9/17/18 Champ League Tues/Wed, CHS Ladies Pack the House Fri Night 9/21 – Free Admin with Jersey, Indy 11 home 9/26


Carmel High School

The 4th ranked Carmel High Girls face #3 Noblesville tonight away and #19 Brebeuf Thurs and Zionsville Sat at home at Murray Stadium all at 7 pm.  Saturday night 9/21 is PACK THE HOUSE NIGHT- SENIOR NIGHT.  FREE ADMISSION if you wear your Carmel FC or Carmel Dad’s Club Jersey! 

chs_packhouse922

Champions League Group Stages

So Champions League group stages are back –not sure yet how the heck to watch the games.  First things first – find TNT on the your Cable because that is the channel that will be carrying Champions League this season unfortunately.  As much as folks complained about Fox Sports coverage – wait till you see TNT’s coverage.  They are running 30 minute pregame and post game shows – with Tim Howard and Stu Holden and others but man the production coverage is ah interesting.  Anyway the new 1 pm games are welcome as we’ll get to see 1 game at 1 pm and the other at  3 pm this year rather than having all the games kickoff at 2:45 pm on 2 channels.  Now the catch is TNT is only going to show 1 game at a time on TV – (I have no idea how to watch the 2nd game – Univision online maybe?  I will update you if I figure it out this week). Meanwhile we do get some beautiful games this week Tues gives us Liverpool hosting PSG at 3 pm on TNT, while Monico travels to Atletico.  Barcelona will host PSV on TNT at 1 pm Tues, while Wednesday gives us defending Champs Real Madrid vs Roma on TNT at 3 pm while Valencia hosts Juve.

Indy 11

The Eleven will be on the road Saturday at 2nd place Pittsburg at 7 pm on ESPN+ before returning home Wed night, Sept 26 vs the Tampa Bay Rowdies as the 11 present Faith and Family night. and of course discount tickets below $15 are available Click here for Discount Tickets for the Game and enter 2018 INDY as the promo code.   Just 2 home games left before the playoff so get plans to catch a game before the playoffs get underway.  

MLS

Former MLS Champion Toronto FC will take aim at Mexico’s Liga MX Champion Tigres in Wednesday Night’s Campeones Cup game at 8:15 on ESPN2.

GAMES ON TV

Tues, Sept 18  

1 pm TNT                          Barcelona v PSV

1 pm                                    Inter vs Tottenham

3 pm TNT                            Liverpool vs PSG

3 pm                                    Monico vs Atletico Madrid

Weds, Sept 19  

1 pm TNT                          Ajax vs AEK Athens  

1 pm                                    Man City vs Olympique Lyonnais  

3 pm TNT                           Real Madrid vs Roma  

3 pm                                    Valencia vs Juventus  

8:15 pm ESPN2                  Toronto vs Tigres Campeones Cup 

Sat, Sept 22     

7:30 am NBCSN            Fulham vs Watford  

9:30 am FS 1                  Hoffenheim vs Dortmund (Pulisic)

10 am NBCSN                Liverpool vs Southampton  

12:30 pm NBC               Brighton vs Tottenham

12:30 pm beIN Sport    Gatafe vs Atletico Madrid

12:30 pm Fox Soccer  Schalke (McKinney) vs Bayern Munich

2:45 pm beIN Sport  Espanol vs Real Madrid

7:30 pm ESPN+            Columbus Crew vs Colorado

7 pm eSPN+                    Pittsburg vs Indy 11

Sun, Sept 23     

8:30 am NBCSN            West Ham vs Chelsea  

9:30 am FS 1                  Bayern Leverkusen vs Mainz

11 am NBCSN                 Arsenal vs Everton

12 noon FS1                   Frankfurt vs RB Leipzig

1 pm ESPN                       Philly Union vs Sporting KC

2:45 pm beinSport    Barcelona vs Girona

7 pm FS1                           LA Galaxy vs Seattle Sounders

7 pm ESPN+                    Vancuover vs Dallas (Matt Hedges)

Weds, Sept 26  

7 pm myIndytv             Indy 11 vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

8:30 pm

8 pm ESPN+                    DC United vs Min United

Thurs, Oct 11

7:30 pm FSI                     USA vs Colombia (Tampa)

Thurs, Nov 15

3 pm ESPN2                    England vs USA (Wembley)

Sat, Nov 20

3 pm ESPN2                    Italy vs USMNT

Indy 11 Game Schedule

MLS TV Schedule

EPL Schedule

Champions League

US Christian Pulisic due back for Dortmund Champions League Clash Tues

Champions League Questions

Can Real Madrid win without Renaldo?

