Monday, December 22, 2008

German teams in European competition - prediction

Last time I have analyzed the performance of the German teams in Europe. After the Champions League and UEFA Cup draw last Friday, it is a mixed emotions for the German fans. Now I will predict their future in the competitions ahead:

Bayern München (Champions League - Round of 16 vs Sporting Lisbon): Well, Bayern fans can't ask more than that. On paper this is probably the easiest matchup to Bayern as they are superior on match experience and the attacks. Franck Ribery, Luca Toni, and Miroslav Klose will be the driving force that lead Bayern to progress through to Quarter Final. The defense on the other hand, is very solid in European competition so I am not too worried about the defense. Sporting Lisbon on the other side, they are very good at team work so they will work together to stop Bayern. Also, their pressure is off against Bayern as they are the underdogs and fans supposed them to be beaten. So it may bring so surprise to Bayern. The key is Bayern's attacks and then must be careful.

Werder Bremen (UEFA Cup - Round of 32 vs AC Milan): If you believe in God, you can say this is the punishment from God for their poor performance in Champions League. As I mentioned previously, their fragile defense lead them fail to qualify to Round of 16 in Champions League. If that performance goes on next year, Werder Bremen simply will not have a chance to beat AC Milan. Ronaldinho, Kaka, and Shevchenko are too good for Werder Bremen to stop. The only advantage for Werder Bremen is they do not have any pressure so they may come up some miracle if they release their pressure to play. However, I believe Werder Bremen just want to avoid the humiliation as AC Milan are too good.

Hamburger SV (UEFA Cup - Round of 32 vs NEC): This is a good draw for Hamburger. On paper they are better than NEC a lot as the attacks from Hamburger is one of the best teams in the competition. Piotr Trochowski is the key member to lead the team to success. However, as the Bundesliga is becoming in tense, they may be affected as their fitness may be dropping. So NEC will have chance to bring surprise to the fans. So, I believe Hamburger must be careful and hold the possession well in order to progress through.

VfL Wolfsburg (UEFA Cup - Round of 32 vs Paris St-Germain): Very very even match. Wolfsburg is very good at the competition. The attacks is very good that even AC Milan are pretty hard to stop them. So I believe they can carry through to this matchup. Grafite, Misimovic, and Dzeko will be the players who control the fate of Wolfsburg. On the other hand, PSG is not too bad in French league. Mateja Kezman definitely helps the team in the attacking force, even he does not gain too many chances to play for them. Do not underestimate Kezman's ability as his finishing is very good. So the key for Wolfsburg is stopping the attacks from PSG then they have chance to win.

VfB Stuttgart (UEFA Cup - Round of 32 vs Zenit St. Petersburg): A bad draw for Stuttgart. Defending champion Zenit even is declining, both in league and the European competition, I do believe they are still one of the hot favorites to win this competition. The home court performance is scary to the German teams, even Bayern München had lost 4-0 last season at St. Petersburg. They key for Stuttgart is if Markus Babbel can boost up the team to hold on at the first away leg. If they can hold on to have narrow loss with away goal, then Stuttgart are most probable to beat the defending champion.

So this is my first rough prediction of the German teams in European competition. As Janurary transfer is around the corner, the team strength may change. I will keep an eye on it and I will analysis the German winter transfer market later.

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