Following the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal draw, one tie stuck out head and shoulders above the rest: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich.
With the Red Devils stuttering through the current Premier League campaign, but somehow finding themselves in the last eight of Europe, they now facing the reigning European champions Bayern to make the semis. David Moyes’ men have arguably been handed the toughest draw, but will be relishing the chance to knock Bayern off their perch as European champions elect.
Munich have been in ominous form throughout the 2013-14 season, with Pep Guardiola demolishing the old playing style which saw them win the treble last season… and somehow making the Bavarian club even better.
On their day, United can beat anyone. With supreme individual talents like Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, Bayern won’t be relishing a trip to Old Trafford in the first leg. But surely United would have preferred to play away at the Allianz Arena first, then bring the Germans back to Manchester for a showdown.
These two teams have squared off nine times in Champions League history, United winning just twice, drawing four times and losing on three occasions. One of those victories came in the UCL final in 1999 when United famously scored twice in the final minute to break Bayern’s hearts and win the title.
Can they break Bayern’s hearts again this season? Vote below to let us know, as United are the heavy under dogs vs. Bayern.
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Mexican sides UANL Tigres and Pachuca are quarterfinalists, while Panamanian side Arabe Unido and Costa Rican stalwarts Saprissa advanced as well.
The field’s eighth team will be set after the 10 p.m. ET matchup between Honduras Progreso and Mexico’s UNAM.
The Whitecaps are the No. 1 seed, and could well match-up with the Red Bulls if there is a winner between UNAM and Honduras Progreso. If Honduras Progreso advances via draw, the Hondurans will be the No. 8 seed.
NEW YORK (AP) A Florida businessman pleaded guilty in New York to conspiracy charges Thursday in a scheme to pay bribes to high-ranking soccer officials in exchange for media and marketing rights to international soccer tournaments and matches.
Aaron Davidson, 45, entered the plea in Brooklyn federal court. Sentencing before U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen was set for April 24, when Davidson could face decades in prison. As part of his plea, he agreed to forfeit more than a half-million dollars.
Davidson was arrested last year in the FIFA probe after prosecutors said soccer officials accepted $150 million in bribes over a 24-year period in exchange for rigging bids for lucrative marketing rights. Davidson ran a Miami-based marketing firm. He was arrested along with more than a dozen other people in a case prosecuted in the United States on the grounds that illegal payments used U.S. banks and those involved conducted meetings in the United States.
Prosecutors said Davidson negotiated and agreed to make bribe payments totaling more than $14 million, executing multiple criminal schemes including the agreement to pay bribes to a high-ranking official of FIFA, CONCACAF, the Caribbean Football Union and one of FIFA’s national member associations.
“To go from Portugal to Azerbaijan for example is almost the same or the same as if you go to New York. For the fans it’s no problem but we should see. It’s a European competition so let’s think about it.”
Given the preseason matches played in the United States, China, and Australia, it makes sense to stage an important UEFA match outside Europe. Those first two countries especially aim to become power players in the game, and certainly it would benefit UEFA to showcase its absolute finest (if only as a reminder).
We don’t get to see entire first teams playing the game in earnest when friendlies hit U.S. soil, and the successful Copa America showed UEFA that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF trust the States with critical matches.
Selfishly, of course we want this. And selfishly, of course Europe wants to keep it. Their fans wouldn’t necessarily want to take an incredibly expensive trip to see a UCL final.