Quick Takes on Today’s Champions League Matches: Revenge of the Pirate Bear

Yesterday was so much fun that Dippy has cancelled all his 14th floor appointments with his clients at the hotel for another few days.   He looks a little green and purple, but that could be for any number of different reasons.  Sadly, the player with the best football hair in Germany, Marco Reus missed a penalty which would have been beaten Barcelona yesterday.   My picks yesterday were so much of a disaster that for monetary reasons we have to try again with takes for today’s Champions League matches.  

Club Brugge vs Galatasaray 

Club Bragge is a 51% favorite to win the match in Brugge.   Dippy busted the globe trying to figure out where Brugge is.  We discovered that it was in Belgium.    Then Dippy and I thought that Brugge was the name of a baby stroller.   Dippy then tried to search for a baby stroller saying that he needed one as a prop.   I told him to go take a shower.   He has been eating nothing but asparagus and fruit cups for six days.   I am still trying to figure out how either one of these clubs got into the Champions League.  My guess is that bribed some folks with cigarettes and toilet paper.   I also know Galatasaray is a team in Turkey.   That is it.  That is all I know and while this match is on I will be prying Dippy away from the knife drawer and mint Tic Tacs.   I am not picking this one.   Never.   Ever.

Olympiacos vs Tottenham

Tottenham is a 51% favorite to win this match in Piraeus, Greece.   Tottenham is having the post Championship Game Loser Hang Over where they are stumbling around in the dark looking for their keys after a very long party and all the power got knocked out by the police because they were raiding the joint.  I think I have said too much here or have spent too much time with Dippy.   Tottenham also bought some players and still they are struggling through.   What this means is that Tottenham is due for the wake up call that is coming and has the team to put it all back together again.   Their squad is categorically better with the additions they have made.  Harry Kane got shredded and rested during the summer.   He might also have the best hair in English soccer.   They also still have Son, Moura, Alli, and Eriksen (but for how long, he’s playing for someone else now though still in a white kit with a bird on it).  Their manager, Maurcio Pochettino, has been the best at getting something out of nothing.  One wonders what he can do if he actually gets the players he wants.   He’s been a bit more feisty of late.   He is above average in all areas:  emotional intelligence, tactics, and man management.  Tottenham has what it takes to be close to elite, however their past history of silverware failure (just think ED) seems to haunt them like a sober Ozzy Osbourne.  Tottenham also has difficulty winning away from home in the Champions League.  They are facing a team from Greece who plays an exciting brand of football.   They score goals in bunches and then they give up goals in bunches.   They had to go through qualifying to get to this point so they are ready, but they are from Greece.   This should be interesting, but lets go with a draw on this one.

Bayer Leverkusen vs Lokomotiv Moscow

When I was growing up Bayer Leverkusen was my favorite team name.  The name was so German sounding that I would love to say it in a fake silly German accent.   Bayer is in the second tier of the Bundeliga along with Frankfurt.   They are not as strong as Red Bull, Borussia, or Bayern Munich, but they are not a clumpy cat litter box team either.   They have Kai Havertz who is their only above average player (using Bundesliga standards, he would kill it in the MLS).  Dippy, as stated yesterday, is all in on any team from the Russian League.   For political reasons he will not share because of his fear of Russian street gangs and the FSB (not to be confused with the FBI), he dislikes Lokomotiv Moscow.  Oh, and Bayer is a 71% favorite to win the match in Germany.   Bayer should win, but after yesterday’s weirdness, who knows.

PSG vs Real Madrid

PSG is a 41% favorite to win this match in Paris.  PSG is oil money personified as they also appear to be owned by a country.   Maybe not so much as Manchester City, but damn close.    These lines get real blurry.  Ironically though they have yet to do major damage in the Champions League even though that is their goal.   I mean, isn’t winning Ligue One 5,000 times in a row enough?   PSG has both the potential to be absolutely awesome and also a raging tire fire with nuclear waste in a dumpster in Boston.   When you have Neymar, Icardi, De Maria, and Mbappe all in the same locker room you have a recipe for a Lifetime Movie Channel special. Icardi’s best talent is stealing the wives of teammates (Dippy thinks that this is awesome) and then marrying them and then making them his agent.   Adding him, on loan, from Inter has fun written all over it.  Real Madrid is a collection of toys that a child stopped playing with a year ago.  So much so that it is unclear if the batteries still work or if they have all their parts in the right place.  I am going to be roasted for saying this, but Zidane is not a good manager.  Sure, he is a legend (as a player) and has won multiple trophies, but he won with all the best toys available in the store.   He was smart to jump ship when he knew that Cristiano Ronaldo was headed to Italy.  I would have as well.  He knew how lucky he was.  Now he and his poor emotional intelligence and man management skills are back.  Tell me that this will work.   CHANGE MY MIND, IT ISN’T.   Anyways, this is a draw.

image003 (1).jpg

Bayern Munich vs Crvena Zvezda

Bayern Munich is a 89% favorite to win this match.  Ok, everyone, with using Google can you say where Crvena Zvezda plays?    I am waiting.   Still waiting.  