Rest Harry Kane for Tottenham vs Inter Milan – Are You Crazy?

Liverpool Skip UCL to Win the EPL – No Way Says Gary Neville – We are Contenders for Both

Buffon Travels with PSG Tim Weah Stays home however in clash with Liverpool Tues 3 pm

Klopp Defends Neymar Dives

Renaldo Finally Scores Goals for Juve

Gareth Bale – Anger fueled UCL Final Bike in Final last Year

Champions League Times Change

MLS Campeones Cup on ESPN2

Tigres, Toronto release Campeones Cup squads

Toronto’s Vazquez: Tigres are best team in Mexico

TFC want to show in Campeones Cup CCL run no fluke

Long-term Campeones Cup broadcast deal signed

Warshaw: Campeones Cup TFC’s chance to redeem 2018

Seltzer: The top 10 Liga MX vs. MLS encounters

Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic to return for Champions League clash

4:21 AM ETStephan UersfeldGermany correspondent

United States international Christian Pulisic is set to return to Borussia Dortmund’s squad for their Champions League match at Club Brugge.Pulisic is set to return to the BVB squad after missing the last two league matches with muscular problems, having last played in the 4-1 win over RB Leipzig on Aug 26.The 19-year-old will make his 100th senior Dortmund appearance on Tuesday if selected.Having started their Bundesliga campaign with two wins and one draw, Dortmund will look to return to winning ways in Champions League, where they have not won since a 4-0 victory over Benfica on March 8, 2017.But they will be without forward Paco Alcacer and midfielder Thomas Delaney.When departing for Brugge early on Monday, Dortmund were without Alcacer — who scored on his debut for the club on Friday, but he also picked up a muscle injury — and Delaney, who is also nursing a minor injury.

Champions League questions: Can Madrid win without Ronaldo? Can Juventus win with him?

From a neutrals point of view, the FC panel feel the 2018/19 Champions League group stage will be full of mouth-watering fixtures. (5:09)

11:59 AM ETMichael CoxESPN.com writer

  • FacebookThe Champions League group stage begins with 31 teams attempting to deny Real Madrid a fourth straight triumph. All of the main contenders have questions to answer, so we asked Michael Cox to look at one key issue for each of the likely challengers.

CAN GARETH BALE COMPENSATE FOR LOSS OF RENALDO

The major surprise from the European Cup holders’ summer was not that Real Madrid sold Cristiano Ronaldo, but that they did not really replace him. Kylian Mbappe, Eden Hazard and Neymar seemed the obvious choices, but instead Madrid are taking the very un-Real approach of expecting others to step up. Fortunately, there is certainly the potential within the ranks for individual development.Gareth Bale will relish the opportunity to become the main man, while Karim Benzema can focus on scoring himself rather than teeing up Ronaldo and Marco Asensio is one of Europe’s most talented youngsters. Isco, meanwhile, might become a key tactical weapon rather than flitting around, almost separated from the tactical system. Ultimately, though, Ronaldo scored a goal a game, so every attacker must improve his goal return to compensate.

DOES RONALDO AFFECT JUVES TACTICAL DISCIPLINE ?

Juventus have regularly reached the latter stages of the Champions League in recent years and were beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017. Their advantage over every other side in the competition is their tactical acumen: their defensive ability combined with the flexibility that comes naturally to Italian sides. But will the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo affect that?Ronaldo is not particularly keen on taking defensive responsibility and, while he is considered an outright centre-forward rather than a wide player, Juve boss Max Allegri has sometimes asked strikers to retreat into a deep block. That is a relatively unfamiliar role for the ex-Real Madrid man and so, while Juve have more star quality, they have perhaps lost some tactical harmony.

CAN LIVERPOOL COMPETE ON 2 FRONTS?

