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Three things that have caught our eye about the Champions League this week

17 Feb | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Three things that have caught our eye about the Champions League this week

Three things that caught our eye about the Champions League this week

1) Football can be an oasis

It is easy in the glamourized and glossy era of modern football to overlook a great deal of troubles in the world.

Tonight’s fixture brings it into sharp contrast, as Bayern Munich travel not to the Donbass Arena, but to the Arena Lviv to face Shakhtar Donetsk.

Their home stadium has been damaged by shelling and kept 600 miles out of reach by the ongoing struggles between Ukraine and Russia, and no-one at the club knows when they will be able to go back.

“It’s our fans, it’s our city,” said Shakhtar captain Darijo Srna. His team will be playing their hearts out for the three points, but it is hard to ignore that they would give them up to be able to go home again.

The Champions League proves not only a spotlight, but a welcome distraction from their situation.

2) Ego or Id-iot?

José Mourinho loves nothing more than to wind people up. Dubbed ‘mind games’; whether it be opposition managers, players or the media, he is at his best when he has something to fight against.

This time, he has inflamed the French media ahead of Chelsea’s clash against PSG tonight by suggesting to reporters that he was in line to be the manager of the Parisian champions while at Real Madrid.

Simply commenting on history seems perfectly valid, but his veiled hints that the PSG team might be playing better and leading the Ligue 1 table if he had become manager has ruffled a few feathers.

France Football, one of the most respected sporting publications in the country, put Mourinho’s picture on the front page, labelled ‘L’Emmerdeur’. In colloquial terms, it means ‘the sh*t-stirrer’.

Somewhere, the Portuguese Machiavelli is sure to be chuckling to himself. Will it distract PSG or spur them on? We’ll have to wait and see. Oooh la la.

3) Will the Real Madrid please stand up?

It is not a crisis by any means, but those who regularly support Los Blancos have been vocal recently in their criticism of the team. The 2-0 win at the weekend over Deportivo was the lowest margin of victory that Carlo Ancelotti’s team have recorded at home since the opening day of the season.

The prodigal front line of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema have been stuttering ever since their 4-0 loss to Atlético in the derby. Ronaldo, in particular, has not scored in three consecutive games, which for the three-time Ballon D’or winner is unimaginable.

Can Real also use the Champions League as a tonic and prove themselves a gear above Schalke? If not, the boo boys will be out in force and the simmering pressure will follow them all the way back to the Bernabéu.