Champions League Predictions and NBA Translator
By Young Kim
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich
The Red Devils might give Japanese international Shinji Kagawa a rare start in what could be their biggest test of the season. After notching his first assist of the season in a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa, Kagawa hopes to maintain a consistent run of form against the rival of his former club.
Despite good form from Wayne Rooney and Valencia, the club’s ability to keep up with top clubs is still in question after the 3-0 loss to Manchester City. Bayern Munich’s consistent form this season and ability to attack the box through a variety of methods will overwhelm United’s spotty defense. Manchester United has gone undefeated at Old Trafford in all four of their UEFA Champions League matches this season, but don’t be surprised if they fall in the first leg against the German giants.
An NBA analogy for the Yanks:
It’s like watching a Dallas Mavericks (Man Utd) vs San Antonio Spurs (Bayern Munich) game. Mavericks are one piece away from being a championship team, but for some reason nobody wants to join them. Meanwhile Bayern Munich is a football machine just as the San Antonio Spurs have been a basketball machine. Clinical and fundamentally sound, they appear to have no weakness heading into the match.
First Leg Score line: The home field advantage will only serve to help Manchester United to escape with a 1-0 loss and false hopes that they can advance with a victory in the second leg.
FC Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Even if Atletico Madrid are making waves by leading the table in La Liga, they’ve only proved to convincingly put away small clubs and struggle against big teams. Barcelona are keen to remind Atletico Madrid that their lead in La Liga is paper thin and give them a lesson on tradition in the first leg of the Champions League.
Madrid have several disadvantages coming into the match. Raul Garcia is suspended from the first leg and Javi Manquillo is out with a neck injury. Most importantly, their consistent goal scorer Diego Costa has been dealing with knee injuries and might not be 100% on match day.
Atletico Madrid would give Barcelona trouble if their full starting 11 was healthy, but this late into the season, Atletico is now suffering the consequences from their lack of depth. Barcelona should take advantage in the first leg despite being the away team.
This is literally the Houston Rockets (Barca) vs Portland Trailblazers (Atletico). Both teams do a great job moving the ball well and have a share of stars who can get the ball into the net. The difference? The Rockets have serviceable backups for their stars in case someone gets hurt or suspended. The Blazers look extremely vulnerable once they lose one star player.
First Leg Score Line: Barcelona will come away with a 2-0 victory on the away leg, leaving Diego Simeone pondering on who to sign in the upcoming transfer market.