Champions League talking points

Wolfsburg shows cracks, PSG looks strong in the Champions League

The first games of the knockout rounds of the Champions League are wrapped up. There is something to learn about the rest of European football and how this many affect Bayern Munich.

AS Roma’s forwards fail them

Judging from the 2:0 scoreline that Real Madrid delivered to Roma in their own stadium, one could expect that the game was a dominating performance from Madrid. You would be forgiven for thinking that the Italians did not offer much resistance as goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesé Rodríguez make Madrid’s victory seem easy.

The truth of the matter is that, at least for the first half, AS Roma held their own. It is difficult to say that Luciano Spalletti was outcoached. With the first half ending 0:0, you could argue that it was the perfect Italian game.

To say Roma’s forwards were poor is an understatement. Roma had a total of eleven shots, but only two of them were on target and many not only should have been on target but could have easily been goals. Mohomed Salah, for example, wasted several golden opportunities by simply running the ball too far and not making a decision. Salah is clearly a talented player, but he showed he can be quite reliant on speed and against a team of Real Madrid’s caliber, that simply will not work.

Edin Džeko came onto the game and only continued the disappointment by constantly losing the ball and failing to shoot when he should have. Overall, it was a good tactical game from Roma but a failed production up front.

The one major bright spot for Roma was Alessandro Florenzi, who put in a solid performance both attacking and defending down the right flank all night. He was not perfect, but he created several chances with excellent throughballs and a few good crosses. His tackling was not spot on but overall he showed glimpses of brilliance and was probably Roma’s best player on the night.

This game probably means that much like we all thought, Real Madrid will likely progress to the next round of the Champions League and could pose a serious threat to Bayern Munich further down the line.

Wolfsburg wins, but cracks are showing

Wolfsburg has been fairly hot and cold this season. Losing a player like Kevin De Bruyne would be a blow for almost any team in the world, but for Wolfsburg the struggle has been fairly evident. Despite coming in as a strong second in the Bundesliga last season and dominating the DFB Pokal, the Wolves are now sitting eight in the league.

Wolfsburg were expected to beat KAA Gent handily. One could argue that they did up until the 80th minute, when Kalifa Coulibaly scored. However, Gent put up a decent fight, managing 60% of the possession, and twelve shots with half of them on target. It was really only a matter of time before they scored.

Wolfsburg managed to get by with some brilliance from Julian Draxler, who has been hot and cold this season with three goals and three assists in the Bundesliga. Perhaps he is just adapting to his new team and being shuffled around in the offense between the various wing and attacking midfield positions. If Draxler can become more consistent and if the flashes of what we saw this week hinted at anything, he could still be a major talent for Germany.

This game does not have much of an effect on Bayern. Wolfsburg have the next leg at home and will probably go through to the next round where they will not pose much of a threat to most teams. If they still had De Bruyne, things could be different, but as it stands, Wolfsburg has not been the representative of the Bundesliga fans had hoped for.

Paris looking strong

Considering that their opponent was Chelsea, perhaps this is a difficult game to read into. As Bayern fans know all too well, Chelsea is their most dangerous when they are underperforming. As it stands, Paris Saint-Germain went in as strong favorites and emerged victorious, and deservingly so.

The Parisians dominated most of the important statistics with twenty shots and eight of them on target and 65% possession. For the most part, they controlled the game. The only concern for Paris that they should have is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s free kick relied on a mistake from John Obi Mikel, and not every team in Europe is going to make those same mistakes.

As for Chelsea, Mikel giveth and Mikel taketh away. He was responsible for Zlatan’s opening goal, but he made up for it by scoring an equalizer.

Ultimately, Chelsea still look vulnerable even though Mourinho is gone. There are improvements here and there, but players like Eden Hazard still look like they are playing in boots that do not really fit them.

Paris won, and even though they look like the stronger team, there are some consistency issues they need to work on. Should Munich play Paris in the upcoming rounds, this will be something the Bavarians can exploit.

More fun next week

With another week down, Bayern look towards Juventus. The best competition in football keeps rolling.

[su_label] Post editor: Michel[/su_label]

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