They play in Serbia.   They probably have awesome fans and I am sure no one in their group wants to go to Serbia to play them.   I am guessing it will be like the USMNT going to any stadium in Mexico.   However, this gem of a match is being played in Munich and at a large round red donut.  Everyone knows Bayern.   They own that large mansion on a large hill overlooking the rest of the Bundesliga watching people try to throw rocks at their glass house.  This particular glass house has begun to show some cracks.  Their president of two million years, Uli Hoeness, is leaving.  They have added Arnold Schwarzeneggar to their board (no, not really, they’ve added Oliver Kahn to the board).  Their manager, Niko Kovac, is known only as the “hottest football manager in Germany.”  They have lost three main veteran leaders from the last several seasons.  Oh, and they have Phillippe Coutinho.  So things are going really well for Bayern.  Regardless, they should win this one.  If they don’t they can get Schwarzeneggar to manage, which would be an incredible improvement.


Dinamo Zagreb vs Atalanta

Atalanta is a 44% favorite to win the match in Zagreb, Croatia.   Dippy gets Atalanta confused with Atlanta, Georgia and I have to explain that Atlanta United did not get promoted into the UEFA Champions League, but the CONCACAF Champions League.  Atalanta is the Cinderella story of the Champions League and of Serie A.   Somehow they managed to qualify out of nowhere.  They are absolutely fun to watch tactically.   They press extremely high in an attempt to pressure offenses in the back.   When they attack, they attack in numbers.   Just think Liverpool without any world class players.   It is full on, high risk-high reward.   Dippy and I can not wait to watch them while eating 17 day old popcorn, day old tuna, and salad that has been left out in the sun for the last three days.   If we live, we will enjoy every minute of it.   I am taking Atalanta as long as the Croatian fans don’t get the match cancelled by burning the stadium down. 

Atletico Madrid vs Juventus

Atletico is a 41% percent favorite to win the match in Madrid.   Atletico is everyone’s dark horse favorite to win La Liga and given the fact that Real Madrid and Barca are both on three wheels on a beach in New Mexico, it’s no wonder.   They have completely renovated their squad like a ‘Fixer Upper’ episode mixed with ‘Major League.’   They have a really strong manager who is as married to his system as Bill and Melinda Gates.  His style is to have a system and go get the players to fit that system.   So here we are.   Speaking of systems, we have Juventus and Sarriball.   Maurizio Sarri is back in Italy and back on the touchline smoking who knows what.   Nonetheless, this dude is one of my favorite managers as his man management is similar to a Russian general in World War II, his emotional intelligence is similar to a house cat with kidney issues, and his tactical ability is way above average.  At Juventus, this should be absolutely hilarious and I think he should be the subject of the next Amazon Prime doc.  This will be an Atletico win (or at least it should).


Shakhtar Donetsk vs Manchester City

Manchester City is 72% favorite to win this match in Ukraine.  I have had to pull Dippy off the ledge after he watched his hero Pep Guardiola with his face in his hands, rub his hands over his balding, and openly weeping as his defense turned into Wallace at the end of Season 1 of “The Wire” against Norwich City.   Dippy has been on a bender for days as my mistress team in hot black kits slept walked to a 3-2 loss.   Remember, the Canaries were 22-1 underdog at home.  This is the biggest test in Pep’s tenure at City.   He will need to update his style to fit the current reality of the defensive players he has available.  Pep has had to deal with injuries before and even very significant ones, but in most cases he had competent people to fill in for those not available.   He had that at city until Kompany left (he is coming back, I am betting Dippy’s car on it) and he had major injuries in defense, which was not all that great to begin with.  So fun vacation trips to Ukraine provide a wonderful opportunity for Pep to test things out.  Dippy and I hope he does, otherwise Dippy’s connection to reality will further blur like Don Draper in Season 4 of ‘Mad Men.’  Manchester City has to win this.


Author: Keith Lisenbee, mental health professional, writer, and soccer enthusiast is from Atlanta, Georgia by way of Virginia. I was in love with soccer until Agüero destroyed my soul and Manchester United's title hopes in 2012. Came back for the World Cup in 2014 and through the use of DVR I am back with the force of orange Tic Tacs and IPAs covering the EPL, Bundesliga, MLS, and La Liga. You can follow me on Twitter @keith_lisenbee and Instagram @lisenbeekeith got more random soccer thoughts.