Liverpool played in May’s Champions League final and have improved this season but their status as Premier League title contenders means that Jurgen Klopp’s resources will be stretched, given the Reds will be desperate not to drop any points in their bid to dethrone Manchester City.That scenario could make it difficult to compete on two fronts, especially as their manager’s high-energy system drains legs and there is suspicion it increases the likelihood of injuries. Liverpool have a better squad — newcomers like Xherdan Shaqiri and Fabinho have been unable to break into the first XI — but it is notable that Klopp’s sides have usually mounted a serious challenge at home or abroad, rather than both.

WHAT SYSTEM DOES KOVAC USE WITH BAYERN MUNICH? 

We have become so accustomed to the same old names touring Europe’s major clubs as manager that, when one of the big sides takes a chance on the boss of a smaller side, it comes as something of a surprise.

Niko Kovac impressed while in charge of Eintracht Frankfurt — his parting gift in May was a German Cup final win over Bayern — but expectations are greater at Bayern in terms of tactics and man management. Ultimately, Kovac has not yet been tested against Europe’s elite and, as Carlo Ancelotti found last season, the Bayern dressing room can be difficult to win over.

WHO WILL DOMINATE BARCA MIDFIELD ??

It felt strange when Xavi Hernandez left Barcelona three years ago and it feels more odd now that his old mate Andres Iniesta has also departed. Although not always a regular last season, he often saved his best performances for big games, dictating the midfield passing with grace and patience.

Without him, Philippe Coutinho provides flashes of inspiration more than metronomic passing quality, while Ivan Rakitic always seems better playing a supporting role rather than leading the midfield. Sergio Busquets operates in a very different role to Iniesta, so it might be down to Lionel Messi to play deeper than ever, starting moves more than

CAN MAN CITY DEFEND WELL ENOUGH TO COMPETE IN UCL? 

Winning a knockout competition usually depends upon keeping key clean sheets along the way, but Manchester City have never looked entirely convincing at the back under Pep Guardiola. He has created a technical side that plays without a conventional defensive midfielder and has increasingly attempted to use technical centre-backs.

John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have been favoured this season, but Stones remains liable to mistakes and Laporte is a similar operator rather than a defensive rock. City conceded three goals against Liverpool in the first half hour of last season’s quarterfinal, essentially putting an end to their Champions League ambitions. They will need to be more solid this time around.

WILL MOURINHO EVEN BE HERE FOR KNOCKOUT STAGE FOR MAN U? 

The obvious question remains the most important factor in assessing Manchester United’s likely European performance. Mourinho’s “third-season syndrome” caused problems during his time at Real Madrid and Chelsea, and United’s form so far this season has been thoroughly unconvincing, with their manager still uncertain about his preferred combinations in midfield and in defence.Mourinho made his name in this competition, triumphing with Porto in 2004 and winning his second European Cup with Inter in 2010, but nine seasons since his last Champions League success, he must prove he can compete with Europe’s best and lead a club for a sustained period.

IS PSG TESTED ENOUGH IN ITALY TO COMPETE IN ULC?   

Not since Porto beat Monaco in 2004 has a club from outside Spain, England, Germany and Italy reached the Champions League final. PSG might seem the most likely to “break in” but, despite their riches, the French giants have not been able to progress even as far as the semifinals. A major reason for this is that they are simply not tested enough in Ligue 1, even if it does keep them physically fresh.PSG’s domestic games are not only too easy to sustain the requisite level for Champions League winners, but they are also entirely difficult tactically; they always dominate possession and usual have to break down a deep defence. In Europe, when pressed and outpassed and on the back foot, PSG can be exposed.

IS HARRY KANE TOO TIRED FOR TOTTENHAM? 

It seems bizarre to speculate about a possible decline in Harry Kane’s scoring ability, considering last season was his most prolific to date — he netted 41 goals in all competitions — and he won the World Cup’s Golden Boot in the summer. However, he looks less mobile and sharp and his shot totals have declined significantly: An average of almost five per game in last season’s Premier League has dropped to half that number.There is more to his game than goals and he has played a good supporting role for a strike partner with more energy: Raheem Sterling for England and Lucas Moura at club level. But Spurs have come to depend upon Kane’s prolific scoring ability and, if he does not find top form in the spring, it is difficult to imagine them going deep in the Champions League.

WHAT ROLE DOES GREIZMAN PLAY FOR ATLETICO MADRID  ? 

The nature of Antoine Griezmann’s decision about where to play this season left a bitter taste, especially given he chose to announce it in a video on social media, but the decision itself was a huge boost to Spanish and European football. Rather than becoming yet another big name at Barcelona, he remains the only true superstar at Atletico.

