Champions League is Back! Off to the Races | By Reginald Larbi

Though this past summer was a great soccer fete, with Euros and the Olympics, the one feeling all soccer fans missed was the chills sent down your spine by the official Champions League tune. The significance of this anthem is not only limited to the football field. Need reassurance? Watch the video below.

I grew up in a place where Champions League games were conveniently shown in the evening. Being a dedicated soccer fan on this side of the world means planning your schedule without classes between 1 pm and 3 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which is an art you should master. You might be tempted to stream a game online, but you don’t want to be that guy awkwardly screaming GOAL in your first-year chemistry class of 200 people.

With a new season brings along new hope. Every fan has the highest expectations for their team. From Dinamo Zagreb fans (who had to go through 3 rounds of qualification) to Chelsea fans, winners of last year’s competition. Being the avid fan I am, I headed to RATT on Tuesday with a friend to catch a game and have lunch… more like drinks. It was quite packed as usual, but most people weren’t there to watch soccer, but rather… for the drinks.

The biggest game on Tuesday was undoubtedly between Real Madrid and Manchester City. Both teams are in the “group of death” along with Borussia Dortmund and Ajax: all winners of their respective leagues last year. This game lived up to its billing, with Ronaldo netting a 90th minute winner for the Spanish champions. Ronaldo at least celebrated this time around, bringing an abrupt end to the “Cristiano is Sad” mini-series, which premiered barely 3 weeks ago. Madrid coach Mourinho’s celebration after Ronaldo’s match winner, was undoubtedly the icing on the cake. What’s  a $2,000 grass-stained suit to “the special one”, right? Dortmund beat Ajax in the other group game to tie at the top with Madrid after matchday one.

The largest margin winners on Tuesday were big-money spenders PSG, thrashing Dynamo Kiev 4-1. Elsewhere, there were wins for Arsenal, FC Porto, Schalke 04 and Malaga. Milan’s struggling season continued with a laboring 0-0 draw against Belgian side Anderlecht.

Wednesday night on matchday one  saw current champions Chelsea host Juventus. Much of the pre-match hype was attributed to the fact that Chelsea new boy Oscar was to be handed his Champions League debut. He proved his £25 million worth with two long-range goals, the second of which is definitely goal of the week.

However Juventus managed to come back from two goals down to tie the game, a result very well-deserved.

Perennial Champions League favorites Barcelona had to come from a goal behind to beat Spartak Moscow 3-2. Lionel Messi netted two goals, the second goal surprisingly being a header. There were also wins registered for big guns Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Matchday one ended up producing 43 goals, hopefully just the tip of the iceberg for an exciting season ahead.

Out here on the U of A campus, it will be nice to see people a little more enthusiastic about football, err… soccer! (I mean the NHL is on a lockout right?). RATT also has a fantastic set-up and screens games on each matchday. Develop a rapport with the bartender and you might be in for specials every time you show up.  So football fans, rally up and make yourselves seen! Till next matchday!

PS: Good luck to the Golden Bears Soccer team on their double header in Winnipeg this weekend. Also, best wishes to the Pandas Soccer as they host Mount Royal at Foote Field this Sunday at 2 pm.

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  • David Dein

    Ray Hudson Larbi 😐