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To Monaco!

By that, I mean Munich of course. I did not mention in my Calcio dictionary post Italian names for cities, because it's not calcio and there'd be far to many! But Monaco is one that confuses a lot of non-Italian speaking Serie A fans, as the Italian name for Munich is of course, Monaco. Anyways, preview of the tomorrow's best Champions League game after the jump.

Juventus- We had a great start to the season, but it's slowed down a bit with draws against Genoa and Bologna. Avoidable draws, as Chiellini rightly called the Bologna match, 2 lost points. (WDWDD)
Bayern Munich- After a shaky start in the Bundesliga, the Germans have turned it up a notch, scoring plenty and romping to victory over the last month. But they lost this weekend to HSV, 1-0. (LWWWW)


We were drawn with them twice in the group stages, in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006. In 2004-2005, we defeated them 1-0 away and home. The next season, they defeated us 2-1 in Munich and we reversed it to win at home. Brazzo was playing for Bayern back then, whereas Nedved and Ibrahimovic both got on the score sheet for us. Ciro Ferrara played in the 1996 CL win over Ajax, then coached by Louis van Gaal.

Juventus- Chimenti will be starting for us in goal, as Buffon has made far too many errors recently. (Louis Van Gaal is reading) In defense, the only injury we have is Cannavaro who will be back in about a week and Brazzo is doubtful. Grosso returns from his rest this weekend, so the only question is who to play at right-back. Zebina started this weekend, possibly by choice, but maybe Ferrara wanted to rest Grygera. The douche played well, with a great run to provide the assist for Trezeguet's first goal, so he might get the nod.

In midfield, we are missing Sissoko and Tiago. The center-mids are pretty assured- Felipe Melo, Marchisio, and Camoranesi, though perhaps if one is particularly tired Poulsen might get a chance, but I hope not. Ferrara has not been clear on whether he will start Diego or not, saying," I do not want to advantage our opponents therefore I’ll decide only tomorrow who is going to play and by which means facing Bayern. Diego? Sunday he played about fifty minutes and his conditions are improving, we’ll see if lining him up since the first minute or during the match». I'm guessing he is going to get the starting shirt, though.

Attack is a bit of a conundrum as always. Iaquinta is certain to start, having been rested Sunday. Del Piero will not start, he has only played 10minutes or so in the last month so it would be a poor idea to play him, we have no idea what kind of form or shape he's in. So the shootout is between Amauri and Trezeguet for the 2nd player, I don't think there's any doubt on who it'll be. Amauri started the season well but is still suffering from a mental block in front of goal. Trez hasn't done shit, but he's scored 2 goals in a week, cannot argue with results.

Starting XI: (4-3-1-2) Chimenti; Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, Grosso; Camoranesi, Melo, Marchisio; Diego; Iaquinta, Trezeguet

Considering how well we played with a 4-4-2 in Diego's absence against Genoa, maybe we should give that a shot occasionally when he and Giovinco are out.

Could this guy be any more stereotypically German?

Bayern Munich- Bayern spent a lot of money this summer, signing Robben, Olic, Anatoliy Tymoshchuk (from Zenit), and Mario Gomez. Robben and Ribery were listed as day-to-day and did not participate in practice yesterday, but will be playing. Demichelis, van Bommel, and Toni* are injured and not ready to play.

* By injured for Luca Toni, I mean Louis van Gaal told him to GTFO this summer and he didn't.

Predicted XI: (4-3-3) Butt; Lahm, Van Buyten, Badstuber, Braafheid; Altintop, Tymoshchuk, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Gomez, Ribery

Haha. They have a keeper named Butt. I guess Michael Rensing wasn't the new Kahn after all. Supposedly Schweiny has been in pretty shitty form recently, so that's good news. I'm not entirely sure how Robben and Ribery play with Schweiny in the midfield behind them....especially with Lahm on that flank, what the hell, I guess this team does not believe in moving it through the middle.

Juventus- Iaquinta: Vinny has been bailing us out thus far with good goals and a great striker ratio over the last 6 months, but he still doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Bayern Munich- Ribery: Cause he's scary good. And by scary I mean I'm refraining from making any comments on how unbelievably hideously, scarily ugly he is and focusing solely on his play.

Bashful v. Grumpy: Push: Ferrara and Van Gaal are very, very different types of people. Ferrara is pretty quiet, though don't mistake that for weak. Van Gaal is loud and boastful, when asked about losing to HSV this weekend, he responded "Well, we're playing on Wednesday so at least we can get our winning streak bad." Ferrara is relatively inexperienced, Van Gaal has won CLs as a coach and has been coaching for 18 years now. Ferrara has stuck with two teams his life, Napoli and Juve, whereas Van Gaal has been passed around the Netherlands more than Sylvie van der Vaart. It'll be an interesting match-up.

BMW v. FIAT- Push: Cause the Germans always win, so say the English. Except they don't. German football is based on power and efficiency, Italian football is calculating and tactical. We've triumphed over Munich and the Azzurri over Germany in terms of silverware, let's hope we can triumph tomorrow.

