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Barcelona vs. Bayer Leverkusen, 3-1

I didn't think that I would get to watch this Champions League game since I had a class in the afternoon, but we let out early and I was able to get to a computer and find a livestream in time to see almost the entire thing. And I was so glad that I had - even with a few favorite players off the bench for various reasons, this was the Barcelona I know and love, the team with 80% possession that ricochets the ball around like a pinball machine and makes world-class clubs look like amateurs by comparison.

Alexis Sanchez was the most visible candidate for Man of the Match - as always, that boy had more energy than any two players put together, and he managed to score two of the three goals, the first off a perfect pass from Leo Messi and the second off an assist from Cesc Fabregas. He might even have gotten a hat trick if he hadn't been subbed off for the last part of the game. Never mind that little Alexis has been vying for David Villa's crown as Offside King; he is a joy to watch, and when his timing is right to receive a pass, he's practically unstoppable.

A little May/December with our team captain, Alexis?

Messi made us all proud, too, although more as an attacking midfielder in Xavi's absence than as a striker. Dani Alves must have realized how badly Leo needed to make a goal given his recent string of off-target attempts, because when Messi passed to him towards the end of the game, he was in a perfect position to shoot himself - and instead chose to cross the ball back to Messi, who had to launch himself after it and slide on his ass to slip it past the defender and into the net. What an amazing goal! Part of me wanted to smack Dani upside the head for taking such a big risk when he could have gone for the easy shot... but the other part watched him hugging Messi and whispering into his ear during the goal celebration and teared up in affection and admiration.

Dani and Leo after the goal... are these guys too adorable, or what?

Kudos to the entire team for a game well-played, and of course to Pep Guardiola for making good choices with our line-up and tactics for this unexpectedly successful away game, and also for benching Pique... even if Pep claims that it was to rest him for the match without Mascherano this weekend and not because of how hard he's been sucking lately.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 15th, 2012 05:47 am (UTC)
You weren't in Cologne (Köln soccer sucks big time) and you were especially lucky because it wasn't cold. Cold front just over.Plus, even the German press didn't give Bayer a chance.
(I'd have made a pun on Aspirine myself).
Congrats, though, in finally seeing Barçaa back! Hope they're there to stay!
Feb. 15th, 2012 12:41 pm (UTC)
Sorry, my bad. They flew into Cologne. I lazily assumed that they were playing there.

It's really amazing how good they are when they're on... and how lousy they can be when they're not.
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:41 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this year Barça's keeping you all in a roller coaster. Of course my favorite online magazine is making fun of Leverkusen big time, essentially claiming they lost more than Barcelona won.

"Dabei hätten die Akteure für einen Sieg nur jenen Einsatz aufbringen müssen, den sie bei der Jagd nach Lionel Messis Trikot zeigten." They could have won if they had put into the game the same energy they showed in their hunt for Messi's shirt. (see link for image).

Der Spiegel is based in Hamburg, in the Protestant, poorer, and soccer-deprived North; Schadenfreude is indeed a German word.

They flew into Cologne.
I should have gone and grabbed a signed photo :). (How do you even know what airport they flew into to?)
Feb. 15th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
They could have won if they had put into the game the same energy they showed in their hunt for Messi's shirt. (see link for image).

LOL, I thought before I checked the link that they were referring to the jersey exchange at the end of the game. Actually Barcelona got off easy this time. Often the other Spanish teams really roughhouse them and practically tear the shirts off the strikers.

Schadenfreude is indeed a German word.

I know that word, actually. There's a whole song about it on the Avenue Q soundtrack :D.

I should have gone and grabbed a signed photo :).

I didn't know you were in/near Cologne! I have an old friend who used to live in Dusseldorf, and I've visited Cologne with her.

(How do you even know what airport they flew into to?)

I stalk them :D. My spies are everywhere. No, actually, FCB has a website that publishes little articles about the team. That's where I got most of the photos (the one of Alexis and Puyol is from Puyol's Twitter). Although I think in this case I knew because Pique and Messi both tweeted about it.

Edited at 2012-02-15 02:54 pm (UTC)
Feb. 15th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
I'm not very near, but the whole region has an incredibly efficient public transport network. E.g., the train from Cologne to Frankfurt Airport (120 miles approx) takes one hour. Cologne to Paris (300 miles) is three hours.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )



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