Storylines Of the Week #1347 (Late)

Barcelona Without Champions League for first Time in 17 Years

Barcelona is one of the biggest clubs in football history; the things they have accomplished and the trophies that have been lifted in Barcelona can rival essentially any club in the world. They are football royalty, the revolutionizing figure of Johan Cruyff leading into Pep Guardiola keeping the philosophy going it was one of the greatest eras of Barcelona. The type of talent that the La Mesilla Academy has produced. The likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Puyol, not to mention the greatest player in football history Lionel Messi. Barcelona once was the place to be a club that consistently dominated European football and had winning traditions. A 21-year run of Lionel Messi abruptly ended this summer after nine League titles for the Champions League and an unseen amount of domestic cups. Barcelona used to be on The Mountaintop of European football. From Johan Cruyff to Pep Guardiola to Luis Enrique and many iconic figures and Barcelona culture. The mishandling of financial affairs from former Barcelona president the sale of Neymar to PSG while putting themselves in crisis by their inability to adapt to it spending large sums of money on players that they continue to pay. It has been a disaster ever since last season, which is why the Copa del Rey Triumph was so impressive, highlighting was Messi was able to do on an incredibly average team keeping them in the title race even though Athletico Madrid will ultimately be given the crown with Real Madrid not far behind. Ever since then, it has been an utter disaster Lionel Messi has left for Paris after 21 years at Barcelona. Luis Suarez went the year prior after not being viewed as good enough by Ronald Koman to see him lead Athletico Madrid to the Liga title last season. It has been a horrific season. Ronald Koeman was eventually sacked. Xavi came in to take over despite not being prepared for the job as it has been proven. With time he can earn his stripes, but he was thrown into the sharks blood in the water. Memphis depay has been the only bright spot in what has been an erratic season, along with Pedri and ansu Fati Barcelona right now is a toxic Wasteland mutually impossible to convince any player of top degree to come. There are rumors of Ferran Torres, but it would be foolish on his part to leave Manchester City for a Barcelona unstable situation. Barcelona has been regulars in the Champions League for 17 seasons. They finished third in their Champions League group behind Bayern Munich and Benfica. They will be playing in the Europa League for the first time in 17 seasons; the problems may have started before this; the choke jobs against Roma and Liverpool in the Champions League only kind of pushed them into the current situation they exist in. Xavi might know the outline of Barcelona, but he cannot fix the firestorm that he currently sits in. Thomas Muller made a comment questioning Barcelona’s ability to handle the pressure on the big stage, and he’s absolutely right. Bayern Munich last three games against Barcelona they have scored 15 goals conceding only twice. Barcelona is just not the same team anymore; they have so much history in the club, and at this moment, there’s nothing that can be done to save them. They will not make the Champions League next season, and there’s a real question if they will even make the Europa League. They will be competing in the Europa League in February; based on the club’s status, they are incredibly average; they would be an easy out for anyone. Barcelona being in the Europa League seems wrong how the mighty have fallen.

Der Klassiker Ruined by Officiating

Der Klassiker is one of the fascinating matches in German Football; it has been a fixture with so much history behind it. From the Jurgen Klopp winning back-to-back League titles with Dortmund, pep Guardiola’s Bayern; Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund; Hans flick so many other great coaches and great players such as Robert Lewandowski and Mario Gotze players that have played for both sides of this historic rivalry. This year in particular and this match-in was crucial. Dortmund came into that game only one point behind Bayern Munich opportunity to seize the day would be incredibly critical to the title race. A matchup like this can determine anything the future can change based on matches like this. So it would be regrettable if a corrupt official ruined what could have been an absolute classic. It was absolute Madness egregious decisions from both sides of things; a referee that has had handled things in corruption in the past getting an opportunity to officiate the biggest game in German Football. His controversial decisions and corrupt results ruined what an absolutely stunning affair in the Der klassiker between two German Giants was. Julian Brandt scored just minutes into the game to give Dortmund some incredible early energy, then right on cue, the world’s best player, the rightful owner of the Ballon d’Or Robert Lewandowski, adding more brilliance astonishing season with a goal that kicked them right back. Kingsley Coman scored a beautiful goal right on the brink of half-time. Only to see erling haaland to the rescue early in the second half to level things up. It’s a shame that a rat wrecked the second half. A clear penalty on Marco Reus was not called, and then in the 77th minute, a controversial penalty decision was given in favor of Bayern Munich. We know the story Robert Levandowski steps up and converts, and Bayern Munich wins the game in a very controversial nature as they steal in the most critical game of the season. Dortmund were quite frankly robbed. Bayern Munich is the best team in the world, there’s no doubt about that, but the final result of the match was not justified by anything. Dortmund didn’t deserve to win, and either It Should Have Ended as a draw; neither team was better than another, which was why this game was so exciting and fantastic if it wasn’t for the official. The official selected for this game had previously been accused of a corruption scandal; the Bundesliga by itself is not a corrupt League; there’s no question about it that the official out the match had corrupted motives. It was absolute outrage from Dortmund, who had a point stolen from them. Jude Bellingham called into question the Bundesliga for appointing this particular official, mentioning the fact that it makes no sense for someone that has been a part of the corruption in the past to get to officiate the biggest game in the Bundesliga. The young English midfielder who is having a terrific season at Dortmund was fined 44,000 for his comments; in closing, Jude Bellingham had to pay a fine for telling the truth as corruption highlights the Der Klassiker instead of the incredible football that we were treated to.

