Champions League Matchday Five Thread

Matchday Five next week (27th/28th November). Fixtures are:

Tuesday, 27 November 2007
CSKA Moscow v PSV, G, 17:30
Dynamo Kiev v Roma, F, 19:45
Inter Milan v Fenerbahce, G, 19:45
Lyon v Barcelona, E, 19:45
Man Utd v Sporting, F, 19:45
Sevilla v Arsenal, H, 19:45
Steaua Bucharest v Slavia Prague, H, 19:45
VfB Stuttgart v Rangers, E, 19:45

Wednesday, 28 November 2007
Benfica v AC Milan, D, 19:45
Besiktas v Marseille, A, 19:45
Celtic v Shakhtar Donetsk, D, 19:45
Lazio v Olympiakos, C, 19:45
Liverpool v FC Porto, A, 19:45
Rosenborg v Chelsea, B, 19:45
Valencia v Schalke 04, B, 19:45
Werder Bremen v Real Madrid, C, 19:45

Plenty of big games as the groups start getting interesting.

GROUP A: A point for Porto at Liverpool would see them qualified. That result would see Liverpool exit if Marseille win in Turkey. A win for Liverpool and Marseille means Liverpool would have to win away in France in the last game, assuming Porto beat Besiktas.

GROUP B: If Chelsea win in Norway they go through. Valencia host Schalke in an elimination battle to see if either of them can catch Rosenborg.

GROUP C: Madrid look home and dry and a point in Bremen would see them all but qualified. Lazio host Olympiakos and while a no score draw for the right wing pricks would see them hold onto second place above Olympiakos, Lazio are off to Madrid for the last round of games while Olympiakos host Bremen. So Lazio will be needing a win really.

GROUP D: If Celtic win by three goals they qualify. If they win by two goals and don’t concede then they look like qualifying due to superior goal difference. A win by any other scoreline and Celtic would need to match Shakhtar’s last result (with Celtic in Milan and the Ukrainians at home to Benfica). That is unless Celtic win and Milan lose in Lisbon in which case a draw in Milan would see Celtic qualify at the expense of the Italians.

Not sure if all those permutations are correct but that’s my reading of the first four groups.

Oh and in team news it looks like Vennegoor of Hesselink is out for Celtic with a hamstring injury he picked up yesterday.

Just condensing two threads after rocko (sloppily) set up another CL Matchday 5 one subsequent to mine.

It’s been reported in the Scottish press this morning that Hesselink is hamstrung again and is a doubt for next week. This is becoming a vicious circle - he comes back from injury, looks a little sluggish, picks up match fitness, starts to look the part and then does his hamstring again. We should be looking to sign a striker in January as we’re short in this position anyway.

Going to the dead rubber match that is Lisbon at home. Hopefully United will put a full team,win the match thus winning the group and Roma away can be used as a Carling cup calibre team being put out seeing as a trip to Anfield follows this match a few days later.

I have been informed that RTE’s live games next week are :

Tuesday : Lyon vs Barcelona

Wednesday : Liverpool vs Porto

Lyon v Barcelona isn’t a terrible choice but Barca are home and dry. They’re just committed to showing household names to bring in the viewers.

Not surprised at Liverpool v Porto.

Based on Stephen Alkin’s comments on ratings for the games it’s no surprise that Liverpool are being shown and in this case they’re out if they don’t get a result so it’s a big game. What I don’t understand is why they can’t show the Milan-Celtic game on 4th December seeing as our group finishes a week ahead of the 5 others due to Milan’s world club championship commitments. It appears their contract only allows them to show 2 live games over each ‘matchday’ and generally they show Manchester United on one night and Liverpool (over Celtic ) on the other.

In this instance Manchester United are already through and given we’re playing a week earlier we’re not competing on the same night as Liverpool, whose group looks like going down to the last game too. The logical thing to do (even if they can only show two games from the last round of games) would be to broadcast the Celtic and Liverpool games but it appears they don’t have any intention of doing so.

I don’t think they can show Liverpool and Celtic in any set of circumstances. Celtic and Liverpool are in the same contractual pot for tv rights purposes and RT need to make their first pick between Celtic and Liverpool. If they chose Liverpool and Setanta went for Benfica or something then they could show Celtic but as far as I know despite the dates they can’t show both Celtic and Liverpool.

That point about Celtic and Liverpool being in the same contractual pot is probably the factor preventing them from showing both teams’ games alright, even though they’re taking place a week apart. RT have first game choice and they’ve chosen Liverpool. I assume Setanta then took Celtic as second choice so that’s why Alkin mentioned they’re busy trying to secure extended highlights of the Celtic game that night. In fairness it would look pretty crass were Celtic to have a decisive game in Milan, against the defending champions, and RT had no coverage of it at all that night.

I think Alkin’s trying to get credit for showing highlights though when they surely have those rights already. They’re not showing the match live so their contract should allow them to show extended highlights later anyway. He’s acting like he’s negotiating with UEFA but these things are sold in huge contracts years in advance. No reason why RT can’t show the highlights, they just want people to think they’re doing their utmost to show the game which they’re not.

Couldn’t give a shit really and Alkin lost all credibility when he lied about the Spartak Moscow home leg. He cited Celtic as the reason, then changed his mind and said he didn’t know the reason (highly unlikely) but said the reason didn’t matter.

