Return of the Champions League: Leverkusen – Barcelona First Leg Liveblog

Xavi has been left out with calf problems, but Busquets is given the green light. Pique is left out entirely, whether that is due to his recent poor form, the car accident he was involved in two days ago, or because he has really bad gas – I don’t know. It looks like a 4-3-3 to me which probably means it will be the elusive 3-5-2.

I expect you to save all the whine for later tonight, it’s Valentine’s Day and you should be enjoying that with your loved one(s). (Bad Pun Count (BPC): 1)

Starting XI: Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi, Adriano

Bench: Pinto, Bartra, Dos Santos, Thiago, Roberto, Pedro, Cuenca

Leverkusen: Leno, Schwaab, Reinartz, Friedrich, Corluka, Kadlec, Castro, Rolfes, Bender, Augusto, Schurrle

Join me ten minutes before kickoff at 2:45 PM EST

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

142 Comments

  1. February 14, 2012

    Pique sits for technical reasons. Can’t say I’, surprised.

      • Ryan
        February 14, 2012

        I bet that 3rd goal last game was the final straw. Way too many basic errors like that.

      • mom4
        February 14, 2012

        Nope- he needs a time out to get his head on straight. Good on ya, Pep!

    • February 14, 2012

      I said recent poor form, but it’s really been the whole season. Him and Pedro.

  2. blitzen
    February 14, 2012

    I’m glad Pep is sitting Pique out for this one. I don’t think it has anything to do with an injury (although I could be wrong). I think Pep is sending him a strong message that if he doesn’t get his head back in the game he won’t be starting again anytime soon. Almost all of Pique’s errors in the games he has played in the last few months boil down to one thing—not paying attention to what is happening around him. Ballwatching. Letting his mark sneak past him. Misreading passes.

    For me Pique’s near-miss accident today sums up his current form quite neatly. He forgets a bag in the house, OK fine, jumps out to get it and leaves his door wide open for a bus to run into! Who does that? Someone who isn’t alert, that’s who. Someone who is too preoccupied with whatever is going inside his head to notice his immediate environment. Someone who just isn’t paying attention. Hope this is the kick in the ass he has been needing.

  3. mom4
    February 14, 2012

    Looks like Messi shaved. good omen!

    • nzm
      February 14, 2012

      Yeah – but he was smiling during warm-up. Don’t like it when he smiles before a game. He did the same against Osasuna….

      • mom4
        February 14, 2012

        I needn’t have worried. Scruffy Messi can score and assist.

    • Chiu
      February 15, 2012

      haha i personally love Messi with beard. Maybe somebody should make stats about correlation between messi beard and our result 🙂

  4. y2k156
    February 14, 2012

    First time we win first leg at this stage away in last four years and i still feel that this was most unconvincing performance.

    Happy that we won and nice score too.

    On other hand, our team is way below our best. I am nowadays wondering what is point of Pedro.

  5. TITO
    February 14, 2012

    Absolutely not satisfied with our approach to the game. The only good thing is the end result, and even that was pathetic. We could have and should have gone for a win because we played a weakened Bayer and we have the quality to fucking destroy them.
    And what do we do? We wait for their mistake to score. Not acceptable. I don’t get it really, what’s the point or what is the whole plan of ending the season playing or acting like this.
    Three of their chances including the goal came AGAIN from our mistakes in the defense. Again and again we dont clear the ball but we always try to play it like we are in front of the opponent’s goal which is ridiculous. We have seen during the season how many times the other teams have gained from these mistakes.
    One thing i’m clear of though. And tonight just proved my thought. We encourage the teams to play against us, we give them courage, we give them belief and most of them use it. This was not the case the previous seasons when we just crushed everything that came to us. We have the quality, we have the players, and i don’t know why we just don’t conduct it on the field. And again, the result is ok tonight, but nothing else is.

    • mom4
      February 14, 2012

      As I said in the loveblob, we’re ball watching. We’re not anticipating runs. Then there’s the man-marking problem near our goal. Our defense is worrying me, but I’ll still celebrate this win. Messi and Alexis, bad@ss beauty on grass.

    • February 14, 2012

      This criticism is misguided, IMHO. This isn’t the club of the past few years. This has been established. And don’t discount Bayer at home. This isn’t Hospitalet.

      As for how we play with the ball in our own end, that is jow this club does it. Pass itbout. Yes, mistakes will be made. That is the consequence of that system. Always has been.