Atalanta Rolled out the Red Carpet they blew it

Inter Milan and Juventus both advanced to the Round of 16 in the Champions League. Inter Milan was given a death list of opponents while Juventus might have been given a less troubling road to the quarter-finals following winning the group; however, Juventus probably will not last all that long in this competition. There was a sense of hope that a third Italian team could possibly join them in the round of 16. Atalanta, over the last couple of years, has been one of the most intriguing stories in Italian football. The Run they have gone on and continue the Beyond is something truly incredible. They have made the Champions League in the last three seasons, and they will make it again this season have lost key players, including their best player ever in Papu Gomez, although that Gasperini has put together an outstanding attacking team capable of anything. Led by one of the most physical strikers in the world in duvan Zapata that continues to be one of the best players in Italian football along with surrounding pieces like Mario pasalic, Remo Freuler, Robin Gosen, Luis Muriel, and so many others. Collectively it is a solid a dynamic team that can damage you in so many different ways. They have been as consistent as anyone in Italian football this season there currently in the top three. They recently beat Napoli this weekend and were determined to secure their place in the round of 16; all they needed to do was win one game at home in their house at the Bergamo. It is a complicated place to get results, especially in Italy; going to the Bergamo is never a pleasant experience regardless of who the opponent is. It has been one of the most ferocious destinations in all of Serie A. Teams are capable of going there and getting results, but it’s never an easy road; it is challenging. Atalanta was in control in both the games against Manchester United as Cristiano Ronaldo rescued the Red Devils on both occasions. Atalanta put themselves in this position by not finishing the job and either of those games. Even though they were the better team on both nights, have they picked up maximum points, and even one of those games pressure relying on one game would not be there. Most likely, they would already have been qualified. This will be the first time in the last two years that they have not made it out of the group. Gasparini’s silly tactics cost of them against Real Madrid in the round of 16 last year, and the year before, they knocked out Valencia in the round of 16 before being just minutes away from making the semi-finals. Still, Neymar heroics and PSG knocked them out at the end of it. Atalanta had one job handle themselves against Villarreal; they have come up against teams of every shape and size and dealt with them at the Bergamo. This was a winner-take-all game; the winner of this game was going to finish second in the group, and the loser would have to go to the Europa League. It’s not as if the Europa League is a bad spot for Atalanta but considering they’ve been out of the group their last two years. It’s not exactly what the doctor ordered. They rolled out the red carpet for Villarreal, and they were absolutely pumped. Villarreal scored three unanswered goals before it was far too late. Duvan Zapata led a late charge, but it was just too late. This one, in particular, was on Gasparini; quite simply put, Atalanta bottled it was right there for them. A victory would have taken them into the Knockouts now; instead, they’re going to be dragged down to the Europa League. In fairness, they will go very far in the Europa League, but the game was there for them, and they let Villarreal run wild. If this match is being played in Spain, I understand it and you can live with that, but they got punked in their own house. You could say the draw with young boys throwing away a game from a winning position was crucial, as well as not finishing the games against Manchester United. Still, they made their bed, and it had a legitimate chance to go into the Knockouts in the most dramatic way possible with a big win against the Europa League winners, and they weren’t up for it. Gasparini deserves our respect and admiration for what he has created there in man-management and crucial tactical moments; he always falls flat on his face, and this was another example of it. Villarreal deserves a lot of credit; they were absolutely Unstoppable duvan Zapata as the leader of the troops, did everything possible to try to get his team back into it, but the hole was dug too deep, and Atalanta couldn’t fight their way back. This was a golden opportunity. Atalanta blew it.

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