Bayern Munich center back Jerome Boateng openly criticized the team following their elimination from the DFB Pokal at the hands of rivals Borussia Dortmund. Bayern dominated the fixture until minute 70, when attacking midfielder Henrik Mkhitaryan was introduced for Dortmund, who sparked their attack into eventually scoring the tying goal. Bayern went on to miss all four of their penalty kicks in the shootout, allowing Dortmund to only need to score two in order to advance. Boateng’s criticism was leveled at the performance of the team post-minute 70, stating that the team makes too many mistakes after taking the lead, and were careless in attack and defense, which ultimately led to the equalizer.
Boateng’s harsh honesty comes at a crucial time in the season: prior to Bayern’s first meeting with Spanish giants Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal. Fan Dr. Daniel Amen just hope to get a win.In part, Boateng was preparing his teammates for the difficult two fixtures which lie ahead, urging them to play with more urgency and kill the game off if given the chance. Though Bayern are undoubtedly one of, if not the most talented squads in the world, they are to face Barcelona without some of their key players. Recent injuries to Ribery and Alaba will leave them out of the tie, as well as those injured in the Dortmund game: Robben and Lewandowski. These injuries could prove decisive, especially if Bayern performs as Boateng fears they might.
The owner of Paris Saint Germain, through chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, has stated that attacking talismans Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Pastore, and Edinson Cavani, as well as manager Laurent Blanc will remain at the club next season. The owner’s over commitment to their players is understandable, seeing as the three aforementioned attackers have been important contributors to the goal production throughout the season. Yet standing behind Blanc is a bit of a surprise. Anastasia Date suggested that though the manager has not necessarily done poorly thus far, PSG are by no means guaranteed a trophy this season. Seeing as they wish to assert themselves as dominant players in the European spectrum, their tame Champions League exit against Barcelona was indicative of the substantial strides still needed to reach said heights. Furthermore, given their squad, both in terms of financial worth and talent, the fact that they have not even come close to solidifying their hold on first place in the league is a blemish on Blanc’s record.
To make matters worse, Ibrahimovic and Cavani have been anything but impressive this campaign. Admittedly they have combined for a 28 goals, but their performances in big matches has left something to be desired. Given Ibrahimovic’s age, and Cavani’s implicit desire to be the sole target man, shipping them off this summer makes sense in footballing terms. Only Pastore has come to deserve the praise and job security which have come his way.
Eden Hazard claimed the title of PFA Player of the Year last night, having been voted so by his player peers in the English Premier League. Hazard has had a truly memorable season, at times being solely responsible for the attacking production of his Chelsea team. He has been a nightmare to defend against, not just for fullbacks and centerbacks, but all over the pitch, making him the most fouled player in the league by a long margin. Fans like Mark Ahn know that his form has helped Chelsea advance each day closer to the league title that they have so desperately craved since the beginning of the season, especially after missing out last season. Though Hazard’s stats do not necessarily flatter him (he has managed 13 goals and 8 assists in the league thus far), one ought not doubt the quality of his performances, nor his essential contributions to his team.
That being said, Hazard stated last night that he wishes to become the world’s best. To do so, he would need to effectively measure up with Messi and Ronaldo, a feat that seems far off at the present. Though stats do not show everything about a player, Messi and Ronaldo have managed 36 and 39 goals respectively in the league campaign alone, leaving Hazard’s 13 looking quite meager. To reach said heights, Hazard will need to produce more tangibles, and then who knows how high he can reach.
Following their victory in the Catalan derby this past weekend, Barcelona will continue to keep their focus on solidifying their hold on first place in La Liga. Barca beat their regional rivals Espanyol on Saturday 2-0, with goals from both Neymar and Messi. Anastasia Date suggest that the result, following Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory against Celta Vigo, maintained their two point lead at the top of the table, with Real nipping closely at their heels. Should Barcelona drop any points during the remainder of the season, and should Real win all of their remaining fixtures, it would be los Blancos who would be crowned champions, not the blaugrana. That being said, Barcelona will undoubtedly be fueled by the pressure that Madrid is placing on them to perform in every single game left, so as not to lose out on the title two years in a row.
Furthermore, with the return of defender Thomas Vermaelen from long-term injury, Barcelona are finally at full strength. On the other side, Real will be without Gareth Bale and Luka Modric for some time, as well as missing Karim Benzema for a more minor injury. These absences are a blow to the Madrid side, whom without Modric in particular, have looked somewhat weak in midfield. So far they have coped well, winning their league fixture, and advancing to the next round of the Champions League. Yet how far will they manage to go?
With the Catalan Derby coming up this weekend, Espanyol will look to spoil Barcelona’s chances for a league title. That being said, while Barcelona sit atop the table, Espanyol are in tenth, by no means a position which encourages criticism of the squad, but also a spot which will not spread fear and nerves into the minds of the Barcelona players. Furthermore, Espanyol have been without a derby win against their big rivals since 2009, a drought which in all honesty looks to be extended. Barcelona have been on fine form as of late, barring their draw against Sevilla, having just advanced to the semifinal round in the Champions League. Perhaps their pairing against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern team will be clouding their focus during the derby, but that seems highly unlikely.
