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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now that the teams for the knock-out stages are more or less clear, who do you think will be victorious in Istanbul this May?

Here are my contenders, in no particular order:

Bayern= I think Bayern Munich are looking very strong. They didn't deserve to lose to Juventus twice....and have absolutely destroyed teams that Juventus only managed to beat 1-0, like Ajax (4-1) and Tel Aviv (5-1) so I have a feeling they will do very well. The most underrated team in Europe right now, as they are also top of the Bundesliga.

Inter= This purely depends on which Inter shows up (which is a very strange thing to say considering they are the only undefeated team left in Europe. Problem is, they've drawn 96.4% of those matches :D). If all their players perform like they are capable of, they will be extremely hard to beat, especially if Adriano continues to play the way he is now. Having said that, this is Inter and how often do they live up to expectations, exactly?

Milan= They have disappointed me this season, because they've made a pretty slow start in the league by their standards and in the Champions League they have won a couple of games that they didn't deserve to (Donetsk away and Barcelona at home). However, winning when you aren't playing well is a sign of a great team. Once the knock out phases begin they will play to their strength, i.e putting an emphasis on not conceeding any goals and using the energy of Gattuso, the playmaking skills of Kaka, the vision of Pirlo and the finishing of probably the deadliest finisher of them all at the moment: Mr Golden Ball himself, Andriy Shevchenko. When they play to their strengths, they will be very hard to beat.

Arsenal= LOL. Next.

(They are still contenders, but there is just something funny about them and the Champions League! They'll probably go on to win it now that I've said that. :D)

Chelsea= Mourinho's men look very strong this season, but I can't help feeling that they've only managed to look so good because they have been facing mediocre teams both in the league and in Europe. They haven't played Arsenal or Man Utd in the league yet, and in the CL they have had the easiest group IMO. Still, they have a great squad and a cocky coach- who knows what they could do?

Juventus= Any side with Fabio Capello at the helm will always be dangerous (just look at Roma this season compared to last season), but like Chelsea, I am still not 100% convinced with this team. I think they have a better chance to win the scudetto, I can't see them winning the Champions League although the best-coached and most tactically sound team in Europe can't be written off.

Barcelona= Best team in Europe- Period.

Man Utd= The Pizza and soup crew have a Champions League goal machine in Ruud Van Nistelrooy, and with the league title looking increasingly unlikely to return to Old Trafford this season, I think they will concentrate on the Champions League this year. Which means bad news for the rest of us. The potential to go all the way is definitely there because this is the type of team that can win any one-off match.

Valencia= They will beat Bremen in a fortnight to clinch their place in the knock out phase. Everybody talks about Barcelona, Madrid, Juventus etc but Valencia have the potential to be the best team in Europe once they are fully healthy. I know they haven't played consistently well this season, but that's only because they have had to play games without Ayala, Aimar, Vicente, Baraja, Marchena, Mista etc etc. The most injury-ravaged side on the planet, but once they have their full strength team they can hang with anybody .

Madrid= Well, well, well. Wether we will win it or not is an entirely different matter, but anybody willing to completely write off Casillas, Carlos, Walter Samuel, Beckham, Zidane, Solari, Owen, Figo, Raul, Ronaldo and Morientes please put your hands up.

Right, didn't think so.

Final 8: Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Bayern, Arsenal, Milan, Man Utd, Inter.

Winners: Unless Perez does the unthinkable and actually listens to the fans in January by bringing in Javier Mascherano....I think Valencia will win it. They are too complete (if you throw Ranieri out :D). Also, it wouldn't surprise me if Barcelona won it (the only worry I have for them in Europe is that they might be exhausted come April/May, considering their injuries are piling up). So to cut it short, Barca or Valencia. No more than two teams people!
 

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El Fenómeno. said:
Chelsea= Mourinho's men look very strong this season, but I can't help feeling that they've only managed to look so good because they have been facing mediocre teams both in the league and in Europe. They haven't played Arsenal or Man Utd in the league yet, and in the CL they have had the easiest group IMO. Still, they have a great squad and a cocky coach- who knows what they could do?
First match of the season , they beat Man Utd.
 

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ronnie#10 said:
First match of the season , they beat Man Utd.
thanks to JM's double standard tac tics.

I think Barcelona will be difficult to beat and it may be their year, however they may be more interested in winning the league this season.
 

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_Eight_Ball_ said:
thanks to JM's double standard tac tics.
:confused: Why "double standard" tactics? Could you expand on that, please? :p

_Eight_Ball_ said:
I think Barcelona will be difficult to beat and it may be their year, however they may be more interested in winning the league this season.
I suspect Barcelona's alarming streak of injury problems may cost them later in the season, when player fatigue becomes a factor. Too many important players are unavailable and that puts extra pressure on the first-team regulars. Rijkaard will have to rotate Barcelona's players carefully to navigate through the second half of the season.
 

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It's completely open this year with all the big boys all but qualifying for the 2nd round.I would have my favourites as Barca, Juve and Chelsea simply because they have shown the best form so far but then again you can never rule sides like Real, Milan, Inter, Valencia, Bayern or Man Utd out.

I'd also look to potential dark horses such as Lyon, Dynamo Kiev/ Bayer Leverkusen (depends on which one of the 2 goes through) and maybe possibly even Olympiakos if they make it through to cause an upset. These sides are very strong at home and if they can keep it tight in away games we could have another Porto situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ahh yes, Chelsea did indeed beat Manchester United on the opening day of the season. I was on holiday at the time, probably why I forgot. My apologies.
 

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I still think Dynamo Kiev have a chance stunning a few teams yet. Remember the game of football is very unpredictable any team in the knock-out stage can beat anyone, anytime. Juventus, Barca, Chelsea, AC Milan are also looking pretty good.
 

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It'll be Juventus, in my opinion. It'll be a miracle if we even make it to the Knockout Stages :eek:

Garrincha said:
:confused: Why "double standard" tactics? Could you expand on that, please? :p
Mourinho has a whinge whenever someone plays defensive tactics against him, and that's exactly what he did against United.
 

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AAB fan said:
Milan will win. Shevchenko will score 20 goals from the playoffs on.
Yea, and then aliens will attack the trophy ceremony , and spiderman will come save the world :eekani:
 

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Well this thread has been made before, But I'll say what I said after matchday1 in September.

Inter Chelsea or Juve. They are the top 3 for me
 

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Juventus
 

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Valencia= They will beat Bremen in a fortnight to clinch their place in the knock out phase. Everybody talks about Barcelona, Madrid, Juventus etc but Valencia have the potential to be the best team in Europe once they are fully healthy. I know they haven't played consistently well this season, but that's only because they have had to play games without Ayala, Aimar, Vicente, Baraja, Marchena, Mista etc etc. The most injury-ravaged side on the planet, but once they have their full strength team they can hang with anybody .
You're delusional, Bremen is going to atleast draw with Valencia
 

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To be honest, it's too early to tell.
How many of you would have predicted a porto-monaco final last season?
It's very easy to say barca or juve on current form, but strange things almost always happen in the champions league.
Let's wait till about the quater final stage to predict a winner
 
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