Thursday, 28 November 2013

Champions League Matchday 5 - Bundesliga clubs, two wins, one draw and on trouncing

Bundesliga clubs matched their trade with clubs from Italy, Russia, England and Romania during matchday 5 of the group stage.  FC Bayern recorded its tenth consecutive Champions League win in Moscow, establishing a new record.  Schalke managed a meagre 2-2 against Steaua Bucharest, while Dortmund won 3-1 against Napoli.  Leverkusen's performance against Manchester United was disappointing as the second place club in the Bundesliga received a convincing 5-0 trouncing at home.

Bayer Leverkusen's loss can be considered a valuable lesson for the factory club.  This was the highest home defeat for Leverkusen and the side no longer has it within its own power to reach the knock out phase.  Manchester United has qualified for the knockout phase and a win in Donetsk will help Leverkusen, but with an overwhelming result for Moyer and Rooney side.

Leverkusen had difficulty finding its feet in the match, with a number of failed passes and were punished in the 22nd minute with Antonio Falencia's goal.  Emir Saphic scored an own goal eight minutes later.  In the 66th minute Johnny Evans made it three, and then the wheels fell off completely.  Chris Smalling (77th) and Wayne Rooney (88th) made the lesson complete with a final score of 5-0.  Rudi Voeller, Leverkusen's Sports Director, said after the game: "I don't have words for what happened here tonight.  We have to rebuilt this teams self-esteem. We never counted on a loss like this, but we still have a chance," while he directed his view on the upcoming match in San Sebastian.  This is without doubt a dark moment in Leverkusen's history.

Snow and wind plagued Schalke in Bucharest.  Without their offensive star Kevin Prince Boateng the side managed a  meager scoreless draw against the Romanians.  In order to advance Schalke needs a victory in their final test with Basel.

65,000 fans were delighted by Dortmund's win over Napoli. The Borussen, which last weekend dropped into third spot in the Bunesliga, appeared to have bounced back and the club gave one of its better performances.  Marco Reus opened the scoring in the tenth minute off a penalty kick, with Jakub Blaszczykowski doubling in the 60th, while Lorenzo got Napoli back in the match in the 71st minute, but the recently substituted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the victory in the 78th  minute.  Dortmund's next opponent is Marseille, a team, which has disappointed and has no points.  Arsenal plays Naples on matchday 6.  Nothing has been decided in this group of death.  It should be an exciting matchday.

Last but not least was FC Bayern Munich's game against CSKA Moscow.  The Bayern had to play without their Captain Phillip Lahm early on in the match, who had to be substituted due to an upper thigh injury.  Arjen Robben gave the lead to Bayern with a superb combination via Mueller and Toni Kroos.  Mario Goetze in solo attempt, where he went past three defenders scored the second in the 56th minute, before Honda narrowed the gap in the 62nd minute with a penalty kick.  Thomas Mueller closed the deal with his goal in the 65th minute.  This was Bayern's tenth consecutive Champions League victory and they host EPL club Manchester City on December 10th.

While Bayern's qualification for the knock out phase is confirmed, the remaining three Bundesliga clubs have to wait for matchday six results.  Dortmund has the best probability of advancing, but it boils down to the Arsenal vs Napoli match.  For Leverkusen and Schalke it may become a difficult task.  There is little doubt that Leverkusen will do some soul searching after their dismal performance against Manchester United.

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