A great week for Bundesliga clubs in Europe
After a excruciatingly long wait, Champions League football returned on Tuesday and Wednesday. Half the matches in the Ro16 took place during those days, while the next half (including Bayern Munich’s match vs Chelsea) will happen next week.
The first two matches were both somewhat shock results. Liverpool, the defending champions, were beaten by an Atletico Madrid who parked the bus so well that ‘04 Mourinho would have been proud. After getting an early goal, the Spaniards shut up shop, conceding zero shots on target. However, they still were able to attack on the break. Álvaro Morata, for example, missed multiple chances (some things never change...) . Now, there is a very real chance that Liverpool will become Loserpool once again and will crash out of the competition at Anfield.
In the other Tuesday fixture, Borussia Dortmund beat PSG, with Erling-Braunt Haaland scoring both of Dortmund’s goals in a 2-1 victory. That third place in the Bundesliga dominated and beat first place in the French league says it all about the respective qualities of competition.
Wednesday was another good day for German clubs, as RB Leipzig defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 away from home, an excellent result for the Lawnballers in their first-ever Champions League knockout win. Not to be outdone, Atalanta BC, boasting a monstrous wage bill that is less than Reading’s, i.e. 16th place in the Championship, recorded a smashing 4-1 win over Valencia in their CL knockout debut.
In addition to the CL returning, the competition that Manchester United fans know so well, also came back, the Europa League. Noteworthy results were Ajax losing 2-0 to Getafe, and all three German teams (Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg, and Eintracht Frankfurt) actually recording wins and showing up (for once!): Eintracht’s 4-1 demolition of RB Salzburg was particularly impressive.
Manchester United draw blamed on . . . the ball? (ESPN)
United boss Solskjaer was up to his regular excuses as to why his team failed, yet again, to record a good result despite being considered as favorites. He was unhappy with pitch conditions as well as with the match ball. He said, “The conditions with the pitch and the ball made it hard.”
Club Brugge gaffer Phillipe Clement challenged Solskjaer’s contention, reasoning that the balls are always the same and that UEFA provides them anyway. He said,
We get the balls from UEFA, so it’s not our ball. In the Europa League games it’s the same balls, so I don’t see a problem with that.
Christian Früchtl rejected Liverpool in December (Sport 1)
Liverpool apparently approached Christian Früchtl with an offer for the Bayern II man to become the Reds’ second-choice keeper, behind Allison. Früchtl declined, however, because he wants to play at a club where he will get consistent minutes as first keeper, while playing at a higher level than he currently does at Bayern II. With Alexander Nübel incoming this summer, there is a good chance that Früchtl will goes out on loan for the 2020/21 season.
Bayern, PSG and Ajax interested in Chelsea youngster (Goal)
The youngster in question is a winger by the name of Samuel Illing-Junior. The 18-year-old is potentially concerned that there will be no place for him to break through “at the Bridge,” so he might be willing to jump off it. The aforementioned three clubs are said to be keen on adding him to their rosters. Bayern have already poached a couple of Chelsea’s youth players. Will Illing-Junior be next?
Ryan Babel imitates diving Getafe player (RomeoDiMarzio)
The player took a flop akin to an Olympic diver. I’m sure many were holding up “10s” at the stupendous airtime and artistry of dive, the Getafe player achieved — Babel’s response to it was just as good. Watch here:
Babel como se nota que en Amsterdam la marihuana es gratis.— Romeo (@RomeoDiMarzio) February 20, 2020
Menudo niñatos los del Ajax, que se vayan a jugar a las muñecas. pic.twitter.com/DjKA04XGc0
Jose Mourinho not amused by journalist’s question
...and he was probably even less amused by the follow-up:
Mourinho walks out of press conference after refusing to answer journalist's question pic.twitter.com/QOJsG4s8mu— Goal (@goal) February 20, 2020
David Alaba wants to move to Spain (Don Balon)
You think we’d forget about the Don, but we haven’t. According to Spain’s best source of transfer news, David Alaba is upset that he’s lost his starting spot to Alphonso Davies, and wants a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona in the summer.
As per the Don, Alaba offered himself to Real, but never got an answer. So now the Austrian is tired of waiting, and wants to move to Barcelona instead. As Barca are disappointed in the development of Junior Firpo and Jordi Alba isn’t getting any younger. So of course, they want David Alaba in the summer for a sum of 60 million euros.
We’ll let you contemplate that one on your own.