That is crucial for Diego Simeone’s side, an otherwise solid, brilliantly organised team that would lack individual magic without the French forward. Griezmann can play upfront alongside Diego Costa but has increasingly showed an ability to drop deep, orchestrate play and provide penetrative passes. That role might be more important in the Champions League, as Atletico attempt to break down tighter defences than they encounter in La Liga.

CAN ANCELOTTI HELP NAPOLI PLAY NOW THAT WE KNOW THEY ARE GOOD? 

Carlo Ancelotti essentially made his name by succeeding in European competition, taking Milan to two European Cup triumphs before winning another with Real Madrid. Indeed, his sides have often fared better in the Champions League than in domestic league play. However, in recent years Ancelotti’s overall tactical acumen has been questioned.Last season’s failure at Bayern Munich, from where he was sacked before the end of September, was particularly notable. His players felt that training sessions lacked the requisite intensity and complexity and there is a sense that Ancelotti remains a laissez-faire manager in an era that demands game plans that are more intricate. Napoli’s new manager is seeking to prove he has not been left behind.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino: ‘Crazy’ to rest Harry Kane against Inter Milan

9:43 AM ET

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said it would be “crazy” not to play Harry Kane against Inter Milan in the Champions League on Tuesday.England striker Kane struggled to make an impact in Saturday’s Premier League home defeat to Liverpool but has denied that he is suffering from burnout after the World Cup.And Pochettino, speaking at a news conference ahead of the game at the San Siro, said Kane — who has scored twice in the Premier League this season — would be starting.”I think we would be crazy to think different. I don’t know what you expect from me, or what you think my answer should be,” he said.”He’s one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t care that he wasn’t great [against Liverpool]. He’s going to score goals and he’s going to perform in the way that we want and expect, no problem.”Pochettino said he did not feel Kane was struggling after the World Cup, adding: “If you say it’s only Harry, I don’t like it when people point the finger at some players.”It’s always collective and we need to help him, to give the ball in a better position for him. But it’s a collective thing, not just Harry.”It’s not a problem. Of course there is a challenge with nine players [having been] involved until the end of the World Cup, but I’m not going to complain.”When you win, you win. When you lose, yes of course you need to talk about different things, but I’m not worried.”We are going to win a lot of games. We have trust in the squad. Of course we need to improve, but we’re in a very good way.”Meanwhile, Inter boss Luciano Spalletti rejected suggestions that Kane looked tired, saying his movement is that of a striker at the top of his game.”No, I don’t agree,” Spalletti told a news conference when asked whether Kane appeared to be struggling. “We’ve watched Tottenham’s games and we saw him working hard in every situation. In terms of metres run, he has the numbers you’d expect from a strong striker.”Tottenham rely heavily on him because he’s someone who can drop short, but then often the move ends with a cross to him. He’s good at finding the players who run off him with his layoffs.”

Liverpool to skip the Champions League? No thanks, Gary Neville – we’re contenders

9:18 AM ETSteven KellyLiverpool blogger

Jurgen Klopp sounded as nonplussed as everyone else when asked how what he thought of Gary Neville’s theory regarding Liverpool’s strategy for the season.

