UEFA Champions League 2011 Semi Finals
There are two major contests scheduled in the UEFA Championships semi-finals. One is set for today, April 26 – FC Schalke 04 VS Manchester United – and another tomorrow, April 27 – Real Madrid VS FC Barcelona. With two extremely important match-ups, not to mention radiant enmity, it seems like an optimum time to discuss their current situations and betting picks.
FC Schalke 04 vs. FC Manchester United
As we look toward the semi-final match-up between FC Schalke 04 and Manchester United later this evening, it’s not so easy to say who will come out on top of this one. Although Manchester is the easy favorite and is fully confident in an upcoming victory, Schalke 04 just may have enough up their sleeves to pull this one out.
We all know the history on FC Manchester United. The team has championship leagues and cups coming out the you-know-what; 18 league titles, a record setting 11 FA cups and 4 league cups, to be precise. They are, without a doubt, the favorites in tonight’s match-up. But does that mean they are destined to grasp a League Championship berth yet again?
If the FC Schalke 04 has anything to say about it, most certainly not. In fact, they may be the most underrated team in the competition right now. If you take a look at the stats for a moment, you’ll see that Schalke 04 is undefeated at home in the tournament. The team’s most recent achievement was sending Inter Milan, the defending champions, back to Italy after a monstrous 5-2 victory.
One devastating factor that could be working against Schalke 04 tonight, however, is the probable loss of central defender Benedikt Hoewedes. He has clearly been a dominant asset to the team and its undefeated-at-home season, but an abdominal strain in Saturday’s match with Kaiserslautern may keep him off of the semi-final field. Coach Ralf Rangnick stated that the team won’t know for sure whether Hoewedes can play until the day of the match, and we have yet to hear anything definitive.
As determined and deserving as Schalke may seem going into today’s contest, I still have to lean towards the domineering sportsmanship of Manchester to take the win.
Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona
Tomorrow’s highly anticipated semi-final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona should be a fantastic face-off. Barcelona has seen a lot of success in recent and is currently the second most decorated Spanish club in the history of the sports. Then again, Madrid was honored by FIFA as the “most successful football club of the 20th century”.
Both teams load the field with an impressive line-up of players, from Madrid’s highest all-time goal scorer Raúl González, to Barcelona’s powerful duo of team captain Carles Puyol and DF Gerard Piqué. Overall, Barcelona actually employs 8 of the top 100 UEFA players of 2010.
Real Madrid takes an advantage in staff with the presence of administrator Jose Mourinho, who’s inspired tactics have led to abundant triumphs, with or without the presence of a star line-up. Being privy to what has been termed the categorically best goalkeeper at present in Iker Cassilas, Madrid is not acquiescing to give up very many goals.
Despite the incredible prowess of Barcelona’s team, they have struggled time and again actually pulling off the most necessary of victories. In the end, my prediction is easy enough to draw. Barcelona will fall to the dominant Spaniards as Madrid moves on to compete in another well-deserved UEFA League Championship.