Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Round of 32 - Second Leg Preview

Although most eyes will be fixed on the Aberdeen-Bayern Munich match, there are still fifteen other matches to salivate over.

Okay, more like ten that should be actual contests. Here’s how I see them breaking down:

(Home team listed first)

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Galatasaray
Galatasaray won a moral victory in the first leg by drawing 0-0, but Leverkusen have yet to lose at home during this competition. And there’s no way the Conqueror of Europe (that’s Galatasaray’s actual nickname!) will change that.

Hamburg vs., Zürich
Scoring 3 away goals? Congrats Hamburg, your ticket is punched. And I’m rooting for ya.

Spartak Moscow vs. Marseille
See above. Except for the rooting part.

Panathinaikos vs. Rangers
Common wisdom says Rangers should win this, but expect Panathinaikos to advance. With the exception of a 2-1 loss at Atlético, the Green’s have been unstoppable. And how ironic would it be for the Rangers to lose to another green club.

Bayern Munich vs. Aberdeen
Bayern have the edge in this tie as they scored two goals while at the Don’s turf. Aberdeen needs to grind out a 1-0 victory, or they’re going home without an invitation to the next round. It’s that simple.

AEK Athens vs. Getafe
AEK barely qualified for this stage – and drew the last match at the death – whereas Getafe won their difficult group. Getafe will take their away-goal advantage and romp the Enosis (Union). (On a side note, do some research about AEK – their formation is truly incredible)

Sporting Lisbon vs. Basel
I’m not going to act like I know anything about either club, so lets move on…

Atlético Madrid vs. Bolton
I don’t understand Bolton, I really don’t. Gary Megson is a mediocre manager, but the club is still winning games in the UEFA Cup and grinding out points in the BPL. Atlético: please ROMP the Trotters’ so they’ll go into a tailspin and help Fulham out of the relegation zone. It’s all I ask.

Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Villarreal
Zenit was the only ‘cold weather’ club to win in the last round, but Villarreal have an amazing home European record. Expect the Yellow Submarine to advance.

Anderlecht vs. Bordeaux
City’s Emile Mpzena’s brother Mbo (what a name!) won this come-from-behind victory at the death for Gooch’s club. But Bordeaux left with one away-goal, so expect a boring 1-0 win by the French side.

Helsingborg vs. PSV Eindhoven
PSV won 2-0 at home so unless the Swedish side can muster up a rout, PSV advances.

Fiorentina vs. Rosenborg
A Serie A club at home? I’m sure the results are posted on the Internet somewhere…

Nuremberg vs. Benfica
Anytime a club wins 1-0 at home, the return leg is usually a doozy. Expect the same with this. (Although I really hope Adu appears for more than five minutes in this one).

Already Advanced: Everton, Tottenham, Werder Bremen