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The Champions League and Europa League Quarter Finals are set and we have some tasty match ups to look forward to. Let’s start by analyzing the Champions League draws.

PSG vs Barcelona

A mouth-watering draw with the likes of THE Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura taking on the sneaky fast Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas. This is going to be an EPIC encounter and will no doubt keep us all on the edge of our seats for all 180 minutes. I’m expecting a high scoring aggregate final with goals galore in both legs. Both of these teams are high energy and are well-equipped with firepower from more than one angle. I will be rooting for PSG to take down the blaugranas, however, I think Barca will be too much for Le Parisiens and when all is said and done, it will be Barca advancing to yet another Champions League semi-final.

Prediction: Barca 5-3 on aggregate

Real Madrid vs Galatasaray

Jose Mourinho will be reacquainted with one of his beloved former players, Didier Drogba. Many will look at this match up and think Real Madrid will cruise past the Turkish giants, but I don’t think it will be so easy. Galatasaray are a very, very, good squad with some elite talent amongst their ranks. The acquisition of Wesley Sneijder has not yet paid off as the Dutchman is still suffering from poor form. After all, he has pretty much been on vacation for a few months, he was not playing at all for Inter Milan before the transfer happened as he was relegated to the bench for not accepting a pay cut. If Sneijder can find his form in the next month, these two legs will be much more interesting. Burak Yilmaz has been on an absolute tear for Galatasary and is the joint top scorer in the competition with 8 goals, tied with Cristiano Ronaldo. Paired up with Didier Drogba, those two give Galatasaray a fighting chance against Los Blancos. However, I am a man of reason, and Real Madrid are definitely on a mission, guided by the great Special One. Mesut Ozil, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Sami Khedira, Gonzalo Higuain, Karim Benzema, Angel Di Maria, that is simply too much attacking prowess for the Turkish giants to overcome. I would like to give some recognition to 19 year old defender, Raphael Varane who has been a revelation in the center of defense for Real Madrid. This young man is going to become one of the worlds best defenders in the very very short future. He is an absolute gem that deserves all the recognition he gets. His play has not gone unnoticed as Deschamps has called his number for the French national squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifying matches.

Prediction: Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate.

Malaga vs Borussia Dortmund

Malaga is one of the more intriguing teams remaining in this competition. They are a very talented squad with some real gems in their squad. If you are searching for one of the more promising young talents in world football, look no further than Isco. The Spanish attacker is having a magnificent season and has drawn the attention of some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Chelsea. Malaga realized this and went ahead and restructured his contract during the winter window in order to increase his buy out clause. It is pretty much a foregone conclusion that Isco will be sold in the summer because Malaga need all the money they can get due to their financial situation. They already sold starting left back Nacho Monreal during the winter window for 10 million euros to Arsenal, and had sold one of their best midfielders in Santi Cazorla during the offseason to Arsenal as well. Santi Cazorla has been fantastic for Arsenal this season, yet despite these moves, Malaga are still having a great season. Manuel Pelligrini has done a fantastic job for Malaga, guiding them to the quarter finals of the Champions League and has the team sitting in 4th place in La Liga. On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund are suffering from somewhat of a hangover from last seasons success yet still find themselves in a great position to reach the semi finals of the Champions League. Dortmund are coming off a double winning season last year, taking the DFB Pokal Championship along with the Bundesliga title. They are already knocked out of the DFB Pokal thanks to Bayern Munich and find themselves 20 points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga. This is their only chance at silverware this year and they certainly have the players to take them the distance. Led by Jurgen Klopp and young phenoms Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Bundesliga top scorer Robert Lewandowski, this squad has the potential to lift the holy grail of all trophies.

Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate.

Bayern Munich vs Juventus

The German Giants vs The Italian Giants. This will be a battle of tight knit defense vs high powered offense. In the end, I have no doubts that the Bavarian’s high powered offense will come out victorious. Bayern are still in the hunt for the treble, they have the Bundesliga wrapped up by a long mile, have a great shot at the DFB Pokal after knocking out rivals Borussia Dortmund and are now that much closer to returning to the Champions League final for a second consecutive year. Juventus should cause them a little bit of trouble becaue of their stingy defense having allowed only 18 goals in Serie A, however Bayern’s defense is quite stout in their own right. With the emergence of young phenom Dante and the solid veteran presence of Daniel van Buyten, the ever reliable captain Philipp Lahm and the emergence of David Alaba as one of the elite prospects at LB has led to Bayern only allowing 10 goals in the Bundesliga. Despite Juve’s lack of a prominent striker they have still managed to net 55 goals in Serie A, however, this will be their stiffest test all year. I think Bayern Munich will manage to roll past Juve and advance comfortably to the semis.

