Cavani officially ruled out of first leg v. Man United

Leave a comment

Manchester United’s hopes of taking hold of their UEFA Champions League tie with Paris Saint-Germain became a little stronger on Monday afternoon.

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel confirmed at a pre-match press conference ahead of his side’s match in Manchester that Edinson Cavani will miss the first leg with a hip injury. That leaves Tuchel and PSG without two key attachers, as Cavani joins Neymar on the sidelines.

[READ: UEFA Champions League Last 16 Predictions]

Taking Cavani’s place up top will be the French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe, who of course is still a star and will cause a lot of problems for Manchester United’s defense. Mbappe has 18 goals in 17 Ligue 1 matches, as well as three Champions League finishes. However, just one of Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar is better than having to handle all three.

Cavani has 22 goals in all competitions this season, including a pair in the Champions League and 17 in 16 matches in Ligue 1, making this a big blow to Tuchel’s hopes on the road.

Manchester United enters the match with wins in 10 of its last 11 matches, which has vaulted the Red Devils back into the top four of the Premier League. With players getting fit and the team in great form, suddenly Man United is the in-form team and the one that seems more likely to win this tie than when the draw was announced.

UCL roundup: Ajax advances with goalless draw and more

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Although Ajax managed to make its way through to the UEFA Champions League group stage with relative ease, Tuesday’s two other fixtures had quite the drama to determine the other clubs that will join the Dutch side.

[ MORE: Lampard’s Derby County cruise, while Cardiff, Huddersfield eliminated ]

Ajax finished scoreless against Dynamo Kiev on the afternoon, after winning the first leg 3-1 in Amsterdam. The Dutch giants have reached the UCL knockout phase in each of the last eight seasons.

An early second-half penalty kick gave AEK Athens a lead over Vidi, and a 1-1 draw was good enough to see the Greek side through 3-2 on aggregate to the UCL group stage.

A late red card from Hélder Lopes made for a dangerous final 10 minutes for the hosts, but Athens managed to see out the result to progress in the competition.

Meanwhile, Young Boys received a stellar performance from Guillaume Hoarau in the second half of their match to top Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) in order to advance.

Zagreb led after just seven minutes when Izet Hajrovic broke the deadlock in front of the home supporters, however, the Croatian side couldn’t hold off their Swiss counterparts.

Tuesday’s UCL results

AEK Athens 1-1 (3-2 on agg.) Vidi
Dinamo Zagreb 1-2 (2-3 on agg.) Young Boys
Dynamo Kiev 0-0 (1-3 on agg.) Ajax

LIVE, UCL quarterfinals: Real Madrid v. Juventus, Bayern Munich v. Sevilla

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The quarterfinal round of the UEFA Champions League wraps up on Wednesday as Real Madrid look to finish off Juventus and Bayern Munich looks to do the same to Sevilla.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a Goal of the Year candidate in the first leg, perfectly connecting on an audacious bicycle kick to give Real Madrid its 3-0 advantage heading into the Bernabeu. Ronaldo starts again in the second leg while Gareth Bale comes off the bench to start up top with the Portuguese international.

Juventus meanwhile have a huge hole to dig out of and ultimately need a minimum of three goals and a clean sheet to force extra time. This could be the final Champions League game for Gianluigi Buffon, and what a place to make your final appearance.

Bayern meanwhile picked up a 2-1 win on the road at Sevilla, and could cruise into the semifinals with a goal at the Allianz Arena. Both Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery start, with younger players such as Corentin Tolisso available off the bench. Sevilla has a big job to do, and its fans will be hoping Wissam Ben Yedder can come up with another couple of big goals in Germany.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while the schedule and lineups for both games is below.

We will have analysis and reaction from both games right here on Pro Soccer Talk.

Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinals second leg

Real Madrid v. Juventus- 2:45 p.m. ET (3-1 aggregate)
Bayern Munich v. Sevilla- 2:45 p.m. ET (2-1 aggregate)

UCL Tuesday preview: Juventus hosts Real, Bayern travels to Sevilla

Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Eight teams remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League, as Europe’s elite club competition prepares to separate the serious contenders from those that simply won’t cut it.

[ MORE: Gareth Bale “unhappy” as Man United chases ]

The quarterfinals kick off on Tuesday with a pair of matches featuring top sides, including reigning holders Real Madrid and Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Real are riding tremendous form over the second half of the 2017/18 season, and will meet Serie A side Juventus.

Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid side has lost just once in its last 13 matches, and three times overall since the change of the calendar to 2018. In that span, Los Blancos have scored 58 goals across all competitions.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich — who has really found its form under manager Jupp Heynckes — prepares for an encounter with Spanish side Sevilla.

The Bundesliga club has followed in Real’s footsteps this season, having lost just once all in competitions since the start of December 2017. That includes this past weekend’s 6-0 thrashing of domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Bayern’s test against the La Liga outfit is difficult to assess though given Sevilla’s up-and-down form in 2017/18.

The club managed to dispose of Manchester United in the UCL Round of 16 and also reached the Copa del Rey final — which will be played against Barcelona. However, Vicenzo Montella’s men have fallen 30 points behind league leaders Barca and sit in sixth place with eight matches remaining.

Klinsmann: ‘I’m sure I’ll come back’ to coaching

Getty Images
1 Comment

Jurgen Klinsmann hinted that he could return to full-time coaching after the 2018 World Cup.

Klinsmann appears to be enjoying life as a full-time soccer dad after his dismissal from U.S. Soccer in November 2016, having taken home a portion of a $6.2 million buyout from U.S. Soccer for he and his staff. Speaking to Socrates Magazine in Germany, Klinsmann gave his thoughts on the Bundesliga, the German National Team, and whether he’d be back in the hot seat one day.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

“I’m sure I’ll come back,” Klinsmann said. “Right now I’m having a nice break, I enjoy it. I do not know when I’ll take on a coaching job again. I’m looking forward to the World Cup in Russia and then I’ll be back in action.”

Klinsmann has been linked with a number of jobs over the past few years, even before he was fired as U.S. Men’s National Team coach, including with Everton, Sunderland, and Club Tijuana in Liga MX. But instead, Klinsmann has remained in the stands, cheering on his son Jonathan at the 2017 Under-20 World Cup along with the rest of the U.S. parents in their section.

Following the disastrous start of World Cup qualifying and the fact that Klinsmann never took the U.S. to the level he promised, it is hard to see where he will go next, unless it’s a lower level, with lower expectations. Based on his work with the USMNT and Bayern Munich, he has shown that he struggles tactically and is mainly a man-motivator, which is just one part of the coaching package.

The 53-year-old former German coach and player also had a bit of a warning to the Bundesliga, after a particularly tough season in Europe. Three Bundesliga teams (Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig) made the UEFA Champions League, but both Dortmund and Leipzig finished third in their groups, dropping down to the Europa League. FC Koln, Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin all failed to advance to the knockout stages in the Europa League as well.

“The recent development at the European level is not a good sign, it is important that everyone is aware that success is lacking,” Klinsmann said. “Recently, you have lost too much ground.

“It’s a very critical moment. There is a certain amount of satisfaction after winning the World Cup in Brazil and the Bundesliga clubs having done very well in the Champions League.”