      Fact is that we beat a strong opponent at their house, with three away hoals. We made some errors. It happens, and will happen some more. But the result pleaes me. It’s a very good result

    • Ryan
      February 14, 2012

      You reference past seasons, but this year is Pep’s best in CL away matches. Bayer opened up the game when they went for the goal, that’s part of the reason why we found more space and looked more lively. No doubt that our defensive issues need to be sorted out though.

  6. mom4
    February 14, 2012

    barcastuff barcastuff
    Messi is now the all-time top scorer in the UCL knock-out phase with 19 goals, surpassing Shevchenko and Raul #fcblive [via @infostradalive]
    18 minutes ago

    Yeah, that Messi kid may have a future at this football thing.

    • Jafri
      February 14, 2012

      He’s pretty decent, isn’t he? Hope he goes on to win awards and stuff.

    • cuqui
      February 14, 2012

      Appropo, my favorite tweet of the day, from the essential Mundo Albiceleste:

      “@MundoAlbicelest: I’m officially a great father! My 2-year-old sees MESSI on the screen and says: “eeeeeessssssiiiii”. #MyWorkHereIsDone #ButIShallKeepItUp”.

  7. IamXavi6
    February 14, 2012

    Result aside, I thought tonight we were quite ordinary. Some school boy mistakes and we were lucky to not play a stronger opposition. Many many bugs to iron out and am skeptical f we can go all the way currently.

    Still, we have some time to get it right and should now view the league as purely an avenue to rest players. CL and cdr all the way – 2/3 ain’t bad 🙂

    • Blau-Grenade
      February 14, 2012

      Firstly, the whole team is playing 2 matches a week.
      Secondly, we were playing away, at their home, in Germany.
      Given these two situations, the amount of possession, the result, I think Barca did really well.

    • mom4
      February 14, 2012

      We cules are very picky aren’t we. I suppose if the team looks remotely human it isn’t enough. We’ve come to expect 100% brilliance 100% of the time. If Messi doesn’t “consume the English opponent with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse* it’s boring for us. There are some problems for sure but we should enjoy what we have.

      *bastardized Braveheart quote

      • Nav
        February 14, 2012

        Thank you for this. I can’t believe some of the stuff I’m reading. From the reactions you’d think we lost.

      • blitzen
        February 14, 2012

        I agree with you to the power of Yaya! Even The Best Team In The World ™ is going to go through patches of not-quite brilliance. Spoiled, spoiled cules. Try supporting a MLS team for a while and see what that feels like. The Horror.

        • simple_barcafan
          February 14, 2012

          +1
          by the way, how do you get the trademark (TM) symbol?

          • blitzen
            February 14, 2012

            I just put tm in () brackets. Like this ™

    • G6O
      February 14, 2012

      In each of the last three, we played badly in the R16 away game, which was always the first game of the tie and we drew. Then we made up for it by comprehensively beating the other team in the return leg. This year we actually won that game, even if didn’t play that well. Nothing to be concerned about at the moment.

  8. February 14, 2012

    We won 3-1. Away. In the Champions League KO round. The comments need to reflect that..

      • mom4
        February 14, 2012

        And it could be worse. We could have Lyon’s kits.

        • hansh
          February 14, 2012

          Aww, you don’t like Lyon’s kits? I’m a fan. They certainly stand out.

          • mom4
            February 14, 2012

            Nope- too hard on the eyes. But does it make me a bad cule if I actually like the proposed away kits for next year?

      • February 14, 2012

        I’m with Vj, as noted above. THREE away goals. And Bayer is powerful at home. I don’t understand it either.

        • mom4
          February 14, 2012

          As I said above, we are very spoiled.
          The defense is scary at times, but I saw so much good out there. 1-3, all but (dare I say it) done.

          Maybe some weren’t around when we lost 2-1 last year to Arsenal and had to go all suicide watch for some people.

        • vivaespana
          February 14, 2012

          It wasn’t the strongest Bayer Leverkusen side either. Correct me if I am wrong but they had both their top scorers out. So a weakened Barca side got the result against against a weakened Bayer Leverkusen side. However I don’t think they sent out any message to the rest of Europe, like they usually do.

          I also want to comment on how when teams open up the game too much against Barca, they get punished.

    • jordi™
      February 14, 2012

      Its as if our cl away form used to be superb back in in the good old days (1 year ago :roll: ) and now a 3-1 win is something we can scoff at.

    • Ryan
      February 14, 2012

      I was so used to 1-1 away results that the equalizer didn’t surprise me. 1-3 is an amazing result, especially with Xavi in the stands.

