Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Champions League Semis: Schalke vs Manchester United (1st Leg)

Schalke vs Manchester United (1st Leg)
April 27 @ 2:30AM 

Edwin Van der Sar, one of Man U’s dependable figures, chases one last Champions League glory.  The 40 year-old Dutch goalie is set to retire after this season. But will an old foe, in the person of Raul, stand in his way? I love how eufa.com calls them the “two golden oldies” but it kinda makes me feel old as when I started to follow football and the Champions League, these two “golden oldies” were at the heights of their careers. Now they are at their twilight (why do I sound so poetic today??? I almost typed in “the epic battle” to describe this match… I think I’ve watched too many Barney scenes in HIMYM).

Man U are the match favorites with their Ryan Giggs (another “golden oldie”), Van der Sar, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson.  But I will be rooting for Schalke. This may be Schalke's first ever trip to the Champions League semi-finals but, who knows, maybe they could stage another surprising upset like they did with their 5-2 victory against the defending champions, Inter Milan (and to think it was an away game).

I like Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick’s outlook, he says, “Who knows how many of these players will play in a match like this in the coming years? The same goes for me. This is my biggest game so far judging by the attention it is getting in general and from the media. Surely, over the course of these two games, Manchester have more to lose than us. We have to stay focused but also enjoy this.”

With all this talk of golden oldies, let’s now take a look at the up-and-coming players. Could Schalke’s Manuel Neuer be the next Van der Sar?
He’s kinda cute, don’t you think?
photo courtesy of Getty Images

Interesting fact: Raul may have scored 71 Champions League goals and he's a serious threat to defense (scoring a goal every two games), but he has never scored against Van der Sar in the competition. Another interesting fact, Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign Raul when he left Real Madrid. But because Raul already had some sort of verbal agreement with Schalke, he turned down Man U’s offer (coz he’s classy that way :P).

Stadium: Arena AufSchalke (Schalke‘s home turf)

More great news articles on the match here:

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