Prediction: Bayern Munich 4-1 on aggregate.

 

Europa League

The ugly step sister of European competitions has proven it can still be an entertaining tournament. Inter Milan put forth a valiant effort coming back from a 3-0 first leg deficit against Tottenham and managed to put 3 in the back of the net in the return leg to force extra time. Unfortunately, Adebayor managed to literally fall into a goal in the 1st half of extra time which made Inter’s conquest that much harder. They needed two goals in extra time after that because of the away goal rule, and they almost did it, but fell one goal short. They thumped a Bale-less Spurs 4-1 at the end but did not advance because of the away goal rule. As per usual for this season, Chelsea had another heart stopping game but managed to advanced thanks to the most unlikeliest source, Fernando Torres, granting his team advancement to the next round with a 3-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham vs Basel

Spurs should advance comfortably to the semi finals, however, nothing is ever a foregone conclusion when it comes to the Spurs as their fans can attest. Basel managed to get by Hulk and Zenit St. Petersburg but this should prove to be a much tougher task. Gareth Bale is in the form of his life and Moussa Dembele has proven to be a fantastic signing for AVB. Basel are heavily reliant on 31 year old countryman Marco Streller for their goals, he leads the team with 12 goals, the next highest scorer on the team is fellow countryman and 33 year old striker Alexander Frei with 6 goals. Tottenham have more talent, better players and should have no problem getting past Basel.

Prediction: Tottenham 4-1 on aggregate.

Chelsea vs Rubin Kazan

Nothing has come easy for the Blues this season and there should be no reason to believe that it will change now. Rubin Kazan’s leading scorer is Israeli international Bibras Natcho with 7 goals, but they also have Venezuela international and former Chelsea target Solomon Rondon with 5 goals and newly acquired midfield enforcer Yann M’Villa. Juding by the line up The Interim One trotted out in the second leg against Steaua Bucuresti, this competition is of high priority and Chelsea are definitely in it to win it. Regardless of the fact that Fernando Torress will be the only available striker for this entire competition, Chelsea should still manage to get through Rubin Kazan and advance to the next round.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate.

Fenerbahce vs Lazio

Lazio look really good. They thumped Stuttgart 5-1 on aggregate in the previous round but will face stiffer competition here. Libor Kozak, 23 year old Czech striker, had a field day in the 2nd leg of the Stuttgart leg netting himself a hat trick. Fenerbahce barely squeaked by Viktoria Plzen, advancing 2-1 on aggregate. I’m thinking Lazio will continue their good form in the Europa League and will edge out Fenerbahce, but it won’t be as lopsided as their previous round.

Prediction: Lazio 3-2 on aggregate.

Newcastle vs Benfica

Newcastle barely got by Anzhi thanks to a late injury time winner by Papiss Cisse for the only goal over both legs for either team. Benfica, on the other hand, got by Bordeaux 4-2 on aggregate and will look to continue their run of 31 straight games unbeaten in regular time (they were defeated on penalty kicks against Sporting Braga on Feb 27th in Taca da Liga). Oscar Cardozo and Lima are Benfica’s top scorers and will look to help their team continue their fantastic run of form against the Magpies. I don’t think Newcastle have enough quality to get past the Portuguese giants and I see Alan Pardew’s men bowing out of the competition here.

Prediction: Benfica 4-2 on aggregate.

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Well, the transfer window is officially closed and many teams made a splash. Let’s take a look at who went where.