  9. TITO
    February 14, 2012

    What kind of power? FFS, it was like playing Granada, at home. That’s how hard this match was. And again, so what if this was away game? These are the games where we should take the advantage that we have in quality and scare the shit out of the others when they face us.

    • jordi™
      February 14, 2012

      Not even in the treble season have we won 3-1 away from home against any team but if you want to be sour about it, fair enough I guess :/

    • mom4
      February 14, 2012

      Away, in the cold (we’re Spaniards and S. Americans for heaven’s sake-we don’t do cold well), in the rain/freezer precip., without Xavi, Busi coming off an Injury, Iniesta coming off and injury, dead tired, AND Sanchez’s shoulder had to be held together WITH TAPE!
      Alexis shoulder:
      http://yfrog.com/nzpowiyj

      BE AT LEAST A LITTLE HAPPY!

    • lyd
      February 14, 2012

      @TITO: You are comparing apples and oranges here. A two legged affair with a home match against getafe is just wrraaaong!

      You think we should scare the shit out of others?
      Think about the Risk vs Reward scenario.

  10. jordi™
    February 14, 2012

    Schwaab gets owned by Messi in that little moment when he hit the post, and he all but proposes to Leo afterwards 🙂

  11. lyd
    February 14, 2012

    Happy that the match was easy and leg sealed. No point in giving it all, in this crisis time and have tired legs for the valencia match. Its not realistic to demand flawless performance. The home team (once a finalist) sat back and refused to make passes. So we only had to win by a 1-0 margin. Even if drew or had a 1-2 loss, it still would not have been catastrophic, since 1st leg was away.

    But yeah, our unstable defending at times scares the hell outta me. Must work on that somehow.

    +es:

    Iniesta, Busi got back 😀
    Cesc was OKAY and continuing the illusive integration. I think he’d look much better (or less worse) in Champions league, in times to come. As Cl teams away are less “educated by experience” compared to liga teams.
    VV,Puyol, Masche, Abi, Sanchez had decent performances, as expected.
    Messi is still a kid. And still with so much potential 😛
    The mes-sist to Alexis was once again, a treat. And the goal reminded the supercopa winner. One more reason he might consider rest is to allow Dani come back to shape to perform consistently at a high level.
    Adriano looked non existing to me. Was I sleeping or did he just hugged the touchline?

    Anyways cheers evryone!

  12. ciaran
    February 14, 2012

    Individually we are inconsistent and collectively we are at about 70%.

    The problem as I see it is that our players have a problem in focusing for the ‘not-so-big’ opponents.
    For the Xavi’s and Pique’s raising their game for Osasuna and Getafe is a problem which is why the Cuenca’s and Tello’s are performing. The Osasuna’s and Getafe’s of the world are a big deal for these guys.

    The solution for Pep surely must to be to play maybe 7/8 first teamers and 3/4 B team players to add fire to the bellies. The intensity of the B teamers is miles ahead of the star players, however the match against Osasuna showed that the likes of Sergi Roberto aren’t quite enough to run the show

  13. Jnice
    February 14, 2012

    I’m more than satisfied with that win. Way better than the customary 1-1 or something. Good response from the team.

  14. February 14, 2012

    we won 1-3, away, without Xavi, a not-fully-fit Iniesta, in knockout CL phase, but we looked so human –> some fans are not happy.

    no wonder why Pep lost his hair so fast.

  15. February 14, 2012

    I am angry!! Really angry! The team was embarrassing tonight! Luckily we scored by coincidence. Luckily they were so unlucky or else we would have lost. This team won’t finish fifth in any other league. Luckily we plays in Spain. We need three defenders, two midfielders and three forwards or Valencia will finish second next year and we compete with Atletico for the fourth position. Don’t even dream of any more titles this season. I just hope we dont collapse and start conceding maintas week in week out.

    And I’ve been sarcastic!

    • February 14, 2012

      I just hope we can avoid relegation zone this season, hopefully 4th place in La Liga is still possible. :roll:

  16. K_legit in Oz
    February 14, 2012

    Pedro *sigh* he is well and truly on the path to regress worse than Bojan..

    Where’s the windmill arms of yore?
    Where’s the ‘tasche that was growing?
    The minutes grow shorter,
    And the touches longer,
    The stares to the heavens increase and pass into the land of shadow.

    How did it come to this?

    *Apologies to Theoden of Rohan

    • Kimcelona
      February 14, 2012

      I dunno..maybe cause he’s injured every month and misses three weeks at a time. Its ahrd to get back into form and develop consistency when you barely are able to play.
      Really, he just came off another 3 week lay-off.
      Maybe we should remember that Pedro has been out more than he’s been in since PRESEASON!