The former Manchester United defender-turned pundit had suggested Liverpool should forget the Champions League, “kick it into touch” and focus all their energies on the Premier League. Such comments were ill-timed at best and provocative at worst — though many supporters assumed the latter since relations between Liverpool and United are always strained.Klopp simply asked how such a plan could even be activated. He also made a remark about it being something that could only be hatched up at a desk, not by somebody who actually has to do the job. Whether that was an indirect barb aimed at Neville’s failed attempt at coaching Valencia for four months, only the German can say for certain. But the reality for Klopp isn’t any less disconcerting.His first full season at Anfield ended with a top-four place, aided significantly by having no European commitments — unlike his main rivals.His second saw further progression. Liverpool remained in fourth spot for the Premier League but augmented that with a fine Champions League campaign that ended with defeat in the final.For Klopp’s third full season, it would be a big step backwards if Liverpool were to just focus on one competition, however prestigious.The club’s owners made their own statement with over £250 million spent on Virgil van Dijk, Naby Keita, Alisson and others; if the team are to progress, there must be a proper title challenge as well as a long run in Europe.It’s obviously a monumental task, but there is no rational alternative. Football clubs, at this level anyway, must keep going forward. Treading water is no longer an option.Try telling those Liverpool fans packed into Anfield on Tuesday for the first group match against Paris Saint-Germain that it doesn’t matter, that three points against Southampton this Saturday were more important. You’d be laughed out of the ground.Was Neville’s idea ever a serious one? It could be taken as a criticism: that Liverpool don’t have the squad to compete on two major fronts. But the Reds’ European record is far superior to that of United — the one area where they still have bragging rights.Klopp taking it easy on the continent this season still wouldn’t help United though. Neville claims his days of “hating Scousers” — as the Old Trafford chant regularly contended — are over. But he freely admitted that Liverpool’s current quality wasn’t to his liking. The largely indignant reaction to his words have no doubt been music to Neville’s ears, particularly as there is every chance Liverpool might not make much progress in this year’s competition anyway.They’ve drawn a far stronger group than last year. Maribor were easily dispatched last time, while the top-seed ranking of Spartak Moscow felt more like a bureaucratic stipulation than a measure of quality. Liverpool proved that emphatically by thumping Russia’s champions 7-0. It was with the group’s other team, Sevilla, that Liverpool had their problems.This time, PSG’s star-studded forward line of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani are more than a match for Liverpool’s own breath-taking forward line. Napoli have been excellent for years, their quality helping Maurizio Sarri secure the coveted Chelsea job. Red Star Belgrade aren’t the same side that won the Champions League in 1991, but Serbia is certainly no easy place to go.Were Liverpool to fall at the first hurdle, they’d inevitably have to revise their approach like any other club. History isn’t on their side. Given straight entry into the Champions League group stage, they’ve failed on all three occasions to progress any further: 2002, 2009 and 2014.So far this season, one game a week has been manageable. Five wins out of five is proof of that. Now comes the hardest part of any season at the highest level. There’ll be two games a week for most of the next three months, followed by the traditional Christmas fixture overload.Far from capitulating and saving his best players for one competition, Klopp needs to juggle his squad judiciously and hope injuries are kept to a minimum. Sacrificing Europe couldn’t be done without making it obvious. Even if they finish third in their group, they’d still have to drop into the Europa League and fulfil those fixtures anyway.Ultimately Liverpool fans will be delighted their club is playing on the minds of rivals. Jose Mourinho’s insistence that Liverpool should be under pressure to challenge for the title was a transparent attempt to deflect from his own arduous circumstances. Has Neville suggested Manchester United should sacrifice Europe in order to give local rivals City a greater fight for the Premier LeagOscar Wilde once wrote “there’s only one thing worse than being talked about, and that’s not being talked about.” Liverpool are in a good place. Any unease in their rivals is resounding proof of that.

Gianluigi Buffon travels but US Timothy Weah out of PSG squad for Liverpool clash

play

With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe watching from the stands, Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a simple win over Saint-Etienne at the Parc des Princes. (2:17)

11:22 AM ETJonathan JohnsonPSG correspondent

Experienced Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has travelled with his teammates to Liverpool for Tuesday’s opening Champions League Group C encounter despite the first of a three-match suspension for the Italian legend.Buffon, 40, and compatriot Marco Verratti are both banned for the Anfield clash with last season’s beaten finalists because of suspensions incurred last campaign, while Dani Alves and Layvin Kurzawa are both out injured — and U.S. international Timothy Weah is not included.PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is able to call on star attacking trio Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar, while captain Thiago Silva has shaken off a knock from last week’s home win over Saint-Etienne to be present in the squad and Lassana Diarra is also there.

Youth academy graduate Garissone Innocent has been drafted in to ensure that there is a third goalkeeper behind Alphonse Areola and Sebastien Cibois, while fellow homegrown gems Stanley N’Soki and Moussa Diaby have also made the cut. Summer signings Juan Bernat and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are in the group but unregistered Jese Rodriguez, and youth academy products Antoine Bernede, Colin Dagba and Kevin Rimane miss out along with Weah.Without Buffon, Verratti, Alves and Kurzawa, Tuchel is far from at full strength, but the German manager should still be able to align a good starting XI against former Borussia Dortmund predecessor Jurgen Klopp.