Transfers:

  • Tottenham were able to secure a last minute deal to pry Rafael Van der Vaart from Real Madrid for a cool €11 million.
  • Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan has moved from Rennes to Sunderland for a club record £13.24 million. This will give Sunderland a lethal strike force with Gyan and Bent.
  • Chelsea sold their young striker Franco Di Santo to Wigan for an undisclosed fee.
  • Eidur Gudjohnsen is back in the Premier League with Stoke City.
  • Liverpool strengthened their defense by adding Fulham defender Paul Konchesky to their roster.
  • AC Milan made yet another big signing after securing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they have also signed Robinho. This gives Milan a lethal front line with Ibra, Pato and Robinho, along with Ronaldinho and Pirlo orchestrating the offense.
  • In the wake of the Robinho signing, Marco Borriello was deemed surplus to requirements and he has moved on to Roma on loan with a right to buy at the end of the season.
  • Alexander Hleb has moved on from Barcelona to join Premier League side Birmingham City on loan.
  • Of course, we all know by now that Javier Mascherano signed with Barcelona.
  • Liverpool added Raul Meireles.
  • Hatem Ben Arfa moves from Marseille to Newcastle to try and help the club stay in the Premier League.
  • West Ham strenghted their attacking options by adding Victor Obinna from Inter Milan.

and that’s pretty much all of the significant signings from the transfer deadline.

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*que epic champions league theme song*

It’s finally back. We are only weeks away from the first Champions League match of the year, let’s take a look at the group stages.

Group A

Inter Milan

Werder Bremen

Tottenham

FC Twente

This is by far the “group of death”. Tough draw for newcomers to the Champions League, Tottenham, drawn into a group with treble winners Inter Milan, Dutch champions FC Twente, and the Ozil-less but still hard-to-beat Werder Bremen. Despite this challenge I think Tottenham are strong enough to finish second behind Inter Milan and see themselves into the knock-out stages of the UEFA Champions League for the first time in club history.

Group B

Lyon

Benfica

Schalke

Hapoel Tel Aviv

It seems like everyone and their mother raided Benfica this transfer window so I’m not sure who they have left to take the field anymore. They have lost their first two games of the Portuguese Liga so far and if that is any indication of how the season is going to unfold for them then you can lock in Schalke to finish ahead of them for the second spot behind Lyon.

Group C

Manchester United

Valencia

Rangers

Bursaspor

Clearly United will finish atop this group, and Valencia will more than likely surpass Rangers for second place. Or will they? They just lost their two best players in David Silva and David Villa; looking at their roster nothing really stands out to me, outside of Juan Mata, it’s a pretty bland list of players. That’s not to say that Rangers have an attractive roster, however, it may not be as easy for Valencia to qualify as some may think.

Group D

Barcelona

Panathinaikos

Copenhagen

Rubin Kazan

Cake walk for Barca. They get a chance to avenge their home loss to Rubin Kazan in the group stages last year and should breeze into the knock-out stages. As for second place, I think Panathinaikos should have no trouble securing that position.

Group E

Bayern Munich

Roma

Basel

CFR Cluj

Sometimes not a lot needs to be said. Bayern Munich and Roma.

Group F

Chelsea

Marseille

Spartak Moscow

MSK Zilina

There is an interesting story line here as Didier Drogba will encounter Marseille, the club he used to play for and one which he still loves dearly. It should be an emotional return to Marseille for Drogba, one where we should expect him to shine. Both Chelsea and Marseille should see themselves through to the next round.

Group G

AC Milan

Real Madrid

Ajax

Auxerre

Some people are calling this group the “group of death”, while a case can be made for that , I disagree. I don’t see Auxerre challenging any of the other teams in their group, and the clear cut favorites are obviously Real Madrid and AC Milan. Ajax have a shot and they are a good team but it will take an impeccable performance by them coupled by a major slip-up by either AC Milan or Real Madrid for them to advance. Needless to say, I don’t see that happening, and I expect Real Madrid and AC Milan to get out of this group.

Group H

Arsenal

Shakhtar Donetsk

Braga

Partizan

Fresh off shocking the world by defeating Sevilla in the play-off, Braga find themselves in a rather attractive situation with their first ever appearance in the Champions League. Arsenal should finish first in the group but the second spot is up for grabs and I believe it will come down to Shakhtar Donetsk and Braga. Shakhtar recently acquired Eduardo from Arsenal, so that match up should be of some intrigue; but if Braga can carry the momentum from their victorious efforts against Sevilla, they could very well see themselves into the knock-out stages for the first time in club history.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan

It appears as though this deal might actually happen. It was reported early on today that Zlatan and AC Milan had agreed to personal terms, but Barcelona still need to give their stamp of approval. AC Milan are reportedly throwing in Marco Borriello to sweeten the deal, with the exception that Barcelona pay 50% of Zlatan’s wages.