  17. February 14, 2012

    Guardiola: “Pique knows I like him a lot, he doesn’t have a reason to be angry. He knows he’s untouchable, very important for us.” #fcblive

    I thought Guardiola ‘punished’ him to let him know that he is not untouchable.

  18. February 14, 2012

    I’m very happy with the win. Three away goals, two goal cushion, Messi back on the scoresheet, Alexis, no serious injuries or suspensions.

  19. Kimcelona
    February 14, 2012

    Missed most of the first half but from what I saw we played pretty well. Yep, theres still the defensive scares but whats the joy of winning without heartattacks eh?

    I’m happy with this win..very happy.I was expecting our customary draw but this is wonderful!

  20. Jim
    February 14, 2012

    A great result to be honest when you think about no Xavi and a half match fit Iniesta. However, you do see the difference when we can’t control the game fully through our passing. In his interview with Sky after the match Pep made it clear that he wasn’t happy with our second half display because it became too open a match rather than shutting it down with control.

    Loved his answer about Messi: “Are you ever worried that he plays too much and you need to rest him ?”

    Pep: “Why?”

    The Pique one is strange.
    From Barcastuff: Guardiola: “I had to pick 18, Mascherano is suspended on Saturday, I couldn’t lose Gerard. New experience for Bartra, we’ll need him later.”

    Anyway, after tonight’s defensive display I hope folks will go a little easier on the big man.

  21. February 14, 2012

    Clearly I watched a different game to a lot of people, but I thought it was an excellent performance: controlled, methodical, patient. Away in the CL in a knock out, this is what we have to do, not give the other team hope. And because we kept them chasing for so long, space really opened up for Messi and Alexis in the last 20 mins.

    It was one of the better performances this season, certainly of late. Very happy with the win and the scoreline.

  22. simple_barcafan
    February 14, 2012

    Felt like sharing this quote. Had a amusing time trying to visualize it in my mind:

    Jamie Redknapp (ex-Liverpool): “You couldnt get the ball off Lionel Messi in a telephone box.”

    via @barcastuff

  23. Oil_Can
    February 14, 2012

    count me in as one from the group that found this performance to be satisfactory.

    We played very well in the first half, holding possession well and pressing very vigorous. Maybe we should have created a lot more chances than we should have, but other than that we kept bayer in their own half for the majority of the first half.

    The second half was a little dissapointing, but when Bayer decided to press more for the equaliser, we managed to take advantage of that and scored our three goals through fast transition. Pedro performed badly but other than Sanchez we need another player who can hurt the opponents with intelligent runs. Pedro in his prime is really good at that, and once we have something more than just Sanchez threatening up front we will be a lot more deadly.

    • Oil_Can
      February 14, 2012

      I’d like to also bring up an observation that is interesting.

      Last season Euler spoke about our lack of ball playing and out-and-out wingers. Villa and Pedro were our main wingers but they were more like forward players who prefered to run onto a ball fed by the midfield or Messi.

      This season we included Cuenca, Tello, Adriano and Alves as our main source for ball playing wingers. Sanchez not so much because in the important moments he has mostly played a role similar to Pedro and Villa.

      This is just a rough thought but over the past few years other than Messi our majority of goals came from players like Villa and Pedro who make intelligent and threatining runs. Also Cesc fabregas has become a major source for goals this season where his goals usually involve running into space and being fed balls.

      I’m not saying that the reason we are dropping more points have been our winger’s fault. But it could also bring up an idea as to why the majority of our opponents who have pressed and tried to play higher up have been more successful against us because we are laking the number of wide players that can threat teams who press higher up and leave more space in the backline.

      So I guess that if Pedro ever gets his form back then we may become a lot more effective.

      • Second that. Right now everyone is saying how they all are mmissing Villa. But that wasn’t the case when he was actually playing. The major sentiment here was that Sanchez was a better option compared to Villa because of his lack of wing play.

  24. blitzen
    February 14, 2012

    Just watching the game, but is there anyone, anyone, who still thinks we overpaid for Alexis???

      • Ryan
        February 14, 2012

        I’m sure Rossi would have a great time bonding with our injured players in the stands, but we have enough of those!

