Breaking News: Zinedine Zidane is pulling a Jupp Heynckes and coming out of retirement (of sorts) to return to European powerhouse Real Madrid where he won multiple Champions League titles with during the past few years.
Following the embarrassing Champions League series loss against Ajax just last week–highlighted by the 4-1 loss at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium by the team from Amsterdam–coupled with less-than-stellar performances in La Liga this season, Real Madrid has been in veritable crisis mode. It’s the reality of incredibly high expectations for a club that’s been the king of the Champions League with Mr. Zidane as their manager.
And now Real Madrid’s real leader has returned. Of course, winning the Champions League is not an option in 2019. Catching Barcelona, a team that’s 12-points ahead of Real Madrid, for the La Liga title also seems unlikely in 2019. So what’s left?
Mr. Zidane must right the ship immediately by basically winning out the remainder of the 2018/2019 schedule with style and renewed energy while searching for his new Cristiano Ronaldo. Real Madrid will be looking to throw insane amounts of money for its next world-class x-factor. And finding this player where “x marks the spot” will be Mr. Zidane’s greatest challenge.
Oddly enough for Real Madrid, that spot marked by x (well, actually three x’s) may very well be located in Amsterdam. Just ask Barcelona.
Have a Better Week Than Last Week.
P.S. I have to say that I called Ajax upsetting Real Madrid in their Champions League series. However, I definitely did not foresee the blowout win that transpired. That was shocking. Who saw that coming? In Madrid no less! Now hopefully Bayern Munich can pull off a similar upset against Liverpool this Wednesday at the Allianz Arena.
Two European and global footballing giants will battle tomorrow night (2:45 p.m. ET in the U.S.) in Germany:
Bayern Munich and Real Madrid.
In last year’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal brace, Real Madrid toppled then Pep Guardiola’s final squad in Munich 2-1 and then 4-2. Cristiano Ronaldo & Co.—coached by former star player and current star manager Zinedine Zidane—took down the German leaders with an exclamation point on their way to their second Champions League crown in a row.
But now it’s 2018.
And the Bayern Munich treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes is on the sidelines once more. Since returning last fall, Mr. Heynckes has reinvigorated Bayern Munich into a formidable force after a disastrous spell with Carlo Ancelotti. Perhaps he can guide the Bundesliga champions to another treble? That’s what he was hired to do, after all. He didn’t leave retirement for a place in the Champions League semifinals.
This highly-anticipated matchup is set for tomorrow, which promises to be a showcase of world-class talent on both sides of the pitch.
Real Madrid is pursuing a new Champions League treble of sorts, while Bayern Munich is looking to return to their past treble-winning way.
Men, suits and ceremonial procedures.
That’s right, Europe’s footballing boardroom views the world’s most popular sport, played outside on grass, as a business. And the sport’s most important trophy for club teams was officially handed-over to its newest host city for the title game: Milan. The four teams that qualified for the Champions League semi-final learned their fate with their next opponent via a lottery drawing today.
Manchester City is the underdog in this high-stakes semi-final, despite its brand awareness. However, don’t completely count out the lone British club. Anything can happen in this sport, especially in the Champions League in the year 2016/two days ago.
(Cough-cough Atlético Madrid beating Barcelona)
Four teams have the chance to earn something supremely life-changing:
Victory gelato in Milan!
Plus, that pretty cool, legacy-defining Champions League trophy.
What’s Cinderella in German?
Maybe it’s VfL Wolfsburg.
(The literal answer is Aschenputtel, as an FYI).
The reason for comparing the club that’s currently sitting quietly at 8th in the Bundesliga standings with the honor of the college basketball darling this time of year is based on the aforementioned team’s shocking performance against one of the top clubs (and brands) in the world. For context, VfL Wolfsburg’s opponent in the first leg of its Champions League quarterfinal match was Real Madrid. For greater context, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Nou Camp this past Saturday in El Clásico.
The game today was a classic, but not for the Spaniards…
(Click Play, then “Watch this video on YouTube” and Return to Read the Rest of the Blog!)
2-nil is the worst lead in soccer, so when Real Madrid cannot even get one goal back against an admittedly lesser opponent, that’s a seismic statement and final result for the determined German club. VfL Wolfsburg not only held its own in front of their fans in the Volkswagen Arena, but the VW-branded team surprised the Spanish giants by playing in and excelling in 4th and 5th gears to open their quarterfinal home-and-away series in the 2016 Champions League.
Next Tuesday, in the return leg in Madrid, the world will discover if they need to learn more about what VfL Wolfsburg is and why Volkswagen’s comeback may not involve cars.