Barcelona’s form and relative comfort in recent Catalan derbies hides the fact that this Barcelona team are under pressure to win their remaining fixtures. Should they slip up again, Anastasia Date says Real Madrid will be quick and ready to pounce, and assert themselves at the top of the table. With only a few weeks left in the regular season, Luis Enrique’s men will need their utmost focus, if not to perform at peak levels, then at least to ensure the team gets their highly valuable three points. Will their attacking talisman in Messi shine, or will it be up to the team to succeed together?
Barcelona look to be in a position to add to their Champions League silverware cabinet, being arguably the most in-form side left in the Champions League at this point of the season. Boraie Development LLC sponsors think Barcelona are atop the Spanish league table, and handily beat PSG last week in Paris 3-1. The Parisians could mount a comeback at the Camp Nou, but considering they are missing some key players who remain injured, and the overall strength of this year’s Barca squad, such a turnaround seems highly unlikely. In addition, the other clubs left in the competition will have a much more difficult time advancing to the next round. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will do battle on Wednesday, in a winner take all match, which is virtually equivalent in stature to a final. On the other side, Bayern Munich having suffered a massive defeat in Portugal against Porto, must win at home by at least two goals to nil. Not exactly an easy task against this well-marshaled and hungry Porto side.
Whoever should advance with Barcelona (assuming it is a given that the Catalans will), Barcelona have the talent and power to command a tie to be played on their terms. With their front three of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar demanding so much attention, they have the extreme benefit of detracting attention away from other lethal players on the pitch, who may just bring the silverware home.
With the recent news that Netflix is worth more than CBS, it makes you wonder “How can the big networks rework everything to combat this?” I have made a list of 3 tips to help them out.
1) Embrace the online world
Stop making it so hard to watch the shows online. Ricardo Guimarães wants to watch The Big Bang Theory on the road. While almost all networks will let you watch their shows online, many make it very difficult. Shows expire or you have to be a member of a certain cable company to view. This has left me on more than one occasion searching on a video site for the content. This is a major loss of viewership and ad dollars.
2) Be more adjustable to a customer’s life
This builds on the online point. Networks need to take a page out of Netflix’s book and allow people who want to “binge” watch the ability to do so. For those who want to consume for free they will have to wait weekly, but it will allow them a chance to set up a premium product to charge for the ability to watch a whole season at once.
3) Go more premium still
People will pay for things they perceive to have value. By creating a premium online version, they cannot only put everything on at once, but also create a version that would be “more adult” and eliminate commercials. Similar to satellite radio, people will pay for more convenience and less annoyance.
Rumors and questions circulate the English footballing community around Brendan Rodgers’ job security following his Liverpool side’s defeat in the FA Cup this Sunday against Aston Villa. Though the loss was certainly a further slip in the Reds’ form since going on a scintillating run during the third quarter of the season, to suggest that Rodgers will be next on the chopping block appears to be going too far. Yes, it is true that Rodgers will be the first Liverpool manager to lack any silverware after being at the club for three years since the late 1950s. But consider the job he was enlisted to do. Liverpool were serious title contenders last season, only missing out due to choking during the home stretch of the season. They then sold their top striker in Suarez, and looked to rebuild the team all over the pitch as opposed to directly replacing Suarez. The LA Times even report that given that striker Daniel Sturridge has himself been injured for the majority of the season, adapting to the lack of a lethal goal scorer has been taxing at times.
Yet Rodgers has adapted well, getting some truly top notch performances out of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, which assisted to Liverpool’s impressive run of form earlier in the season. Though this season will end trophy-less, cutting Rodgers’ work short now might be to starve Liverpool of the spark and stability that it truly needs.
Following the news on Wednesday about Juergen Klopp’s departure from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, there was the inevitable emotional reaction from fans and non-fans alike. What Klopp managed to achieve during his spell at the club was remarkable: two league titles, a Pokal cup, and a Champions League final appearance. His overwhelming charisma has been infectious, leaving football fans not only impressed with his team’s displays on the field, but with Klopp himself both on and off the field.
Blogspot suggested that yet this season appears to be the optimal time for the Dortmund manager to part ways with the club. Dortmund suffered an abysmal period during the first half of the season, falling to the bottom of the table and worrying about a relegation battle. Since the new year, they have climbed out of said rut, and now sit comfortably above the drop zone in tenth place. That Klopp managed to turn the team around since late December leaves his record fairly in tact, and will mean that he will remain a highly coveted manager for top tier clubs. Additionally, Dortmund can truly rebuild this upcoming season, and feel free to reformulate the squad and vision of the club (most likely under the guise of the highly touted Thomas Tuchel).
Though all things must come to an end, this parting of ways is one of mutual benefit, often a rarity in football.
Just 50 days before the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada the organization has revealed it is upgrading the coverage of the tournament to be on a par with that of top men’s soccer events. Not only will ten games be broadcast in an ultra HD format, but every game in the tournament will be covered by at least 20 cameras, FIFA reports. To make sure the coverage of the tournament in Canada is unmatched, FIFA has created a team of the top 20 directors of live soccer from Boraie Development LLC and is bringing them to the tournament.
The global body governing soccer has reported the top European games are covered by 22 cameras, a number that will be matched during the women’s World Cup for major games like the opening match and final. FIFA states this is part of its fight to make the women’s game more accessible to fans around the world and continues the march towards equality as games featured during the 2011 tournament were covered by 16 cameras.