- April 19, 2016
19th April 2016.
Not too long ago, we were speculating about Barcelona winning a second treble in a row, or about Paris Saint Germain taking what they've done in France the last few years and translating it into their first-ever Champions League win. Both of those narratives were dashed against the rocks in the quarterfinal rounds, where Barcelona crashed out of the 2015/16 Champions League in jarring fashion and where PSG fell in an upset to Manchester City.
Now, with just four teams and two rounds remaining in the competition, the stakes have been ramped up another few notches. What happened for the UCL's once-guaranteed frontrunners, and what's next for Europe's most prestigious club football tournament? Read on to find out.
Heading into the quarterfinals, FC Barcelona seemed like the safest of bets to charge right on through to the semis. After all, Barca have advanced to the semifinals
- March 22, 2016
22nd March 2016
On March 18th, the UEFA officially announced the draw for the Champions League quarterfinal round. For the most part, the matchups for the next round of Europe's most prestigious soccer tournament look to have clear favorites. However, as we saw from the semifinals-where Bayern Munich of all teams had to win their second leg match in extra time-there is no such thing as a sure thing in this ultra-competitive tournament.
The lineup for the quarterfinals shows beyond a doubt that the La Liga is the strongest league in European football right now. The Spanish top-flight accounts for three of the eight quarterfinal spots, with FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid all earning spots. Two Bundesliga teams are also in the mix (Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg), while England, France, and Portugal grabbed one slot apiece (for Manchester City, Paris
- March 21, 2016
In terms of UEFA coefficient rankings (and judging by the last few Champions League and Europa League tournaments), the Spanish La Liga is the best football league in Europe. The English Premier League, meanwhile, is incredibly wealthy and is consistently cited as the most fiercely competitive division in all of soccer. While these two leagues boast plenty of virtues, though, there is one key superlative they do not have: the top stadium attendance in Europe.
Germany's Impressive Numbers
Indeed, on February 25th, the German Bundesliga announced its spectator figures for the first half of the 2015/16 campaign. According to the report, a grand total of 6,478,680 soccer fans came out to see the 153 Bundesliga games that took place between August and December 2015. That number figures out to a per-match average of 42,344 spectators-not only the highest tally of any league in Europe but also the highest of any football
- March 14, 2016
Who is the best active manager in football? A year or two ago, the likes of Jose Mourinho, Louis van Gaal, Jurgen Klopp, and Carlo Ancelotti all would have likely made the shortlist. Now, though, Mourinho has been sacked from Chelsea, Louis van Gaal has failed to create another dynasty at Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp resigned from Borussia Dortmund following a disappointing 2014/15 season (and has been arguably underwhelming at Liverpool), and Carlo Ancelotti was sacked from the Real Madrid job after failing to win a title during the 2014/15 campaign.
All of those coaches still have claims to greatness-particularly Ancelotti, whose sacking was arguably unjust and who will have another chance to prove his pedigree when he takes over at Bayern Munich this summer. Until then, though, it's probably fair to cut the battle for the best active manager title down to two prime contenders: current Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola and FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique.
- March 13, 2016
Last season, the DFB Pokal was easily the most surprising event in German football. In fact, it might have been one of the most surprising events in all of European soccer. Bayern Munich were in the midst of yet another dominant season in the Bundesliga and were widely expected to win yet another German Cup. Had the Bavarians won the DFB Pokal, it would have been their third trophy in a row in the event, and their 18th overall.
Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, were in the midst of one of their worst seasons ever-a campaign that saw the venerated club drop from second place in the Bundesliga to seventh, and one that pushed the widely respected Jurgen Klopp to resign his post as BVB's manager. In 2013/14, Dortmund had lost to Bayern Munich in the DFB Pokal, falling behind 0-2 in extra time. When the two clubs were drawn against one another for a semi-final match, the writing seemed to be on the wall that Dortmund's last shot at redemption in the 2014/15 season was about to
- March 11, 2016
By Karl Matchett.
Carlo Ancelotti won't rock up at the Allianz Arena until summer, when Pep Guardiola in turn leaves for the Premier League and Manchester City, but already there are suggestions and rumours as to who the Italian will want at the Bundesliga club for next season.
The first big name featured in the rumour mill over the last few days is attacking playmaker Mario Gotze, with the German unable to really establish himself as a guaranteed starter since leaving Borussia Dortmund for their great rivals. With one year left on his contract, Gotze has been linked with a host of sides outside of the Bundesliga and the suggestion is that Ancelotti doesn't see a future for him at Bayern.
He's unlikely to be the only one facing that prospect.Â
- March 07, 2016
Right now, Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, and arguably even West Ham United are all battling to clinch one of the English Premier League's top four spots. As in previous years, the top four clubs in the division this season will qualify for the Champions League-with the top three earning entry into the group stage and the fourth-place club heading into the final play-off round.
The race for these four slots is even more intense this year, given the fact that last year's EPL champion-Chelsea FC-has very little chance of qualifying for the Champions League. As such, clubs that haven't traditionally qualified for Europe's most prestigious tournament in the past-Leicester, Tottenham, and West Ham are getting ever close to breaking the cycle in 2016.
But what if England didn't get four spots in the Champions League? Recent rumors have suggested that the Premier League could, at some point in the not-too-distant future, be
- February 15, 2016
On February 1st, the football world got arguably its biggest bombshell of 2016 so far: an announcement that Pep Guardiola would be succeeding Manuel Pellegrini as head coach at Manchester City. The news had been rumored, of course. It was back in December that Guardiola first announced that he would leave Bayern Munich at the end of the 2015/16 season, and speculation about where he would go next has been hot fodder for soccer pundits ever since. The only hint was that Pep wanted to coach in the Premier League, a clue that left Manchester United, Chelsea, and Manchester City as the Spanish manager's most likely destinations.
Guardiola's Impressive Record
On the surface, the question of whether or not Pep Guardiola will succeed at Manchester City seems like one
- February 14, 2016
Last summer, the headlines were everywhere: the German Bundesliga was falling behind other European soccer leagues in terms of finances. The English Premier League had recently sold domestic television rights for £5.136 billion for a three-season deal. In July, Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge finally vocalized what many people in the German football world had to be feeling: unless the Bundesliga acts soon, the league will fall permanently behind the English top-flight and other European leagues.
A Look at the Premier League's New Broadcasting Deal
Certainly, the numbers favored Rummenigge's prediction. Starting with the 2016/17 season, all 20 teams in the English Premier League will get a cut of the £5+ billion TV deal. According to Goal.com, the new TV contract is a 71% boost over the last television deal the Premier League signed in 2012. Each football club in the Premier League will bag a reported £81
- February 08, 2016
There may be a few other kit manufacturers on the battlefield-like Puma or the newly involved New Balance-but for the most part, Adidas and Nike are the rulers of the football kit market. Ahead of the 2015/16 season, these two sporting gear companies held nine of the 11 most valuable kit manufacturing contracts in all of soccer. Judging just on contract price, Adidas was winning the battle at the start of the season, holding all four of the most valuable kit deals (Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, and Real Madrid). Nike's top soccer properties, meanwhile-Barcelona, Manchester City, and Paris Saint Germain-aren't quite as high-grossing, since those deals were all signed two or more years ago.
But what about aesthetic and performance? Whose jerseys look better this season and whose kits have been worn by the better-performing football clubs? Read on for Soccer Box's rundown of who made the better football kits for the 2015/16 campaign.