Scarface/Dutch Zidane v Grosso/Who?- ZZ/FR: Barzagli says our fullbacks need to watch out. No shit, Andrew, are you taking calcio classes up in Germany? Maybe you could learn how to defend. Our fullbacks are not exactly our strong point, though they've improved a bit with the addition of Grosso. But we're up against two of the best wingers in the world...scary. Last season in Madrid, Molinaro was able to contain Robben well, so maybe we can do the same with better players. Regarding Robben, watching him last season when I was in Madrid was utterly frustrating. For every genius move he does, there's 1,000 terrible final balls. Bayern got him for a non-superinflated price though.

Keyser Giorgio v. German Luca Toni- The Schnozz: Gomez is a good striker...but Giorgio is a better defender.

Not Kahn v. Superman-
Superman: The only butts I know are mine, a few special women, and I guess Nicky Butt.

PREDICTIONS AND PREVIEWS: I'd like to hope for a win, but I'm expecting a 1-1 draw, Trez and Ribery. A win, however ugly, would be more than welcomed.'s preview's preview


Del Piero: «We should give all»

«We come from two draws, and therefore this will be an important and delicate match. It’s enough to see Juve’s and Bayern’s titles to understand the importance of these two clubs. Tomorrow match will be felt with tension, agonism, concentration, and we’ll have to do all we can to bring home the result. We want to succeed after Sunday draw and there could not be better occasion to find it ». Alessandro Del Piero is strongly motivated. The captain is finally back to tasting the pitch, also if for a few minutes, vs. Bologna and now he wants to be the main character again, even knowing that after a long stop it will be right to take it easy:
«Sensations I had Sunday were clearly limitated and I went out of the pitch like all my mates, with a bitter taste, therefore I really want to recuperate. Concerning tomorrow, the trainer we’ll see how and when ask me to play. Naturally this is a particular moment, considering that I come back after a long time. Which role do I see for myself in Juve? The same as one month ago, that is being the captain and one of the players who has to give all he can to achieve victory».

Alex has already been the main character of important challenges vs. Bayern in 2004/05 and in 2005/06 and he sees no difference with the past: «Bayern kept strength as a club and as a reference point in German Championship. They won a lot at European level and they are used to get to the end. They have always built teams with great players, keeping the team consistency that characterizes German soccer. I see many similarities between old Bayern and nowadays’ one».

Germany evokes memories in the captain: «It represents a very beautiful experience to me, because even though I lost a Champions League final vs. a German team, here I won a World Cup».

Monaco in these days, considering the concomitance with Oktoberfest is full of Italian, ready to support Juventus: «I believe they came here for a different reason – Alex smiles – but maybe also to see Juve win. We’d be glad to please them: in Germany, Italian community is big and supporter’s affection abroad towards our teams is very strong, therefore we have a further reason to do better».

Van Gaal: «Juve is of a high level. It will be an important test»

«After the match against Maccabi we have to win this match too, in order to keep Juventus ata greater distance. Surely we’ll be able t play more tranquilly than them». Louis Van Gaal, Bayern Munich coach, during the press conference, clarified the intentions of the Bavarian side: «We are improving – he continued – and tomorrow’s is an important test. Juventus ahs a defence of high level, a young squad and players of great personality like Diego and Del Piero. It will be a difficult match». Luca Toni will not be playing: «He is not yet 100% fit even though he thinks he is. When he is ready I will know. Robben or Ribery? Yesterday they did not brain but we will study their conditions until the very end».

Besides van Gaal, the press conference also saw the participation of Robben and Schweinsteiger. The first said that «the match against Juve will be one of a very high level, as is always the case in the Champions League», while the German national, seeing that the Juve defence is in the majority that of the Italian national team is thinking of a revenge for the defeat suffered during the World Cup semi-final in 2006: «I have already had my revenge against Grosso when he played for Lyon. It will not be easy but seeing there is the Oktoberfest let us hope they drink tonight and return home defeated» he concluded, generating a row of laughter.

Ferrara: «A “Juve” style match is necessary»

«We must play a match in Juve style. We’ll do our best to play to gain victory, for standings and for our path in this pool ». Ferrara rings the bell: Juventus, after draw vs. Bordeaux, needs points and the match vs. Bayern represents an important occasion. Germany’s trainer, Van Gaal, underlined that for Bavarians, it’s almost like a match ball, considering that in case of victory the gap between the two teams would go up to five points: «It’s natural they think this way and that they try to make the most from the home match. It will be tough for us, but it won’t be easy for them too, to face such a Juventus. We go playing this match with great respect but also with personality. Motivations are very high».
Ferrara expects a thrilled match, of great intensity: «We know German teams’ characteristics; they never give up, until the end. We’ll find a very tough match. When pools were pulled out, Bayern was in a particular moment, but now it recovered. They bought new players and they can create dangers any moment with people such as Olic, Robben, Ribery, Mueller who, even though he’s very young, does very good things. Moreover the team is directed by a master: it took me fifteen minutes to read all he won in his career…».

Concerning the possible players, the trainer naturally does not overbalance: «I do not want to advantage our opponents therefore I’ll decide only tomorrow who is going to play and by which means facing Bayern. Diego? Sunday he played about fifty minutes and his conditions are improving, we’ll see if lining him up since the first minute or during the match».