You’re correct about all the different strands of coverage be they highlights, live games or whatever being decided well in advance so by extension Alkin is indeed talking balls. It appears he’s trying to placate Celtic supporters by informing them upfront the game won’t be shown live and also dampening expectations further by claiming that highlights aren’t even guaranteed. Then he’ll proudly announce he’s managed against all the odds to somehow wrangle highlights out of those terrible UEFA suits and will expect to be given credit for it. Alkin, if you’re reading this - we’ve got you sussed out well and proper son.

As for the permutations; Celtic aren’t necessarily through if they win 3-0 next week. If Benfica beat Milan then they’re still in the shake-up, unlikely though that may be. However, if Milan get any result in Lisbon and Celtic win by 3-0 then we’re through. Expecting a 3-0 victory considering how strong Shakhtar were in the game over there would appear to be a bit ridiculous. However, the double defeat to Milan seems to have rocked them a bit and they lost in the league before the international break to a team in 12th position.

Every time Celtic play at home in Europe I brace myself for the possibility of the great home record finally coming to an abrupt halt but at the same time I give us an outstanding chance of securing qualification on the night if they’re not fully braced for the hostile atmosphere they’re going to experience.

My thoughts exactly Bandage. Alkin’s trying to pull the wool over our eyes but we know his game by now.

No way in the world Shakhtar can be taken lightly and they proved out there that they are a class side. I’m extremely apprehensive about our home record letting us down (as it has to at some stage) and there can be no foregone conclusions at all. They’re well capable of getting points in Glasgow on their night so it will take a monumental effort to win by any scoreline.

Need to play with pace and accuracy from the very start.

I’m still predicting 4-0 to Celtic by the way. Bring that scoreline back to the Soviet Union or wherever you’re from you fooks.

From the Evening Times in Glasgow:

Naka in new crock shock

Nakamura may now have nerve damage

by Ronnie Cully

SHUNSUKE NAKAMURA is a major doubt for Celtic’s remaining two Champions League games.

The Japanese playmaker is currently walking with the aid of two crutches and has a brace on the left knee which has plagued him all season.

Originally the problem was diagnosed as an injury to the ligament on the outside of his knee, the result of a heavy challenge during the Champions League qualifier against Spartak Moscow in August.

Now, after another MRI scan on Monday, Nakamura fears he may have suffered damage to the nerve next to the ligament.

And he could miss the games with Shakhtar Donetsk a week today and against AC Milan in Italy on December 4.

The dejected player said: “I have been told by the doctors to rest as much as possible as that will help me to recover completely from this injury.”

Nakamura admits he does not know how many more games he must miss. But it is a huge blow to the player and to Celtic.

They return to action against Aberdeen on Saturday, then face Shakhtar on Wednesday in a game they must win to have any chance of qualifying for the last 16.

The following week they travel to Hearts, and three days later take on Milan in the San Siro.

The injury has already forced Naka to miss the games against Benfica, along with a handful of domestic games. He last played in the SPL win over Motherwell on October 27. Since then he has been resting the knee, but continuing to work on his upper body.

With concern Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink is struggling with a recurrence of the hamstring tear which kept him out of five games in October, the news Naka is to be out will test Gordon Strachan’s squad even further.

But the manager has been heartened by the return of striker Maciej Zurawski who last weekend led Poland to Euro 2008. Strachan still faces an anxious wait until Zurawski and Artur Boruc return, as Poland play in Serbia tonight.

Evander Sno has also been getting a much-needed run with Holland’s Under-21 side.

But the 20-year-old midfielder’s agent, Chiel Dekker, believes it would be best for the Dutchman to go on loan if first-team chances continue to be scarce.

Dekker said: "I’ve asked Celtic to clarify Evander’s situation and we’re waiting .

“Evander’s preference would be to stay at Celtic but, at this stage, the most important thing is getting games.”

Meanwhile, Shaun Maloney’s agent, John Halliwell, has challenged Celtic to put in a firm offer if they want to bring the youngster back from Aston Villa in the next transfer window.

I see that story about Vennegoor of Hesslink wasn’t true at all. He’s fit and in training and in the squad for tomorrow.

I’m still of the opinion that Hesselink is rubbish.

And yet both of ye play about one match in ten. He has Farmer’s build with your tolerance of injuries which isn’t a great mix now that I think about it.

I think he’s good when he’s fully fit but he’s never fully fit. That being the case we need to sign another frontline striker. He may not have been injured this time but rocko I bet you 5 Queen’s Pounds that he’ll miss a game before Christmas with some type of muscle strain.

therock67 wrote:

And yet both of ye play about one match in ten.

Yeah but I’m sheer class when I play.

Shakhtar drew 1-1 at home to the bottom side yesterday. I’m not sure if they rested players ahead of the Celtic game as I’m not fluent in Ukranian but their poor form is clear ahead of Wednesday night.

Milan came from behind to win 2-1 at Cagliari today - Gilardino and Pirlo with second half goals.

Shakhtar team was:

  1. Pyatov  	
  2. Gai 	
  3. Chygrynskyy
  4. Kucher
  5. Rat 	
  6. Fernandinho
  7. Lewandowski 	
  8. Willian 	
  9. Jadson
  10. Castillo
  11. Lucarelli 

Looks fairly first choice. Bench was:

  1. Virt  	
  2. Yezerskyy 	
  3. Vukic 	
  4. Gladkyy 
  5. Adriano 	
  6. Byelik 
  7. Srna

Not surprised Srna didn’t start because he ran miles on Wednesday night.