Saturday, 10 August 2013

UEFA Champions League Qualification Draw Analysis + Extras:

Hello again everyone and welcome to my latest blog post where I analyse the UEFA Champions League Qualification Draw along with all the teams that have been confirmed to progress into the group stages - which will be drawn after the play-off round.

I also have "extras" in this blog post, including Swansea's second leg tie against Swedish side Malmo FF, the opening match in the 2013-14 Bundesliga season and some latest transfer news + done deals.

So without further ado, let me begin with the complete qualification draw which was completed earlier today (or yesterday depending on where you live)

Qualification Draw:

Dinamo Zagreb vs FK Austria Wien
PFC Ludogorets Razgrad vs FC Basel
FC Viktoria Plzen vs NK Maribor 
FC Shakhter Karagandy vs Celtic FC
FC Steaua Bucharest vs Legia Warsaw 
Lyon vs Real Sociedad
FC Schalke 04 vs FC Metalist Kharkiv
Pacos de Ferreira vs Zenit St. Petersburg
PSV Eindhoven vs AC Milan
Fenerbache vs Arsenal FC

So a pretty straight-forward qualification draw, with most of the favoured teams like Celtic, Zagreb and Basel heavily expected to go through and progress to the group stages. Arsenal have a potential banana skin competitor in Turkish side Fenerbache, who reached the Europa League semi-finals, losing to Portugese side Benfica.
Some interesting ties, with PSV vs AC Milan and Lyon vs Real Sociedad promising to be interesting fixtures as all four teams are desperate to qualify for the group stages and be amongst the Europe's Elite.

Here are the teams that have qualified for the group stages so far (and reasons why):

Manchester United (EPL champions)
Manchester City (2nd in the EPL)
Chelsea (3rd in the EPL)
Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 champions)
Marseille (2nd in Ligue 1)
CSKA Moscow (Russian League champions)
Ajax (Eredivisie champions)
Shakthar Donetsk (Ukrainian League champions)
Olympiacos (Greek League champions)
Bayern Munich (Bundesliga champions, UCL title holders)
Borussia Dortmund (2nd in the Bundesliga)
Bayer Leverkusen (3rd in the Bundesliga)
Juventus (Serie A champions)
Napoli (2nd in the Serie A)
FC Porto (Portuguese League champions)
Benfica (2nd in Portuguese League)
Barcelona (Liga BBVA champions)
Real Madrid (2nd in Liga BBVA)
Atletico Madrid (3rd in Liga BBVA) 
Galatasaray (Turkish League champions) 
Anderlecht (Belgian Pro League champions)
FC Copenhagen (Superliga champions) 

UEFA Europa League Qualification Match:

Malmo FF 0 Swansea City 0 (Aggregate 0-4)

This was the return leg of the UEFA Europa League qualifying match between Welsh side Swansea and Swedish side Malmo. The first leg at The Liberty Stadium was a comfortable 4-0 victory for The Swans, who were almost certain to progress through to the play-offs unless absolute disaster struck and they lost by more than 4 goals in Sweden.

Malmo had it all to do if they wanted to reach the play-off round of the Europa League.  

Both sides had lots of chances to break the deadlock in Sweden, especially with Swansea players Michu and Pozuelo both being fed the ball by Bony just outside the box. 

Routledge had a shot narrowly over the bar during the second half, but The Swans failed to create as many clear cut chances as they did in the first leg. 

Pozuelo chipped the ball to de Guzman inside the box on the counter attack, but the midfielder failed to control the ball properly and the ball was cleared off the line by a Malmo defender. 

At full-time the scoreline finished 0-0 with Swansea progressing through to the play-off round to play against Romanian side Petrolul Ploiesti. 

Bundesliga and Ligue 1 Opening Day Review:

1 match from both the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 was played on Friday night - (yesterday) with both the German and French champions were in action - Bayern Munich and PSG. 

Bayern Munich 3 Borussia Monchengladbach 1

The holding Bundesliga champions have started from where they left off at the end of last season, giving new manager Pep Guardiola a win on his first Bundesliga match of his Bayern career, comfortably beating Monchengladbach by 3 goals to one at home. 

The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute after Franck Ribery used his vision to find Robben on the counter attack running into space towards the box to tap the ball past highly-rated goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen to make it 1-0.

Tap-in: Robben breaks the deadlock to score the first goal of the 2013-14 Bundesliga season. 

Bayern are back: The Bundesliga holders celebrate Robben's opener.

Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic doubled Bayern's lead four minutes later after Robben's free-kick delivery into the box towards Ribery was parried away by ter Stegen but the ball bounced to Mandzukic to tap past a helpless ter Stegen into the net.   

Simple finish: Mandzukic took advantage of a rebounded shot to double Bayern's lead.

Poor communication between Neuer and Dante resulted in Bayern conceding just before the break in the 40th minute, with the Brazillian defender Dante hitting the ball into his own net to make it 2-1.

Thomas Muller had a penalty saved by ter Stegen in the second half in the 67th minute with a strong hand, before another penalty was given a minute later after a handball.

Austrian left-back David Alaba stepped up to take it this time, and scored with a cool finish down the middle to make it 3-1 and end the game off.  

Montpellier 1 PSG 1

This was the opening match in the Ligue 1 2013-14 season as French holding champions PSG were playing against former champions Montpellier in an interesting match-up. 

And it was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the 10th minute with a controversial finish as Zlatan Ibrahimovic appeared to be fouled during the build-up to the goal thanks to midfielder Remy Cabella's looping chip over Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. 

Cool finish: Remy Cabella celebrates scoring the first goal of the Ligue 1 season - albeit controversial. 
PSG equalised during the second half in the 59th minute after a looping cross into the box towards Ibrahimovic was headed downwards towards left-back Maxwell who smashed the ball powerfully into the roof of the net. 

Maxwell celebrates his equaliser to ensure PSG did not start the new season with a loss. 

Thank you for reading my blog today, there will be much more from me over the next couple of days including more transfer news and rumours from all over the world, match reports and transfer signing analysis.
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I will speak to you all later everyone, but just remember the new football season has just begun! :) 

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