goals.
Dortmund: Very straightforward: a win and they’re in. A draw would be enough if Arsenal tie or beat Napoli. A loss to Marseille could still be enough if Arsenal beat Napoli.
Napoli: They face the toughest road. If Napoli win by three or more goals, they are guaranteed a spot in the next round. A win by anything less and they’ll need Marseille to get at least a point against Dortmund. If Napoli tie against the Gunners, Marseille would need to beat Dortmund.
This week, U.S. national team record goalscorer Landon Donovan joins Fox Soccer’s UEFA Champions League broadcast as an analyst on FOX Sports 1. But first, he answers a few questions about his foray into television.
FOX Soccer: What draws you to TV commentary?
Landon Donovan: “I’ve always had an outside interest. I’ve watched from afar and always thought it was something that would be enjoyable. As most of us are, I can be pretty opinionated and sometimes I see things on TV and I go, ‘Oh, I wish they would have mentioned that’ or I think ‘The viewer would have wanted to see that.’ While I understand it’s probably not easy, it’s always something that I’ve had an interest in so when this opportunity came up it was something I wanted to do.”
FOX Soccer: You’ve been talking about wanting to do television commentary for a year or so, maybe even longer. You’ve been saying you want to better educate the public. What do you think you can add to the conversation?
LD: “I think we’re at a point now where people watching our game are thirsty for more intimate knowledge and that’s why guys like Warren [Barton] and Eric Wynalda, [Brian] McBride, you see Kasey Keller and Taylor Twellman and [Kyle] Martino, all these guys can add an insight that a lot of the commentators couldn’t in previous years. I think that people understand the game better now, people are more connected to the game than they ever have been in our country. There’s still a lot of insight and a lot of intimate details of the game that people I think would really enjoy hearing our thoughts about.
FOX Soccer: With all respect to the guys you’ve mentioned, you’ve seen and done more than any American soccer player ever. Do you think that adds a dimension for the viewer?
LD: “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of different experiences, played in all sorts of different competitions and against many high-class players so I’ve been able to see the game in many different ways, in many different scenarios. I think I have a pretty good understanding of what happens and why it happens and why certain teams play certain ways and all those finite details. I look forward to sharing that with people.
FOX Soccer: Why the UEFA Champions League?
LD: “The timing was good. FOX was very proactive about having me. I’ve made it clear to my agent and a lot of different people that this is something that I’m interested in and FOX really took the initiative to give me an opportunity. If you’re going to do a broadcast it doesn’t get much better than the Champions League and I’ve been really looking forward to it.
Landon Donovan hopes to add some “forward thinking” to this week’s coverage (Image: Thomas Hautmann/FOX Sports)
(Image courtesy: Franck Fife/AFP)
Poor Sacha Kljestan.
Despite his team, Anderlecht, securing a surprising 1-1 draw against PSG on Thursday, it appears the American international still wound up taking one on the chin. Or in this case, the upper lip.
On-pitch trash talk is nothing new, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagging on Kljestan for his mustache is too good to pass up.
Ibra, — likely frustrated by his inability score four goals again — took out his aggravation on Kljestan.
Per Het Nieuwsblad, Kljestan claims Zlatan “told me I have an ugly mustache.” Now, not one to lay down, Kljestan offered this retort: “I told him he has a long nose!”
What witticism from both parties! No telling if either side stuck their tongue out or thumbed their nose. At least the mustachioed Kljestan kept it above the belt, unlike Joey Barton:
And there you have it. It can always get more immature.
Barcelona v AC Milan
Manchester City achieved club history on Tuesday night by reaching their first-ever knockout stage in the Champions League, blowing out CSKA Moscow 5-2. Alvaro Negredo netted a hat trick after two goals by Sergio Aguero had put City comfortably ahead. Not even the two goals conceded by Costel Pantilimon — in place of the benched Joe Hart — could spoil the party.
After two consecutive painful group stage exits, the relief amongst the City players and fans was noticeable on social media:
We have book our place in the knockout round of the champions league for the very first time tonight. It feels so good !!! 😍😍😍👏👏👏👏— yaya toure (@Toure_yaya42)
Very proud of the team and the qualification. And thanks to all the people of @MCFC for their support, they deserve this and much more!— Sergio Aguero (@aguerosergiokun)
City wouldn’t have made history had they not received a little help from their Group D rivals Bayern Munich. Bayern still had to take care of business at Viktoria Plzen. Not surprisingly, they did just that, winning 1-0 on a Mario Mandzukic header in the second half:
Not only did Bayern secure a Round of 16 spot themselves, it was also their ninth straight victory in the Champions League, which ties the all-time record set by Barcelona in the 2002-03 season.
Bayern manager Pep Guardiola, said afterwards: “I’m very happy over this new record. I hope we can extend it in Moscow.” Indeed, they would set the all-time mark with a tenth straight win.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern)
Real Sociedad vs. Man United