    • Ron Mexico
      February 15, 2012

      Second that, Alexis was such a beast today. His ability to finish one on ones was not something that I thought he had coming from Udinese. Sure he had 12 goals last year but 4 of them came from one game. His goal scoring has been a real surprise and has kept us in so many games with Villa’s injury, Pedro’s injuries and form, and Messi’s inability to do everything himself (this year anyways). Imagine if he’d been around the whole season! People who are criticizing this team and Pep need to step back and really look at te injury situation (over the whole year) and the subsequent team wide exhaustion.

    • Jim
      February 15, 2012

      Count me as one of the undecideds atm. He is having a good spell but let’s assess it at the end of the season when we can look at how many games he has managed to play, how many goals he has scored how many assists etc.

      I’m still slightly disappointed in a sense, only in that I thought we were buying someone who had a great ability to dribble past people and create assists. So far, he has proved much better at scoring than I expected and poorer at beating people, as well as a lot more injury prone than I thought someone of his build would be.

  25. Srini
    February 14, 2012

    Great Win.

    ..still can’t make myself to watch the La Liga again… Not because EE is dominating and doing so well ..enough to be on par with us in the Liga..but because of the RFEF’s general mediocrity.. there I said it.

    But Great Win. Fantastic heart and mental fortitude. Here’s to the best team in the world.

    • Chiu
      February 15, 2012

      Seriously Srini? you dont watch liga?

      • Srini
        February 15, 2012

        I meant after the Osasuna game. I am still in shock at the ref errors (don’t deny that Barca played quite bad, but we wuz robbed)

  26. Anonymous_69
    February 14, 2012

    I’m starting to have a big problem with players like Adriano and Jeffren who can’t play 180 minutes of football in a row without getting injured… I like Adriano a lot, but he is a substitute. In order to add his share, he needs to be available all the time, or at least most of the time… If Pep insists on small squads, then every player will be extremely important. It is risky in this situation to keep a player who might never be available when needed.

  27. Ahmad
    February 14, 2012

    Can anyone help me out? Im having trouble finding the quote where he tells messi that he wants him to score a goal from his “heart” or something like that. Any help would be appreciated.

  28. February 14, 2012

    Oy vey, reading these comments, you’d think we’d lost 3-1. Try being a Cleveland sports fan if you want something real to complain about.

    Of course it wasn’t going to be a perfect effort with Xavi and Pique out, with Iniesta and Busquets coming off injuries, and on the road in bad weather. And in “Hlebruary” no less. But they managed to put up a convincing result and put the tie all but beyond Bayer. Does anyone think those Krauts are capable of scoring 3 goals at Camp Nou… much less doing so without conceding any?

    As best I could tell, the defense struggled because 1) The midfield struggled to control possession in the 2nd half without Xavi and with Busi and Iniesta hobbled / substituted on the hour. And 2) BL were tall. Really, really tall. Like amazon tall– goodness gracious sakes alive they make Real Madrid look like a team full of munchkins! Barça are undersized to begin with, and with Piqué in the stands and Busi hobbled, our lack of height was even more pronounced. Bayer’s goal came exclusively through aerial play, and the two BL chances foiled by phenomenal San Victor saves were generated at least partially through the air.

  29. Oil_Can
    February 14, 2012

    So does Messi look like hes out of his funk now?

    • Nav
      February 14, 2012

      Messi has been unfairly criticised IMO. Most of our attacking plays are still being conducted by him, and he has created a number of very good chances. His finishing has been off, but his killer final passes have improved.

      His confidence hasn’t really taken a dive at all — he still takes on 3, 4 defenders, and beats them routinely. He is tired out there, but I don’t think he is in a funk.

      • Oil_Can
        February 15, 2012

        Yer, I think this last performance is solid proof, if people still think he is out of form think again.

      • G6O
        February 15, 2012

        The problem with Messi has been all the chances that he usually buries with ease that he has eased. Some of the games we lost points in would have been comfortable wins had he converted his chances, chances that, again, he usually converts most of the time. I guess it’s down to fatigue

  30. Barcaleya
    February 15, 2012

    I’ve been too busy lately to watch the games so I can only see the highlights.

    I think Alexis is wonderful!!! I’m still amazed at the way he held off his defender, kept the ball and passed it to Cesc, who flicked it to Xavi for the Valencia goal.

    His two goals here are the same. He knows exactly where the back of the net is. He certainly knows his angles well. Wish Villa could learn this too while recuperating. I love Villa so I hope he could undo that recent habit of sending the ball straight to the keeper at such close angles, instead of doing it ala Messi and Sanchez.

    Anyway – I am amazed at all the pessimistic comments here.

