This week, let’s start with title games:
All 3 title holders are playing away; Stoke is most likely to lose the title but most interesting game is Galatasaray- Fenerbahce to be played on Sunday. This fixture has been a lopsided affair in last 25 years. Galatasaray has been the most successful Turkish club in Europe. According to clubelo.com,Galatasaray gained 419 ELO points in European cups since 1950s. (Besiktas gained 118, Fenerbahce 94) But despite Galatasaray’s European and domestic success Fenerbahce has been an extremely tough opponent for them(us)- in total Galatasaray lost 214 ELO points to Fenerbahce in 111 games.
In most other derbies or big games average point lost per game is closer to 0 whereas this match-up has been an anomaly(~2pts). Over the years this theme has reinforced itself and now became a psychological factor. So it will be interesting to see if Galatasaray can beat Fenerbahce at home this time. There is not much at stake for Fenerbahce as they certainly will be crowned champions this year. Galatasaray is trying to secure the 2nd spot and an automatic place in CL next year as Fenerbahce is still banned for match-fixing. And of course Sandeman Key is at stake.
Next is dingoT
Barcelona claims the top spot! This seemed unlikely a month ago as Bayern was way ahead of the Spanish duo by more than 7 points. But forward looking metrics did not think Bayern will keep it up at that level. This is mainly due to Bayern already clinching the title and therefore having less to play for. But then the question becomes; can teams really switch it on and off for certain games. I guess CL will tell.
Dortmund also continues its drop and we will focus on them later. But overall Bayern’s drop from 1st and depreciation of other Geramn teams have contributed to Germany falling behind England in country rankings for the first time:
Basel and Fenerbahce are newcomers into top 40 at the expense of the French, and PSG is the only French team left in dingoT. More taxation(perhaps 125%?) will solve this problem for sure.
DAS FOKUS: BVB
Dortmund has been the sweetheart of soccer community last few of years. The titles it won at the expense of Bayern in 2011 and 2012 and its great run at CL title last year made a lot of romantically inclined soccer fans Dortmund sympathizers. Unfortunately Bayern which seems to be undertaking a strategy of monopolizing Bundesliga started poaching its players and future seems less bright. Focusing on this current season what has been working for BVB: (Highest dingoR’s-min 10 games)
Aubameyang has been a great pickup for BVB. He is extremely fast and efficient. Next 2 names on the list should not surprise anybody even though I would have expected a higher score for Lewandowski considering pundits’ love for him. We’ll see next year if he is as good as Mandzukic. How about lows?
I have never been really impressed with Weidenfeller and it is good to see dingoR agrees. BVB has a great eye for talent for attacking players but defensively they struggle in recruiting. Hummels is good (103.2) and Friedrich(34 y/o) would have made the best players list with 124.6 if he played 1 more game but Sokratis has been very weak. Injuries did not help but good goalies are not difficult to find and an upgrade in that department would help BVB push back into top 8 teams in Europe.
Finally What to Watch(Weekend):
2:30pm Hamburger SV vs Bayer Leverkusen: 19.4
7:45am Manchester City vs Southampton: 24.4
9:30am Augsburg vs Bayern München: 44.6
10:00am Newcastle United vs Manchester United : 38.9
10:00am Atlético Madrid vs Villarreal: 31.8
12:30pm Borussia Dortmund vs Wolfsburg: 38.2
2:00pm Real Sociedad vs Real Madrid: 79.2
8:30am Everton vs Arsenal: 78.1
11:00am West Ham United vs Liverpool: 24.0
12:00pm Galatasaray vs Fenerbahçe: 55.3 (Sandeman Key Title Game!)
2:45pm Parma vs Napoli: 38.2