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UEFA Champions League






Real Madrid highlight Day 2 of Matchday 4 in the UEFA Champions League. Caretaker coach Santiago Solari has steered the defending champions away from what appears to be a free fall in the last weeks of Julen Lopetegui, who got fired as manager following the 5-1 humiliation by Barcelona at Camp Nou.

In six matches before them at home and in the continent, Los Blancos won only one match in six straight fixtures – and that was against tonight’s opposition at Santiago Bernabeu. A 2-1 win over lightweight Plzeň is quite pedestrian considering Madrid’s pedigree.

Solari has produced 100% percent result since he took over temporarily – one victory in the Copa del Rey followed by another in LaLiga. With the lacklustre performance of Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio at the weekend against Real Valladolid, Isco may be an inclusion on the left of Solari’s three man attack. It is speculated that former Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois may make his Champions League debut for Madrid in place of Keylor Navas.


Madrid won the first leg at home 2-1 and lead Group G on superior goal difference over AS Roma, who are away to CSKA Moscow.

In Rome two weeks ago, Roma beat CSKA 3-0, and the Russian side will be striving at a positive result to step up to second place, at the least.

The teams have met five times in UEFA competitions with Roma winning three times and CSKA once.

Juventus will qualify from Group H for the Round of 16 if they avoid defeat at home to Manchester United who are on revenge mission at Turin. The Old Lady triumphed at Old Trafford 1-0 in the first leg.

Attention will be focused on Cristiano Ronaldo who is yet to score in his last five Champions League matches, including three in the shirts of Juventus. Since converting a 90th minute penalty against his present club for Real Madrid in April, the top class act has played 389 matches and attempted 15 shots without success in the continental competition.


United have only four points from a possible nine and may not advance beyond the group stage unless they produce results beginning from tonight’s match. Jose Mourinho’s side have failed to score in their last two Champions League fixtures.

Valencia breathe down on Manchester United being only two points behind the English club. The LaLiga team settled for a 1-1 result in the reverse fixture away to Young Boys, who are at the foot of the table with one point from three matches.

In Group E, Bayern München and AFC Ajax set the pace, and both sides will book their spots in the second round if they achieve a double over their respective opponents.

The Bavarians are occupying the unlikely third spot in the Bundesliga, which they have won a record 28 times, including successively in the last six seasons. The Germans will have to prove they remain a major force by achieving a double over  AEK Athens having won the first leg away 2-0.

Whichever of the top teams in this group that failed to win will still remain in the Round of 16 qualification range since Benfica, in No 3, are presently four points adrift of the top two. Benfica host AFC Ajax, who won the first leg 1-0.


Manchester City are ruthless at home, leading the charge in the English Premier League after winning nine matches and drawing the remaining two. But they need to translate that form to Europe.

In Group F, City have won two and lost one but held on to top spot with one point above Olympique Lyonnais.

Pep Guardiola’s squad are expected to deal with the challenge by Shakhtar Donetsk tonight, who lost the first leg 3-0.

Lyon, in second place in the group, squandered the opportunity to pick maximum points in their last group match as hosts Hoffenheim drew level 3-3 in added time. Another opportunity presents itself for Lyon tonight to go one gear up as they host the German side, who have garnered only two points from their first three group fixtures.



Group E: 

  • Bayern München v AEK Athens (first leg Bayern München 2-0)
  • Benfica v AFC Ajax (first leg AFC Ajax 1-0) (both 9pm)

Group F: 

  • Olympique Lyonnais v 1899 Hoffenheim (first leg 3-3)
  • Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk (first leg Manchester City 3-0) (9pm)

Group G: 

  • CSKA Moscow v AS Roma (first leg AS Roma 3-0) (6:55pm),
  • FC Viktoria Plzeň v Real Madrid (first leg Real Madrid 2-1) (9pm)


Group H: 

  • Valencia v Young Boys (first leg 1-1) (6:55pm)
  • Juventus v Manchester United (first leg Juventus 1-0) (9pm)

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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UEFA Champions League

Fans Set for Magical Night with Heineken as Dortmund Dares Madrid in Wembley Showdown



Fans and consumers enjoying the special moments of UEFA Champions League by Heineken

Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid are set to lock horns in the 2024 UEFA Champions League final at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Saturday, June 1 2024.

As a proud sponsor of the Champions League for over two decades, Heineken is all set to elevate the viewing experience for this epic showdown.

Maria Shadeko, Portfolio Manager of Premium Drinks at Nigerian Breweries Plc., perfectly captures this essence:

She said: “We want to give our loyal consumers and football fans a unique viewing experience to cap off a remarkable football season. We understand that not everyone can make it to Wembley, but that doesn’t mean they can’t experience the magic of the final. Heineken wants to create an atmosphere replicating the stadium’s electrifying energy, right here in Nigeria.”

Football fans having a wonderful time at Heineken viewing experience last season

Having successfully championed the “Cheers to the Real Hardcore Fans” campaign, Heineken has carefully curated a nationwide network of exclusive venues to transform the Champions League final viewing experience for everyone nationwide.