Javier Mascherano to Inter Milan

Javier Mascherano is officially on strike. He is adamant in his stance and wants to leave Anfield to reunite with his former boss Rafa Benitez in Italy. However, Liverpool are asking Barcelona to up their offer if they want to pry the ferocious midfielder away. Barcelona initially offered £12 million plus Alexander Hleb but Liverpool rejected it. Liverpool reportedly value Mascherano at £20 million and will not budge for anything less. The clock is ticking and if a deal isn’t agreed upon within the next week, Mascherano will be a very angry man — and you don’t want to see Mascherano when he’s angry.

Done Deal: Yoann Gourcuff to Lyon

Lyon have strengthened their midfield by adding French playmaker Yoann Gourcuff to their arsenal. Bordeaux and Lyon agreed to a €22 million transfer fee and Yoann will look to help Lyon get back to their championship winning ways. Gourcuff, Makoun, Michel Bastos and Pjanic will form a formidable midfield and should strike fear into opposing defenders.

More on Kuyt to Inter

Inter Milan are stepping up their efforts to land the workhorse Dutchman by offering Liverpool a choice of Sulley Muntari, Nicolas Burdisso, Nelson Rivas, David Suazo and Mancini plus £14 million for Kuyt.

Done Deal: Sebastien Squillaci to Arsenal

The Gunners have strengthened their defense by adding the French defender to their squad. Squillaci will likely partner Vermaelen in the center of the defense to form a pretty fierce duo. Squillaci asked to be left out of Sevilla’s first leg UEFA Europa Cup match against Braga so that he would be able to play for Arsenal in the Champions League in case the deal actually happened. Lucky for him, his wish came true.

Roque Santa Cruz to Lazio?

Lazio are mulling over a deal that will send castaway Manchester City striker, Roque Santa Cruz to the Biancocelesti on loan for the season.

Robinho to Fenerbahce?

Another castaway Manchester City striker is likely on his way out. Robinho is meeting with Fenerbahce officials today in Manchester to try and seal a deal.

update: Robinho has rejected a move to Fenerbahce and has announced that he will only accept a move to Italy or Spain.

Peter Crouch to Everton?

David Moyes seems to be eyeing the long-and-lanky England striker to strengthen his attacking options. He is so keen on snatching up Crouch that he has reportedly offered to send Steven Pienaar to the Spurs in exchange for the giraffe-turned-striker.

Tottenham looking to snatch up Lassana Diarra

With Real Madrid’s flurry of incoming midfielders, Lassana Diarra has been deemed surplus to requirements and it seems that Harry Redknapp will be more than happy to welcome him to White Hart Lane.

Final tidbits

Chelsea are expressing interest in Nicolas Burdisso.

Carlton Cole has been linked with a move to Sunderland.

Charles N’Zogbia may be drawing closer to move to Birmingham City.

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After what was thought to be a rather lackluster World Cup, many potential converts to the beautiful game were led further away and found themselves completely disinterested. True fans of the beautiful game can see beyond goals and find beauty in the little intricacies of the game – newcomers to the beautiful game come from a culture of constant scoring (see: NFL, NBA) and fail to notice other details. To those failed converts I say: come watch the English Premier League.

The Premier League season has started with a flurry of goals across the board. Chelsea began their title defense against newly promoted West Bromwich Albion, managed by former Chelsea legend, Roberto Di Matteo. Chelsea welcomed Di Matteo and his squad with a 6-0 drumming and Drogba netted a hat-trick. That same day newly promoted Blackpool welcomed themselves into top flight football by embarrassing Wigan 4-0. Sunderland and Birmingham fought to a 2-2 draw, Aston Villa plowed past West Ham 3-0, Wolverhampton shocked Stoke City 2-1, and Manchester United welcomed Newcastle back to the Premier League with a 3-0 bashing. Week 1 of the Premier League saw a total of 26 goals scored in 10 matches. That equals to an average of 2.6 goals per game. No goals scored in soccer? Let’s see how week 2 shaped out.