    People, we won! Away! I know we have been used to such high standards but it’s preposterous to be this dismayed at a 3-1 scoreline away from home. That’s three away goals that the other team has to surmount. At our bastion. At the Camp Nou. What are you guys thinking of???

    All these not-so-great performances only make their close-to-perfect matches sweeter. Get some perspective, fellow cules.

    VISCA BARCA!!!

  31. Messi needs some rest. That’s for sure. But the problem is that we cannot afford to rest him. Fortunately for the next two weeks we only play in the weekends. That should give him some breathing space. And we also could rest him against the return leg at Camp Nou. That means we can have Messi playing only on weekends in the next three weeks. That’s good news.

    • Puppet
      February 15, 2012

      I was thinking about what sort of forward line we’d put out if Messi was on the bench. Some cool lines would be:
      Tello-Alexis-Cuenca
      or
      Pedro-Cesc-Alexis (where Cesc would be a false nine, and Alexis would move centrally from the wing, allowing Alves to provide the width on the right. Not perfect, but against a smaller team this could work quite well).

      • Chiu
        February 15, 2012

        barring the injury, i think Cesc-Villa-Alexis is more than qualified to beat smaller teams.All three could interchange position. Cesc probably start as false nine, Villa and Alexis on left and right respectively.

        • mom4
          February 15, 2012

          People, Messi will play in the return. Playing…it’s what Messi does. Period. #haventyoulearnedyet 🙂

          • Puppet
            February 15, 2012

            Actually, I was just speaking in general, not specifically about the return leg. ‘Cause I’d like to think we’ll rest him at SOME point this season.

            Besides, think what having a frontline of energetic and hungry Tello and Cuenca (with Alexis or Cesc), backed by our A-list midfield and defense. That could be pretty exciting.

  32. Chiu
    February 15, 2012

    Guardiola: “Xavi didn’t feel fine for some days, that’s why we left him out. Pique? Yesterday was Valentine Day, he’s with Shakira.”

    from footy jokes twitter, LOL

    • barca96
      February 15, 2012

      Seriously, is it really from Pep’s mouth? Or was the last part about Valentines added for fun’s sake?

      It is extremely funny though.

  33. Judas Pissed
    February 15, 2012

    I’m just glad to read a report of a Barcelona match that doesn’t include the words ‘such-and-suchabody is out for two weeks/three weeks/four weeks/season’!

      • Chiu
        February 15, 2012

        haha dont jinx us K. We have bunch of injured players to cheer on the stand now. It’s enough, right Ryan.

  34. Ron Mexico
    February 15, 2012

    Can we all stop criticizing the ref? Aren’t the arguments generally retreads of what Chelsea/Arsenal/Real/etc. fans were saying after we beat them in the CL? I get that often it seems wrong and that your team is being picked on but really it evens out over time. Sure, it sucks in the moment but until the referee is outdated by technology we have to live with it. It is a component of the game that you have to deal with and cannot control. That’s it. Referee decisions did not cost us La Liga. Our form did.

  35. barca96
    February 15, 2012

    I’d take 7 liga titles in 10 years than win 4 in a row then starve for half a decade! Plus some consecutive Cls

    Mother of all comments!

    This can especially be true if Mourinho leaves in the summer.
    Let them win, whatever, it is Mourinho who’s going to get the most credit anyways not Madrid as a club and at the end it’s Madrid who’s going to suffer.

    For now, we shouldn’t throw in the La Liga because we must finish 2nd.
    Valencia is not that far behind!

  36. barca96
    February 15, 2012

    @Chiu:

    Seriously, is it really from Pep’s mouth? Or was the last part about Valentines added for fun’s sake?

    It is extremely funny though.

    Can’t reply to his comment. Kept saying duplicate comment when I tried to reply to this;

    Guardiola: “Xavi didn’t feel fine for some days, that’s why we left him out. Pique? Yesterday was Valentine Day, he’s with Shakira.”

  37. Humphrey Bogart
    February 15, 2012

    Im my dream Scenario the EE end like Inter today: sucked out, lifeless without identity and emotion, consisting of players pinning after Mou like some little girl after their first love

    • Chiu
      February 15, 2012

      That’s a likely probability. Let see

    • K_legit in Oz
      February 15, 2012

      QFT

      In the words of Maynard Keenan:
      I wanna see the ground give way,
      I wanna watch it all go down!

      • Puppet
        February 15, 2012

        A Tool reference employed to envision RM’s destruction? Respect.

  38. TITO
    February 15, 2012

    “Our defensive operation was good in the first half but we also [b]had too much respect for Barca and were afraid[/b],” said Leverkusen coach Robin Dutt.

