Our European guru educates and enlightens
Roll up! Roll up! it’s the pub quiz, triviatastic guide to the last 16 of the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League. Which is the only team Lionel Messi has scored against in the knockout stages?Celtic, in the last 16 in 2007/08. Since 2004/05, Messi has featured in eight knockout games but has scored just twice – both goals coming against Celtic when Barca won 3-2 win Glasgow.When the UEFA Champions League nears the business end, even great strikers struggle to do the business.Zlatan Ibrahimovic is yet to get off the mark in the knockout stages, a duck he would love to break against Manchester United. In four Champions League seasons with Chelsea, Didier Drogba’s knockout haul stands at just five goals.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike rate – six in 12 knockout games, including the header in the 2008 final – looks prolific in comparison.
Messi bags only knockout stage goal to date at Parkhead
What was so significant about the 2003/04 quarter-final between Deportivo and Milan?Because Milan were the last reigning champions to make it as far as the last eight. In the last four years, the holders have always been knocked out in the last 16. Who was the last non-English team to eliminate a Premier League side in the Champions League?Milan, when they beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Athens final. In 2007/08, Arsenal were eliminated by Liverpool who lost to Chelsea who lost to United. Will Premier League sides be as dominant in the closing stages this year? Which striker is in the best Champions League form?Statistically, it has to be Karim Benzema whose strike rate – 12 goals in 17 games in the competition – shows why Lyon are so desperate to hold on to him. And the frightening thing is that the 21-year-old knows he can be even better if he can work on his physical stamina.
You can understand Real’s obsession with Cristiano Ronaldo - he is the very definition of a ’galactico’ – but Benzema might represent better value for money. Lionel Messi’s not in bad form either: he has scored a goal every 63 minutes he’s been on the pitch in the tournament this season.
And – free plug alert – he’s on the cover of the next Champions talking about Ronaldinho, Guardiola and what really goes in the Barcelona dressing room.
Inzaghi double beats Liverpool in 2007 Athens final
What do Frank Lampard and Karim Benzema have in common?They are the only players to score against Manchester United in the 2007/08 knockout stages. For a club with a reputation for attacking football, United have turned into right misers in Europe. This season, United – and Juventus – have had the tightest defences, both shipping just three goals in the group stages.How many coaches have won the European Cup with two different clubs?Just two: Ernst Happel with Feyenoord in 1970 and Hamburg in 1983, and Ottmar Hitzfeld with Borussia Dortmund in 1997 and Bayern in 2001. So if Mourinho could win it with Inter, he would join a very select group. What record is up for grabs in the San Siro?United have now gone 19 Champions League games without defeat. That equals the record runs of Ajax (between September 14 1994 and April 3 1996) and Bayern (March 14 2001 to April 10 2002). So just a draw in Milan will earn this United team another place in the record books.
United aiming to break record in same stadium where they last lost
Which is the only city to have won the European Cup with two different clubs?Milan. Inter (winners in 1964 and 1965) have a chance to catch up on the Rossoneri (winners in 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003 and 2007), who are in the UEFA Cup.
Atleti, slight favourites in their tie against Porto, could change that stat. If they win, Madrid will have two winning clubs and have won 10 European Cups to Milan’s nine. This isn’t the outcome that Real fans dream of when they talk of “la decima.” Atleti are one of eight teams who could do something no side has done since Borussia Dortmund in 1997: win the trophy for the first time.
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