No way a team can score 6 goals in two consecutive games, right? Certainly not in top flight football, right? Chelsea’s “playstation” football continued into week 2 where they met the team they demolished 8-0 in the final game of last season. They invaded DW Stadium and took home their second consecutive 6-0 victory. Malouda continues his hot start to the season with another goal, Anelka bagged a brace, as did Kalou, Yossi Benayoun scored his first goal as a Chelsea player, and Drogba had himself a hat-trick in assists; Drogba’s unselfish style is a symbol of the chemistry this squad has built.

Arsenal brought Blackpool back down to earth and gave them a dose of what real Premier League football is like. Blackpool were playing with a disadvantage for the majority of the match when defender Ian Evatt saw a red card in the 30th minute when he took down Marouane Chamakh just inside the penalty box, denying him a scoring opportunity – resulting in an immediate red, and penalty shot for Arsenal. Arshavin made no mistake at the spot and handed his team a 2-0 lead, and from there the goals kept coming. Theo Walcott made the most of his place in the starting XI with a lovely game which he stamped with a hat-trick. Marouane Chamakh was able to notch his first goal as a Gunner in the 83rd minute giving his new squad a 6-0 victory over The Tangerines.

So that makes two games ending in 6-0, in the same week. But wait….there’s more.

Is this really an indication of how important James Milner was to Aston Villa? Fresh off a fantastic performance against West Ham, the James Milner-less Aston Villa completely fell apart against newly promoted Newcastle. John Carew squandered an opportunity to put Villa up early by missing a penalty shot in the 10th minute. Two minutes later the wonderful mustache of Joey Barton put the Magpies in the lead, and they never looked back. Kevin Nolan bagged a brace, and Andrew Carroll netted himself a hat-trick as Newcastle annihilated Aston Villa 6-0. Perhaps Randy Lerner will think again about keeping interim manager Kevin MacDonald for the rest of the season.

Three games in the same week end in 6-0, that’s unheard of. Other scores in week 2 include: Birmingham City 2-1 over Blackburn, Gareth Bale leads Tottenham past Stoke City with a goal of the year candidate 2-1, Bolton deal another blow to West Ham with a 3-1 victory, Wolverhampton pull back a late equalizer against Everton to draw 1-1, and Fulham take advantage of Nani’s missed penalty to head home a late equalizer at Craven Cottage 2-2. There is still one more game left to be played in week 2, Manchester City host Liverpool on Monday. However, so far in the 9 games played in week 2, 35 goals have been scored. Resulting in an average of 3.89 goals per game. Even if 0 goals are scored in tomorrows Man City vs Liverpool game (highly unlikely), week 2 will end in at least 3.5 goals scored per game.

Goals Galore is not just occurring in the English Premier League, it’s spreading across Europe. Inter Milan recently dealt a blow to Roma winning 3-1 in the Super Cup final. Barcelona bounced back from a 3-1 first leg defeat to thrash Sevilla 4-0 in the second leg of the Spanish Super Copa, led by a Messi hat-trick, giving them a 5-3 aggregate victory. The Young Boys recently wrestled Tottenham to a 3-2 victory in the first leg of the UEFA Champions league play-off, and Werder Bremen dealt Sampdoria a 3-1 whooping in their first leg play-off.

There you have it, folks. Contrary to popular belief, goals do get scored in soccer.

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What a fantastic start to the Premier League season; a wonderful advertisement for soccer as a whole. If you were lucky enough to watch the opening match of the season — Tottenham vs Manchester City — then you witnessed exactly how a match can be end-to-end entertaining and still end in a nil-nil draw. Whenever you get into an argument about soccer with some idiot and they say “well barely anyone scores in soccer, how is it even entertaining?”, you point them to August 14, 2010. This day completely shits on that argument in more ways than one. First of all, we saw a game in which no one scored but it was still a highly entertaining game throughout. Before someone brings up small sample size, this is not the first 0-0 match that was exciting, there have been hundreds of similar occasions. Secondly, we saw a couple of good ol’ thrashings. Aston Villa annihilated West Ham 3-0, newly promoted Blackpool shocked Wigan 4-0, and the defending champions Chelsea welcomed West Bromwich Albion back to the Premier League with a 6-0 lashing; Drogba made sure everyone knew he was back and healthy with a hat-trick and Florent Malouda added a brace. Chelsea picked up exactly where they left off last season; playing fluid football and scoring a lot of goals.

There were 8 games on Saturday, only 2 ended in a scoreless draw.

21 total goals were scored on Saturday. That is an average of 2.62 goals per game.