    THIS is what we need to impose again.

  39. simple_barcafan
    February 15, 2012

    the third goal was beautiful..the way Alves waits for
    Messi to run without shooting himself, the way Messi desperately runs past defenders even though knowing Alves is one on one with the goalie and in all probability might shoot on goal, the wonderful pass…I have seen so many negative comments, just wanted to remind ppl of some beauty as well…

    Even Pep had a look of wonder and joy after that goal.

    • Oil_Can
      February 15, 2012

      How about Guardiola’s reaction to Messi’s amazing move in the box which ended him chipping the GK at an insane angle and unfortunately hitting the post.

      by gosh the amount of times where Messi had created absolute brilliance and ended up not scoring, some of his misses have been almost or if not more spectacular then some of his greatest goals.

      • Chiu
        February 15, 2012

        Agree, that penetration and execution from Messi is awesome. The brilliance that our little flea could produce is mind-boggling. Nobody would do that chipping from that angle.

      • Puppet
        February 15, 2012

        Or the almost-goal against Santos, where Messi brought down a cross smooth as silk, then nearly slipped it right through the keeper’s legs (only to just barely be deflected and kept out).

        You could make a highlight reel of Messi’s nearly-goals and assists-that weren’t-quite-finished-off and still be entertained for hours.

        • Chiu
          February 15, 2012

          probably alasfcb could help if he read this. good input for you 🙂

          i sometimes wondering if alas is here, reading and regulary commenting here. who are you dude, open your mask 🙂

          • Puppet
            February 15, 2012

            Lol, i’m not him, if that’s what you’re implying. 😀 But no doubt that he’s a gem for all cules (and football fans)

          • Chiu
            February 15, 2012

            haha no puppet. i know alas is not you.

            i just said it wondering alas if BFBers too. show you face alas 🙂

  40. Gogah
    February 15, 2012

    hopefully we can meet EE in the quarters.

    • Chiu
      February 15, 2012

      If we look at the current form and quality of both, I believe our path will cross again in CL. Be it quarter, semi or final. With respect to other participants and objectively speaking, it’s only us who probably could stop them and vice versa, only EE have enough capability now to make this year championship harder for us.

      • Gogah
        February 15, 2012

        If we must meet them, I’d rather we meet them in the quarters.

        so we can kick ’em out early.

    • G6O
      February 15, 2012

      Better be the quarters or the semis. Over two games, we should beat them. In a final, anything can happen.

  41. Chiu
    February 15, 2012

    @ tito and simple barca:

    – In my opinion, the “frightened and put too much respect” aspects are still exist for our opponent. No team that wouldn’t afraid to face the kind of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol and co. That’s why every team park a plane or bus when play us. The difference this season, it’s us that play below our standard due to multiple factors and make the ceiling lower for other team to reach. And to some extent, almost all team now impose intense pressing and physical foul to distract our possession rhythm.

    – I’m bit surprise too; Alves didn’t shot and assisted Messi that was surrounded with 3 defenders in the center, instead. I believe 95% of players in that kind of one-on-one situation will certainly try shooting from that angle. It required extrasensory understanding between Alves and Messi as a result of playing together for years. Alves knew that Messi would run in and Messi keep running sensing Alves would cross the ball to him. A beautiful team goal.

    – Leverkusen coach said in pre-match press conference that it would be a miracle to eliminate Barcelona over two leg tie. I think it’s mentally degrading for his player hearing their coach admitting defeat implicitly before the game. We saw Dutt expression after they equalized. No excitement, pretty plain and thinking at the end Barca would score again and win. That’s what I read from his gesticulation. I also remember 4 years ago, Schuster of EE made similar statement before clasico in Camp Nou. And it ended 2-0 for us.

  42. Puppet
    February 15, 2012

    I thought the game was a good one. We didn’t sparkle, but the result is important. For a moment after they conceded i had flashes of the arsenal game last season, but we didn’t lose our heads and responded like professionals.

    Alexis is wonderful, and i’m thrilled we have him. We just need another out-and-out forward who can consistently score along with him and Messi. Cesc is contributing, which is great, but I really miss the slashing, racing, clinical Pedro of the last couple of seasons. No reason to give up on him though, he will find his form eventually. And when Villa and Afellay come back, things will be looking bright indeed (let’s not forget that the world doesn’t end even if we lose the league this year: four league titles in five seasons is not bad at all, and we will be every bit as capable of making that happen next season as any other year before).

