Perhaps apologies are due to Pep Guardiola.The Catalan won a lot at Bayern Munich but could not help the German record title holders hit the heights in the Champions League. He presided over three disappointing campaigns, each of which ended at the semi-final stageagainst Spanish opponents.Carlo Ancelotti then was supposed to the breath of fresh air that made Bayern go the extra step. The club were swapping a league specialist for a European one and matchday two against Atletico Madrid in the Vicente Calderon was an interesting first away day assignment. Mission failed.At times it was difficult to work out where Guardiola’s Bayern finished and Ancelotti’s began. Bayern dominated the possession, missed their chances and were made to pay on the break through a great Yannick Carrasco Ferreira goal.The defeat – after a record-breaking sequence of eight consecutive wins – continues a worrying trend for the Bavarians. They are losing at an alarming rate away in Europe. There is little point in assuming that they’ll have the quality to rectify the situation later in the season. That has been proven wrong before and they simply must start picking up wins.Bayern have won only two of their last 11 away matches in the Champions League, losing six in theprocess. You’d have to go back to April 2012 in order to count six away Bundesliga defeats for Bayern and three of those came when the league title was already won.
slam Slimani was an icon at Sporting before his £28 million transfer to Leicester and he signed off from duty in Lisbon with a goal against Porto in the Liga NOS at theend of August.He was known in Portugal as the “Dragon Slayer” due to his propensity for scoring goals against Porto – nicknamed the Dragons. He scored five times in 2016 alone against Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas and the Spanish veteran must have been glad to see the back of the Algerianwhen he departed for the Premier League.Slimani, however, continues to haunt Porto. The strapping centre-forward stooped to head the Foxes into a 1-0 need they never relinquished on matchday two, meaning Claudio Ranieri’s side are two points clear of Copenhagen at the top of their group with a double header against the Danes to come.Given their domestic struggles this season, it is clear that Leicester areprioritising their Champions Leaguecampaign. They have a proven goalscorer in Slimani, who has prompted a change in approach in attack, and should have enough of an advantage to cause problems late on. Worryingly for San Iker, they have to play Porto once more.
EVENTFUL WEEK FOR CHAMPION QUARESMA
It’s been an eventful week for Ricardo Quaresma, the Euro 2016-winning winger. He was roundly criticised for missing a gilt-edged chance in Saturday’s Istanbul derby draw against Galatasaray which could have sealed all three points for Besiktas in injury time and celebrated his 33rd birthday on Monday.He was back in Champions League action on Wednesday night as Besiktas tried to capitalise on their opening-day draw away at Benfica. They got off to the best possible start thanks to Quaresma. He stoodover a free kick and bent a stupendous effort past the DynamoKyiv goalkeeper which his great friend Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud of.It was not enough to earn the three points for the Black Eagles but again signposted the upturn in formthat Quaresma has had of late. A league winner last season, he followed that up with a glorious rebirth at the Euros with Portugal. Ronaldo and Quaresma emerged together at Sporting around the turnof the century and there is no doubting who has enjoyed the better career.However, “the Mustang” is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance at this late stage of his career which is a joy to see.
DYBALA BACK IN THE GOAL GROOVE
Paulo Dybala was criticised for failing to take enough shots this season and failing to put himself into threatening positions. Last week’s 4-0 dismissal of Cagliari should have been the game to get him back on track and allow him to open his goal scoring account for the season but it passed with more questions than answers.The Argentine was subsequently dropped for the weekend Serie A game against former club Palermo.However, Dybala was given a show of faith by coach Massimiliano Allegri on Tuesday when he was selected for the trip to Dinamo Zagreb and he delivered a dream performance in tandem with Gonzalo Higuain. Not only did Dybala win the free kick which prompted Dani Alves’s goal, he scored an extraordinary effort in hisown right.“It’s tough when you don’t score butI found the net tonight,” he toldUefa.comafter the game. “I thoughtI was doing OK anyway, so long as the team are winning and I don’t score, it’s fine. I continue playing in the same way and I just do what thecoach says.”The 22-year-old scored 23 times in his maiden Juventus campaign but lost the knack during the early part of this campaign. His strike in Zagreb, however, will not only remind Allegri and Juve supporters but also the player himself of his capabilities.
GREAT DANES COPENHAGEN INCREDIBLE RUN CONTINUES
Watch Copenhagen’s second goal in their 4-0 home victory against Club Brugge on Tuesday night and tell me it doesn’t have all the hallmarks of things just going right. Captain Thomas Delaney caught a left-footed strike sweetly on the bounce and it flew unerringly into the top corner. Honestly, you’ll not see a better goal in the Champions League this season.It was a strike that could only be produced by a team in form – a confident outfit who expect to gain a result in every match they play.The opener – an own goal from Stefano Denswil – and a couple more from Federico Santander and Mathias Jorgensen put the result beyond doubt.Copenhagen are currently on a 21-game unbeaten run after being crowned Danish champions for the 11th time. Their win against Bruggefollowed an opening day draw against Porto, proving enough evidence to suggest that the side coached by Stale Solbakken are genuine contenders to emerge from the group.Leicester City, the English champions with two wins from two,lie in wait with a double header in store. If Copenhagen emerge from those games unscathed, a lot more people will sit up and take notice.