In another completely unrelated storyline, James Milner might have scored his last goal as a member of Aston Villa. A nice gift to the fans before he departs for Manchester City.

Kevin MacDonald made a decent case for himself to stay on as manager, he had Villa playing with excellent pace and organization. They did it with a crop of fairly young home-grown players too which is refreshing I suppose. One of those young stars who set himself apart from the others was Marc Albrighton. This 20 year old right winger was having his way with West Ham defenders all game long. He was causing fits for defenders and getting into the penalty box with ease time after time, his skill on the ball is magic. It should be delightful watching this young man develop throughout the season. He is definitely a name you want to look for from here on out.

Two more games left to be played to complete week 1 of the Premier League. Tomorrow should be another great game with new look Liverpool taking on Arsenal. Week 1 ends on Monday with Manchester United welcoming Newcastle back to the Premier League.

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The battle for a Champions League spot is about to begin. 20 teams face-off with only 10 spots to be filled. The final draw has been made and these are the teams that will fight in a two-legged series for the coveted spot in the biggest club tournament in the world:

Young Boys (SUI) v Tottenham Hotspur (ENG)

Sporting Braga (POR) v Sevilla (ESP)

Werder Bremen (GER) v Sampdoria (ITA)

Zenit St Petersburg (RUS) v Auxerre (FRA)

Dynamo Kiev (UKR) v Ajax (NED)

Salzburg (AUT) v Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR)

Rosenborg (NOR) v Copenhagen (DEN)

Basel (SUI) v FC Sheriff (MDA)

Sparta Prague (CZE) v MSK Zilina (SVK)

Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Anderlecht (BEL)

The Young Boys of Switzerland took down Turkish giants Fenerbache 3-2 on aggregate and defeated the giants in Turkey 1-0 in order to advance. However, Tottenham should have little trouble advancing past them for their first ever appearance in the Champions League. They did have one appearance 48 years ago, however, the tournament was then known as simply the European Cup. Harry Redknapp and the Spurs worked too hard last season to let it all crumble into nothing by losing against a team like the Young Boys.

Sporting Braga took care of Scottish giants Celtic in order to advance to this stage with a spot in the Champions League within their grasp. They defeated Celtic 3-0 in the 1st leg, and took the loss in the 2nd leg 2-1 but their efforts in the 1st leg allowed them to advance swiftly. Now they face Sevilla, a much stronger team with more talent across the board. Sporting Braga have done well to get this far but their run ends here as Sevilla will prove to be too strong with like the likes of Luis Fabiano and Jesus Navas leading the charge.

The most intriguing match-up of the play-off is Werder Bremen vs Sampdoria. These two teams are pretty much equally matched and it should be a very entertaining play-off. If Mesut Ozil ends up staying at Werder Bremen this season, then Bremen’s chances of advancing are higher than if he moves on to another club. However, regardless of whether he stays or leaves, I think Sampdoria will edge out the German side for a spot in the Champions League. The attacking force of Pazzini and Cassano will prove to be too much for Bremen as they valiantly bow out of the competition.

Zenit St. Petersburg vs Auxerre is another interesting match that should be quite entertaining. The Russian side just signed Portuguese defender Bruno Alves for a whopping €22 million. I believe these two teams are very evenly matched and it will be a tight play-off that could see a stint of extra time to ultimately determine the winner. I will tip Zenit to edge past the French side and see themselves to another Champions League berth.

Andriy Shevchenko will be looking to get to one more Champions League before he possibly calls it a career. Unfortunately, his team will have to defeat Dutch runners-up Ajax. With Uruguay star and goal-scoring phenom Luis Suarez leading the Ajax attack, and stalwart Dutch keeper Martin Stekelenburg minding the net, it will be extremely difficult for Kiev and Shevchenko to advance.

As for the rest of the play-off matches here are my predictions:

Salzburg (AUT) v Hapoel Tel-Aviv (ISR)Salzburg advance

Rosenborg (NOR) v Copenhagen (DEN) – Copenhagen advance

Basel (SUI) v FC Sheriff (MDA) Basel advance

Sparta Prague (CZE) v MSK Zilina (SVK)Sparta Prague advance

Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Anderlecht (BEL) – Anderlecht advance (LOOK FOR ROMELU LUKAKU OF ANDERLECHT!!!!!)

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