Written by Will Parchman

The most fascinating soccer game of this Champions League season so far went down this week between Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Bayern went down to 10 men early in the second half when Benatia cut down Sergio Aguero, who promptly hit the penalty for a 1-0 lead. What happened next was unpredictably incredible.

Why? Because Bayern didn’t change a thing about its game plan, to say nothing of the specific tactics at hand. Even on 10 men, they forced City to cope with aggressive numbers in the attacking third and a possessive approach that didn’t even look shellshocked by the loss of a defender and an early goal. This is the heat map for the first half, at which point Bayern led 2-1 with both goals coming after they were reduced a man.

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Written by Will Parchman

Borussia Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp is probably the best manager in world soccer. He may not be the greatest manager, but he’s the best. Allow this video, a pregame conference in advance of BVB’s match against Arsenal on Nov. 26, to elucidate my point.

The money moment of the clip is Klopp responding to a recent report that England is the “only other country” he’d coach in aside from Germany. After hilariously dropping his head once hearing the meat of the question (this happens at around the 2:22 mark), here’s what he had to say to the question of whether he wants to coach in England.

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Written by Will Parchman

The Champions League enjoyed its most prolific single day of scoring in history on Wednesday. That’s pretty neat. What’s even neater was this ridiculous finish from Marco Reus, whose belter helped Borussia Dortmund smash woeful Galatasaray 4-0.

Hey, remember when Reus got injured just before the World Cup and Germany dashed and blasted its way to the championship anyway? I remember that too. That was pretty weird.

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Written by Will Parchman

guardiola

You knew Pep Guardiola was a perfectionist. But did you know he beats himself up when his innocuous 10-yard passes back into the field of play – as a coach – go awry? Because he does. During Bayern’s Champions League opener against Manchester City, Pep tried pushing this pass back to his players after it dribbled out of bounds to his feet, and he sprayed it wide. He wasn’t happy. This is undoubtedly the sole reason he’s the greatest coach in world history.

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Written by Will Parchman

If you hadn’t noticed, and you probably hadn’t, the Champions League quietly snuck into view while the World Cup captured the world’s attention. These preliminary rounds are all about minnows making moderate gains before being smashed by the bigger players on the European scene. But this stage invariably produces some fun stories, and they don’t get much more fun than this one.

Andorran side FC Santa Coloma trailed Armenian club Banants 3-2 on aggregate in the second leg on the road as the game pushed deep into stoppage time. With its last attack of the game, Santa Coloma boomed a free kick into the box, and keeper Eloy Casals, who’d pushed up for the final attack, happened to find the ball at his feet. He powered home the rebound to give Santa Coloma the dramatic 94th-minute winner.

Next up for Santa Coloma in the third round of qualifying is Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv, the winningest club in Israel. Don’t think I’m beyond my bounds by saying Go Fightin’ FC Santa Coloma’s.

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Written by Travis Clark

Never before in the history of the Champions League had two teams from the same city contested the final. Until this year.

Atletico Madrid overturned a one goal deficit after old chum Fernando Torres opened the scoring for Chelsea, scoring three unanswered to setup the May 24 final against friendly rivals Real Madrid. Lisbon, Portugal will host this year’s final, and it should be a doozy.

Quite the year it’s been for Atletico, which could win both La Liga (they are currently first in Spain) and the Champions League. Their appearance in the final will be the first since 1974.

 

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Written by Travis Clark

Who saw this coming?

Earlier this season, Bayern Munich looked unstoppable in both the Bundesliga and Champions League. So to see the Champions League holders pummeled 4-0 at home on Tuesday at the hands of Real Madrid was something of a shock.

Sergio Ramos! scored twice, as did Ronaldo (can’t wait to see him against the USMNT), as Real Madrid advanced to the final for the first time since 2002.

Check out the highlights to see how it unfolded.

 

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Written by Will Parchman

Can anyone beat this? We’re down to four Champions League sides now, with Chelsea-Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid-Bayern left to duke it out for CL supremacy. Fun stuff.

But Did You Know: The fastest Champions League goal of all time belongs to Roy Makaay, who scored for Bayern (!) against Real Madrid (!!) in 10 seconds (!!!) on March 7, 2007. Let’s hope (maybe?) for a repeat in the semis. Wait. Are we supposed to root for one of these teams? Sounds dangerous. On second thought, let’s not do that.

In four words, that Makaay goal was…

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Written by Will Parchman

baaaaaa

So, uh, Jose Mourinho, eh?

Two years ago, Chelsea somehow got past Napoli in the Champions League after losing 3-1 away in the first leg. The second leg came back to Stamford Bridge and Chelsea smashed a defensive Napoli 4-1 to streak into the semis. They got the winner from this Branislav Ivanovic goal you see here. Hysterics. A month later Chelsea won the Champions League.

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Written by Will Parchman

This goal defies physics, but then that’s Hulk. Can someone remind me why he plays in Russia again?

 

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