Antoine Griezman: I am at the top with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe

ESPN FC’s Shaka Hislop wonders if Antoine Griezmann’s recent trophy success is enough to catapult him into the Ballon d’Or discussion. (3:59)

5:18 AM ETRobbie DunneReal Madrid blogger

Antoine Griezmann has said that although he is a different player to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, he is “at the top” in football.Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann, a World Cup winner with France, is targeting the Ballon d’Or after the disappointment of not being nominated for FIFA’s The Best award.”There are different ways to look at football,” he told Diario AS. “It’s obvious that I’m a different player to Cristiano, Messi, Neymar or [Kylian] Mbappe.”I’m at the top but I can get better. I want to be the most complete I can be. I’m not going to score 50 goals, but I look to help in attack and work for the team.”Asked whether he was dining at the same table as Messi, he said: “Yes, I think so. But I know other players will emerge for sure. At that table, there are nice pictures I have, and I enjoy it there, but I know that I can get better.”Having turned down a move to Barcelona in the summer, Griezmann said he believed in the prospect of future success with Atletico.”Saying no to Barcelona shows Atletico’s greatness, [coach] Diego Simeone, my teammates,” he said.”If they were bad, I’d be gone. But I have confidence in Simeone, in the club and in my teammates. I want to make them grow and I have confidence in them to make me grow.”We have helped each other a lot and everything is very positive so that this keeps improving.”Griezmann missed out on nomination for The Best award despite his World Cup and Europa League wins and said it was a shame that no France player had made the list.”There’s nothing we can do,” he said. “It’s FIFA’s award and it’s a pity that there were no World Cup winners nominated. We had a great World Cup and the whole team deserved an award.”I think the Ballon d’Or has more prestige, more history. I have it in the back of my head. I have three months to give everything, and then we’ll see what happens.” Griezmann has scored just once for Atleti this season as they have taken only five points from 12 in their worst start under Simeone, but after suffering a tough period last year he said he believed things could turn.”I was quite bad,” he said. “I don’t know, I saw everything very bad. I was thinking that it was everyone else’s fault and I didn’t feel good.”When I’m not feeling good off the field, on the field I’m worse too. But with the help of Simeone, my teammates, Godin, who I spent a lot of time with, and with the help of my partner…we turned it around.”Diego Costa arrived, who helped me on the field, and it got better from January until now.”Griezmann added that Simeone “asks me to play between the lines and not to drop too deep, but sometimes I see the team needs a pausa [someone to slow things down], and I will drop in that case.”When I see my teammates defending, I don’t say to myself that I will stay up front and they’ll bring the ball up to me. I prefer to help for the good of the team.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp defends Neymar over dive claims before PSG game

9:11 AM ETGlenn PriceLiverpool correspondent

LIVERPOOL — Jurgen Klopp has defended Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar over accusations he goes to ground too easily.Neymar drew widespread criticism for his theatrics during this summer’s World Cup, with the Brazilian later admitting he sometimes exaggerated his reactions.But speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League encounter with PSG on Tuesday night, Klopp said Neymar is well within his right to defend himself when targeted by opponents.”When I saw a few things at the World Cup, I know people were talking about that when it looked like he made a bit more of situations,” Klopp told a news conference on Monday. “It was, for me, a completely a normal reaction because players are really going for him. That’s the truth.”He wants to protect himself and I understand that as well. If an opponent gets a yellow card then he’s much closer to a red card. So I see it from that perspective.”I thought it’s smart that he saves himself. He doesn’t have to be worried because we don’t go for him against us. We play football and we want to win the ball.”We don’t try to act in these kind of things. We try to avoid passes to him and him winning challenges and all that stuff, which is a big job to do, to be honest. I’m not sure if it is even possible to avoid his quality 100 percent. I’m pretty sure it’s not.”At the World Cup, he was not fit. He already had an injury and everybody could see that, but nobody asked him. When he played he really tried to take responsibility to play for his country [while] not being fit. Belgium played an outstanding game against Brazil, but if Neymar is fit then Brazil wins it. That’s how it is. He was injured and he had to save himself a bit. That’s all.”I don’t think he’s a person who wants to act because if you are like that then you cannot play the football he plays.”I don’t think about these kind of things, to be honest. He got rested at the weekend so he will be 100 percent fresh for us. He’s not injured anymore so we will see the full package of Neymar — the football package. We still have to cope with that and that’s what we try to do.”Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, stressed that Neymar’s perceived diving has not been part of Liverpool’s preparation for the Group C opener.”That’s not something we’re really thinking about, to be honest,” the Liverpool captain said. “Neymar’s a world-class player and a tough opponent.”I’m sure it’ll be difficult as a team for us to stop him but we’re capable of stopping him and the rest of the team because we’ve proved that against top players before.”He obviously gets kicked a lot, so he needs to try and use it as best as he can. For us, we just need to treat it as a normal game. He’s just one of many good players in the team. It won’t just have to be him, we’ve got to stop the whole team, which will be difficult. But we’re a good team as well and we can certainly cause them problems.”Meanwhile, Roberto Firmino remains a doubt for Liverpool’s European opener with the eye injury he sustained against Tottenham Hotspur on the weekend.Hospital examinations confirmed Firmino suffered an abrasion of the eye after being caught by Spurs’ Jan Vertonghen in the second half at Wembley.”If we play today, no chance,” Klopp said. “But we all hope that he has a chance for tomorrow.”First of all, that’s good news that it will be close. I think everybody who saw the picture after the game was shocked.”We had first contact with him after he was in hospital and that was a big relief for all of us.”It’s painful, nobody wants to have that, nobody needs that. He will be fine — we only don’t know exactly when. It’s another 30 hours until the game, so we

