Champions league group stage game thread

SocrManiac

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Sevilla did their best impression of a lower level CONCACAF side. Filthy, thuggish play with post match jawing at Buffon. They're second in the group but I hope the end up defending Europa again.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I've really enjoyed the start of the Celtic/Barca game. Crowd whistling at Barca whenever they hold the ball is hilarious.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
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So, here's a guide to the most interesting matches of next week's concluding Group Stage matchdays, in descending order.

Tues 12/6:
- Napoli at Benfica. It's the closest group of all: both on 8 points, with Besiktas on their heels with 7. Besiktas holds the tiebreaker on Napoli, but not on Benfica. Winner of this match advances; a tie would send Napoli through but leave Benfica at risk.
- Rostov at PSV. Eliminated from advancing by dint of being in a group with Atleti and Bayern, this grudge match will send the winner to the Europa league. First leg was a 2-2 draw at Rostov.
- Arsenal at Basel is meaningless, but should be fun.

all of which are appetizers for:

Wed 12/7:
- Sevilla at Lyon. Any win by Lyon other than 1-0 would, comically, dump Sevilla back to the Europa league to chase a 4th straight title, so of course that's what I'm rooting for. Sevilla looked nigh impregnable through the first 4 matches, but a shocking 1-3 loss at home to Juventus (after Mark Clattenburg gave a dubious red card) has left them vulnerable. Lyon will not be favored, even at home, but theirs is not an absurd task.
- Spurs vs CSKA. Having pissed away chances of advancing, Spurs need a result (any will do) to keep some dignity and carry on to the Europa league.
- Dortmund at Real Madrid. 'Cause Pulisic, mostly. Due to a hugely-improbable draw earned by Legia Warsaw against RM, any result for BVB here will have them finish top of the group.
- Leicester at Porto. Despite being assured top of their group, Leicester can knock Porto out of the knockout rounds with a win, as long as Copenhagen handles Club Brugge (likely). Will be interesting to see whether Ranieri plays a B side, or goes for the gusto.
 

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MDLzera
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Bump for the good stuff today and tomorrow.

I'd forgotten that today also has Bayern @ Atleti. Both are locked into their spots in the group, but I bet they play for pride and playing-against-a-top-team experience.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Arsenal have been pretty shit since the second goal and probably should have conceded somewhere but obviously this is working out well so far. I still think PSG probably bags two in this second half and wins the group although Ludo can pose a little danger on the counter so maybe they get another somewhere.

IMO, Wenger should sub Elneny for Iwobi, moving Ramsey wide, if we're still 2-0 up after 60 minutes.

Edit: Besiktas down 4-0 in Kiev at the half, having seen a man sent off and basically imploding. A win would have put them through and a draw would have given them a pretty good chance.
 

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MDLzera
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What did you think of the first red, VT? Looked like a legal shoulder charge to me, at worst a penalty, certainly no card. Straight red there is one of the harshest calls of the year for me.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Just a brutal penalty call that changed the game entirely. The Kiev forward initiated the contact and dove for the penalty. At that point, though Kiev were up 1-0, Besiktas were supposedly carrying the play:

 

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MDLzera
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Oh, and: upon further review, Lyon needs to beat Sevilla by at least 2 goals to knock them down to 3rd place in the group.

Will be a tough call whether to watch that one or RM-Dortmund.
 

Vinho Tinto

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What did you think of the first red, VT? Looked like a legal shoulder charge to me, at worst a penalty, certainly no card. Straight red there is one of the harshest calls of the year for me.
The Red was inexcusable. Actually, if the ref was blackmailed would be an excuse. After that Besiktas collapsed. One thing I found strange was their manager didn't immediately bring on another defender. That's a pretty ballsy move when your RW is Quaresma.
 

lars10

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Wait...the dude in maroon got the red card? Holy Shit.
The only possible reason for a card there is that he raised his left leg as he was rolling. Even with that the forward created the contact and with any fairness should have been called. I think 99.99% of refs call it that way just to avoid having to call a red and a penalty.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Pulisic is starting for Dortmund today against Real in the Bernabeu, possibly in the #10 role. They are playing him, Schurrle, and Dembele behind Aubameyang in some combination. It definitely won't be Schurrle playing through the middle.

No pressure kid!
 

Titans Bastard

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I guess if there's one way to prepare yourself for the Azteca, that'd be it. That or Anfield.

Just don't go head-to-head with Sergio Ramos.
I went to a game at Bernabeu and I thought the atmosphere wasn't too crazy -- and they were even playing a team from Barcelona!

Okay, it was Espanyol
 

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MDLzera
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Perhaps I'm misinformed, wouldn't be the first time. What are the most intimidating stadiums to play at for visitors?
 

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MDLzera
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Ah yes, I visited there a few years ago, though not for a game. I can definitely see that.

Also watched a Flamenco match at Maracana. Now THAT was some scary shit. The lower bowl was civilized by European football-match standards, which is to say, "don't do dumb things" and it's fine. The upper bowl was an absolute bedlam of flags, flares, and fights.
 

coremiller

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I guess if there's one way to prepare yourself for the Azteca, that'd be it. That or Anfield.

