With Olympique Marseille’s recent drop in form, rumours about Bielsa’s future and players (Doria) speaking out publicly against the manager, it looked like L’OM’s title hopes were over. 1-6 was probably a flattering scoreline, but an encouraging one nonetheless.
Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their midweek loss to Juventus to extend their Bundesliga winning run to four matches with a complete domination of a defensive Schalke side in the Ruhr derby.
Another win for Bayern who are coming back in top form just at the right time. A great game by Bayern tactically and technically as they destroy 1. FC Cologne at the beginning of the game.
In the first leg of what was the most exciting prospects from the selection of CL matches a great game was expected, yet not primarily in the players on show but the tactical ability of the two managers who are, especially in the case of El Cholo, regarded amongst the best in the world.
Barcelona ended any speculation that their form would drop off following their loss to Malaga at the weekend with an impressive performance, particularly in the first half. Despite being outclassed in the first half, City could take some positives due to their second half display, coming close to scorer an equaliser.
Villarreal and Red Bull Salzburg are two of the few European teams that are leading the resurgence of the 4-4-2 after the formation became very rarely used in top-level teams in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s.
Liverpool proved the victor over a defensive Besiktas team which offered little in attack. Neither team excelled on the night but Liverpool were the superior team and controlled, yet they at times were found reliant on Ibe who, thankfully for Rodgers, excelled.
After finishing runners up in their group to Madrid – knocking out Liverpool along the way – Basel face Porto in the first round of the Champions League knockout stages. Porto reach this stage after winning their group, which included Shakhtar Donetsk and Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona lined-up in the experimental 3-3-4 which had featured for long periods of time of Guardiola’s final season at the Camp Nou. The back 3 consisted of Abidal, Puyol and Mascherano ahead of Valdes in goal.
This match was probably the most highly anticipated Copa Libertadores match of this week due to the nature of the rivalry between the two Brazilian giants as well as the clubs being among the most successful in recent Libertadores history, each winning the competition within the last ten years.