Amid FC Bayern's ongoing winning streak, news from France has leaked out regarding the upcoming Champions League clash: Olympique Marseille has been approved in their request to delay their match next weekend, giving them an extra few days of rest before the second-leg of our quarter-final matchup.
Honestly, I'm not even surprised that they made this request, nor am I surprised that the FFF approved it. I guess the biggest shock is that they didn't see the need to come up with some excuse. I think Lyon did this same thing when they were matched up against us in the semis a few years ago, but as I recall they had some reason other than "we're scared of Bayern." But Marseille has basically come out and said that they need help if they're ever going to compete against us.
Annoying, to be sure, but I still feel like we hold all the cards in this one. Marseille was held to a 1-1 draw vs. Nice yesterday, stretching their winless streak to 8. But that only goes back to their win over Inter in the first leg, in which they snatched a late goal from a corner in a match where they didn't look that great. They last time they took the field and convincingly beat an opponent was on February 15, when they won 3-1 vs. something called "Bourg-Peronnas." Plus, they'll be without several key players this week: GK Steve Mandanda will be suspended for the first leg. Defender Soule Diawara was to be suspended as well, but it now looks like he's going to miss both legs with an injury. Even with the seemingly unfair advantage of no next-weekend game, Bayern has to be hoping to get on the scoreboard this week and come back to the Allianz with a lead.
As long as we're on the subject, a general guide for the next two weeks: feel free to mock Marseille and their players, coaching staff, fans, etc. But stay away from any ethnically- or historically-based comments. It's not a "blitzkrieg," it's just a football game between two teams hoping to get to the semis. Take a lesson from the English - before the England / Germany match in the World Cup round of 16, their papers were full of people talking about WWII and the Battle of Britain and the "tenacity of the bulldog" and all that crap. Then what happened? They got their asses kicked up and down the field by a bunch of 22-year-old kids, and everyone in the world sat there laughing at them. We plan on sticking to the football talk. Thanks or reading.