Just don't go head-to-head with Sergio Ramos.

edit: anyone looking for a stream to watch should get themselves a good Ad blocker and head here:
http://www.vipleague.se/football/418158/1/real-madrid-vs-borussia-dortmund-live-stream-online.html
Pulisic's home ground, the Westfalenstadion, is no slouch itself, especially during league play where they still allow standing terraces.
 

Titans Bastard

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Perhaps I'm misinformed, wouldn't be the first time. What are the most intimidating stadiums to play at for visitors?
I'm not sure, but I would be willing to bet that most are not in Western Europe, though there are exceptions.

I'd start with @Vinho Tinto's suggestions; some of the stuff that comes out of Turkey and Greece looks crazy. Other clubs in Eastern Europe would be a bit scary given the...political bent of some supporter groups. Zenit St. Petersburg is a pretty despicable club in general and they are hardly the only ones.

Italy has some nasty supporter groups, but they have so many dumpy stadiums with tracks around them, I think that extra distance reduces the intimidation factor.

Partizan vs. Red Star games look fairly terrifying.

I think a lot of African venues are really rough on visitors for various reasons.

Plenty of tough Latin American venues, too.
 

bosox4283

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Also, thus far Pulisic is trying a lot of runs straight at the defense, and Marcelo is having none of it.
Pulisic is doing OK against Marcelo, who is probably one of the best in the world in this spot. Pulisic is having to work a lot on both sides of the ball.
 

Investor 11

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Pulisic was on James on that goal -- James put on a perfect cross, though, so it's hard to blame Pulisic for poor defense.
Was coming here to ask about that. Looked like Pulisic signaled for a defensive switch and then didn't close down in time? Was I seeing that correctly?
 

blueguitar322

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And Dortmund ties it. Real Madrid have 3-4 minutes to find a winner, or they'll finish second in their group.
 

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MDLzera
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UCL Round of 16 participants, by country and UEFA rank:

(1) Spain: 4 teams
(2) Germany: 3 teams
(3) England: 3 teams
(4) Italy: 2 teams
(5) Portugal: 2 teams
(6) France: 2 teams

....aaaaaaaand we're done. No cinderellas this time, Leicester is the closest thing to an underdog (or Sevilla, I guess).
 

bosox4283

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As the Atletico fan, here's my ranking of draws for Cholo's squad from easiest to hardest:

Leverkusen
Porto
Benfica (currently top of the table in Portugal)
PSG
Manchester City

I'd be happy with the first three teams. I'd be fine with PSG -- they haven't yet seemed to have found their rhythm under Emery. I hope to avoid City -- no need to play a Guardiola-coached team so far in the tournament.
 

Vinho Tinto

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I thought the group stage was pretty boring...chalk across the board more or less.
It's been this way since they expanded the group stage to 32. There's very little chance a top 8 team doesn't finish in the top two of each group. The CL doesn't really start until February.

Outside of watching matches that involve my team, I don't pay attention to the group stage. Huge contrast to the mid 90s, where group matches involving Ajax/Barca/Juve/ManU/Milan would feel like finals.
 

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MDLzera
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Really? I absolutely love watching group stage matches, at least where it isn't hugely lopsided. It really shows the contrasting styles on display in each league, and how the coaches are responding to it. You never get to see these kind of matchups otherwise, and it makes all of europe feel like a single league in one sense. I feel similarly about the Europa league, even - once you take away the superteams with an effectively unlimited budget, who else can put together a squad that is greater than the sum of its parts? That's defeated a little bit by having your Man Us and Romas in the mix, but easily still worth watching, say, Hapoel Be'er Sheva take it to a Southampton. You've got dozens of underdogs with realistic chances, at your fingertips every 2 weeks. And/or, you have two hegemons testing themselves against competition they rarely see domestically, like Dortmund - Real Madrid. What's not to like?
 

Dummy Hoy

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Beacuase Dortmund-Franco's Fascists is only 2 of the games in that group. And they're often conservatively played games. The rest of the group is Sporting winning one game while scoring 5 in 6 and Warsaw sporting a -15 GD.

I love the different styles too, and there were some good games between "smaller" clubs, but in about half of the groups there were elite teams playing conservative football against each other while crushing the other two teams. And some of the other groups...if Leverkusen drawing their way to the next round excites you (exciting game against Monaco aside), then I can see why you like the setup.

That said, I will have the tv on for every televised CL game when I'm at home.
 

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MDLzera
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Did you miss Warsaw getting their only point prior to wednesday by drawing with the galacticos in a back-and-forth match that ended 3-3? That was one of the best games of the group stage, from an entertainment perspective.

Conservative football? I hope you weren't watching Arsenal-PSG. Or the Barcelona-City matches that had 4 goals each and some bonkers one-touch play from start to finish. I guess let's agree to disagree.
 

Dummy Hoy

Angry Pissbum
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Well, I think there are some exceptions (and yes, Warsaw-Madrid was enjoyable) but I find most of it to be predictable and many of the games between elite squads to lack the urgency that the knockout rounds have.

But yes, we'll agree to love footy and disagree about the value of the groups stages.