Unforgettable viewing experience

In Lagos, the centre of attraction will be at the Jewel Aeida on Lekki while others can also join the passionate crowd at Lagos Terraform or team alongside fellow hardcore fans at the Green House on Oba Adeyinka Oyinkan Ave, Ikoyi.

Fans and loyal consumers in the Center of Excellence can also witness the magic unfold at Stalad Gardens in Abule Egba.

Abuja residents can raise a toast to the champions at Papiee’s Meatro on Ahmadu Bello Way, or experience the match in luxurious comfort at the Transcorp Hilton on Aguyi Ironsi Street.

Those in the ancient city of Ibadan are not left out, they can celebrate with fellow fans at Ori Oke Clustered Market in Mokola. In Benin City, fans can catch the action at the trendy 130 Degree Lounge.


Fans heading east can cheer their team alongside fellow football fanatics at Chilis Bar and Grill in Owerri, or celebrate at New Berries on Abakaliki Road, Enugu.  For those in Awka, IBIZA on Abakaliki Street is the place to be.

Down south, Port Harcourt fans can experience the final at Oak Park and Gardens or 15 on Hebert.

A Clash of Titans

This year’s final promises to be a thrilling encounter. Borussia Dortmund, a young and vibrant team will be looking to conquer Europe for the first time since 1997. Standing in their way is the mighty Real Madrid, boasting a squad brimming with experience and a hunger for their 15th Champions League title.

Maria Shadeko elaborates on the significance of the match: “This final is a clash of styles. Dortmund’s attacking prowess is undeniable, while Real Madrid are known for their tactical brilliance and experience in high-pressure situations. It’s a match that should offer us goals, drama, and everything that makes Champions League football so special.”

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UEFA Champions League

Italy and Germany to have five clubs in 2024-25 Champions League



How CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup Draw will be conducted

Italy and Germany have earned an extra spot in the Champions League next season after their clubs performed well in European competitions this season, Europe’s soccer governing body UEFA said on Friday.

With the Champions League expanding to 36 teams next season, UEFA said two of the four additional places would be filled by European Performance Spots which go to associations “with the best collective performance by their clubs” in UEFA competitions.

After the semi-final legs of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League concluded this week, UEFA said Italy and Germany are guaranteed to finish in the top two of the 2023-24 association club coefficients.

As things stand, Borussia Dortmund are outside the top four in the Bundesliga but will qualify in fifth place.

Dortmund are also in the Champions League final where they will play Real Madrid and should they beat the Spanish giants, they would qualify as winners anyway.


Their German rivals and Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen are in the Europa League final where they will face Italian side Atalanta, who currently hold on to fifth place in Serie A with a game in hand.

But AS Roma are also in contention, with both teams on 60 points while Lazio are four points behind.

Premier League clubs Manchester City and Arsenal exited the Champions League in the quarter-finals which hurt England’s chances of improving its club coefficient.

Aston Villa — who were knocked out of the Europa Conference League semi-finals on Thursday — can seal the fourth and final spot if they win their next game to deny fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur a place in the Champions League.


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UEFA Champions League

PSG can take positives despite missing out on Champions League again



Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Paris St Germain v Borussia Dortmund - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - May 7, 2024 Paris St Germain coach Luis Enrique and Kylian Mbappe look dejected after the match REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnie

Paris St Germain missed a golden opportunity to reach their second Champions League final, but it was not all doom and gloom at the French club after a season of transition with a new coach.

The Ligue 1 champions were knocked out in the semi-finals on Tuesday after a 1-0 defeat against Borussia Dortmund for a 2-0 aggregate loss, having hit the woodwork six times over the two legs and managed 31 attempts at the Parc des Princes.

“We were not inferior over the two legs, but football rewards those who score not those who hit the woodwork,” said PSG coach Luis Enrique.

“My goal was to be fighting for all the titles. Tonight I’m proud of my team, of all the players.”

PSG won the Ligue 1 title and have the French Cup final to come later this month.


“We weren’t efficient, they were efficient, they scored two goals and won both matches. There’s a lot to take back from this competition,” captain Marquinhos told reporters.

“At the start of the season, nobody believed we’d get this far. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles, but we can’t throw everything away now just because we’ve been eliminated. We have to remember that this is a new project, with a new coach.

“There are positive things to take into the next season.”

PSG have now lost all six legs of their three two-legged Champions League semi-finals, after double defeats against AC Milan in 1995 and Manchester City in 2021.

The year they reached the final, in 2020, they beat RB Leipzig in a one-off semi-final after COVID-19 disrupted the season. They lost in the final against Bayern Munich.


This season started with a new coach in Luis Enrique and without Lionel Messi and Neymar as club president Nasser al-Khelaifi put an emphasis on building a team over individual talents.

While not always brilliant, PSG have looked like an organised outfit and the coach said he was already working on building a team without Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to leave at the end of the season.

“The players and coach gave their all. Congratulations to Dortmund, we deserved better. It’s a tough game. I’m proud of my team, the youngest in Europe,” Al-Khelaifi said.

“We’ve reached the semi-finals three times in five years. That’s not our objective, it’s still the final. That’s soccer, you have to accept it and sometimes it’s not fair. We’ll accept it.”



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