  43. Chiu
    February 15, 2012

    “FC Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi has played more minutes this season than any other player in La Liga. The Argentine has so far racked up 3241 minutes on the field, compared with 3150 for Bilbao keeper Iraizoz and 2902 for Cristiano Ronaldo.”

    Stats: OptaSports, via total barca.

    What a cra

    • Chiu
      February 15, 2012

      arghh my comment submitted before i finish typing, damn*

      what a crazy amount of minutes that messi hv played

  44. Chiu
    February 15, 2012

    Marca reported that EE is rejecting Bernabeu to host CDR final and its the first time in history a team refuse to do so.

    Someone (Bassam if am not mistaken) mentioned we did the same in 2002, rejecting camp nou to host the final. anyone remember the true fact?

    • February 15, 2012

      Hahahahahaha no definitely not 2002, that was the year where after a quite successful season Madrid wanted to stage the Copa del Rey final at the Bernabeu because the date of the final coincided exactly with their centenary date and they arranged everything to celebrate the 100th anniversary with that, but then Depor actually won the final. Pretty embarrassing episode it was, apparently jokes are still cracked about it.

      • G6O
        February 15, 2012

        Yes, they got what they deserved for forcing the final to be played at their own stadium (how exactly is that considered normal and fair???)

        But it wasn’t the first, the final has been at the Bernabeu with Madrid playing in it many times before that, including once against us. And we have played there against other teams many times other than that episode. So I don’t see what the all the fuss is about

  45. Judas Pissed
    February 15, 2012

    Play the CDR final at Old Trafford in Manchester – take La Liga on the road!

  46. blitzen
    February 15, 2012

    Here is the best highlight reel of the game I have found. Picture quality not the best, but it shows the lead up to the goals and a couple of “Messi moments” that didn’t result in goals:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6Z72L3B7t0&feature=related

    Just look at the way Messi kills himself to get in front of the defenders and on the end of Dani’s pass. Brilliant.

  47. February 15, 2012

    Couldn’t comment earlier because I was busy carving a trophy for Dani Alves. What an unselfish man. He’s happier assisting Messi than he is scoring. Their chemistry is unmatched.

    There was another play where Messi plays Alves in, who then attempts a backheel that ALMOST gets to Messi. Would have been some goal.

    As for that play where Messi darts between two defenders and dings it off the post, they showed the Bayer defender who just got owned patting Messi on the back after the play.

  48. February 15, 2012

    Said it plenty on twitter but just have to say it again: THIAGO. This kid is going to be (well, already is) something special. Xavi or Iniesta were no where NEAR as good at 20. Scary to think the sort of potential the kid has.

    Also has one of the best playing styles I’ve ever seen. Looks like he’s dancing out there, but with the fiesty steel of a coal miner.

    Can’t think of anyone else that was so good at 20. Only two players come to mind: Messi and the great Ronaldo. The latter, as I’m sure you all know, played for Barca at 20, scored 34 goals and won the Balon D’Or/World Player of the Year for that magical season.

    Can anyone else think of any stellar 20 year olds of similar calibre?

    • blitzen
      February 15, 2012

      Pele, of course, as I am sure he would be the first to point out. 😉

      • February 15, 2012

        Dinosaurs tooting their own horn don’t count Blitz! Unless he’s willing to send me a DVD.

        • G6O
          February 15, 2012

          We all know the 60-year old Pele has said a lot of very stupid things, but that does not mean that we should diminish the accomplishments of the player Pele. He was a major contributor to a WC win before he turned 18, the world’s best player before he was 20, and held that title for a decade after that. Those are facts.

          • February 15, 2012

            I know, I know, I wasn’t bashing Pele as a player. Just joking about the loudmouth looney he has become now. Pele may have been incredible and a half but I never saw him play save for some poor quality highlights.

            I was more trying to remember players of recent times. Especially players I have seen and can remember well, instead of watching highlights of them.

        • Chiu
          February 15, 2012

          I think even the black and white tape video is still pretty blur mani haha.how dare you ask a dvd 🙂 Pele should keep his mouth shut and stop talking like kid wanting praise from people.

          Perhaps rooney looked equally brilliant at his 20

  49. February 15, 2012

    Working on the review slowly at the moment (I can’t conjure brilliance out of thin air like Kxevin can).

    Interesting spread of comments. My brother (and Arsenal fan as you might know if you pay attention to me) watched the game and was texting me during it. Some direct quotes:

    “Barcelona is too good it’s almost boring to watch”

    “They dominated”

Leave a Reply