Employers may see a slight increase in “doctor appointment” out of office notifications around 2:30 PM both Tuesday and Wednesday next week.
The race is a tight one for three out of the four quarterfinal match ups of the UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League Tournament and fans will not want to miss the drama.
Since 1955, once per year each league in Europe sends a determined number of teams to the big show to compete for the coveted European Cup. Group stages and the round of 16 have ended and last week, the quarter finals first leg began. Now eight of Europe’s most quality clubs are in the second leg of their quarter-final battles to see who will go on to claim one of the most prized pieces of silverware in all of football, to be awarded at the final on May 27 in Rome.
Currently remaining in the running are England’s top four: Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Arsenal, La Liga (Spain’s) Villarreal and Barcelona, Portugal’s FC Porto, and Bundesliga (Germany’s) Powerhouse: Bayern Munich.
After the group stage of tournament play, the remaining 8 teams are matched up using a system that resembles drawing numbers printed on ping pong balls lottery style.
Then matched teams will play each other both home and away, in first and second leg matches. Scores are kept on aggregate and in the event of even goals, goals scored “away” are given more weight. If both sides also have the same number of away goals, matches will dramatically end in overtime and possibly penalty kicks.
So, we’re in the second leg of the quarters now with aggregates of:
Manchester United 2 v 2 FC Porto
Liverpool 1 v 3 Chelsea
Arsenal 1 v 1 Villarreal
Barcelona 4 v 0 Bayern Munich
Pride and Glory are on the line and unless Munich come up with a miracle, only 6 other clubs are really in for a serious battle.
Being a bit biased as a staunch Manchester United supporter, I feel the lads will do the business in Portugal without much difficulty, and the real match to watch will be Liverpool V Chelsea kickoff 2:45 EST Tuesday. I predict a blood bath at Chelsea’s home ground Stamford Bridge as Liverpool will leave every ounce of energy out on the pitch in attempt to get their necessary 3 away nets and keep Chelsea scoreless.
Players to watch: Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, (that’s Stevie G if you’re a scouser), Ladies Love Fernando Torres, and work horse Dutchman Dirk Kuyt. In blue, check for “Who Ate all the pies? Fat” Frankie Lampard, Didier “diving more than Jaques Cousteau” Drogba, and look for more goals from Serbian destroyer Branislav Ivanovic.
Every football pub in every major city around the world will be packed next week with die hards ready for every minute of the nail biting action. Call in sick to work, put on your colors, get to the pub early, have your pint in hand, get to singing for your chosen side and join the rest of the world in watching one of sport’s greatest shows.
Americans can find a pub Here.
Recommendations for pubs I’ve visited:
DC- Lucky Bar
VA (Arlington)- Ireland’s Four Courts
Baltimore- Slainte Pub
Atlanta- Fado (Buckhead)
Chicago- the Globe
Santa Monica- Ye Olde King’s Head Pub
San Diego- the Shakespeare
Orange County- The Olde Ship
More information on fixtures and results can be found at the UEFA site.