Champions League 2018-19 – Group A Fixtures

Fixtures — Champions League

Atletico Madrid won the Europa League against Marseille last season after crashing out of the Champions League group stage and Diego Simeone’s side will be eager to emerge as a strong force in the competition.The Liga side have typically done well in past years to go far in the competition, but they’ve fallen to city rivals Real Madrid at the final stage twice.Borussia Dortmund have been handed a particularly unfavourable draw once again, as they too were eliminated in the group phase last year – unable to overcome the likes of eventual winners Real as well as Tottenham, who ended up as table-toppers.Club Brugge and Monaco are underdogs in this year’s Group A though they are two sides not to be underestimated. The French side finished second in their domestic league last season, only one spot behind the force that is Paris Saint-Germain.

Champions League 2018-19 – Group A Squads

Atletico Madrid:  Adan, Jan Oblak; Diego Godin, Filipe Luis, Santiago Arias, Stefan Savic, Juanfran, Lucas Hernandez, Jose Maria Gimenez; Thomas Partey, Jorge Koke, Saul Niguez, Thomas Lemar, Rodrigo Rodri, Gelson Martins, Vitolo, Cristian Rodriguez; Antoine Griezmann, Nikola Kalinic, Angel Correa, Diego Costa, Dario Poveda, Borja Garces, Victor Mollejo

Borussia Dortmund:  Roman Burki, Marin Hitz; Dan-Axel Zagadou, Abdou Diallo, Achraf Hakimi, Raphael Guerreiro, Jeremy Toljan, Manuel Akanji, Lukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer, Julian Weigl, Omer Toprak; Thomas Delaney, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Sergio Gomez, Mahmoud Dahoud, Christian Pulisic, Shinji Kagawa, Axel Witsel, Jacob Bruun Larsen; Jadon Sancho, Francisco Paco Alcacer, Maximilian Philipp, Marius Wolf

Monaco:  Daniel Subasic, Diego Benaglio, Loic Badiashile; Antonio Barreca, Jemersen, Djibril Sidibe, Julien Serrano, Andrea Raggi, Kamil Glik, Benoit Badiashile Mukinayi, Amamy Toure, Benjamin Henrichs, Yannis N’Gakoutou-Yapende, Jean Eudes Aholou, Kevin N’Doram, Marcos Paul Rony Lopes, Youri Telemans, Adama Traore, Youssef Ait Bennasser, Aleksandr Golovin, Nacer Chadli, Samuel Grandsir, Han-Noah Massengo, Tristan Muyumba; Radamel Falcao, Stevan Jovetic, Jordi Mboula, Pietro Pellegri, Moussa Sylla, Sofiane Diop, Gobe Gouano

Club Brugge:  Karlo Letica, Ethan Horvath; Luan Peres, Benoit Poulain, Matej Mitrovic, Dion Cools, Stefano Denswil, Saulo DeCarli, Brandon Mechele, Clinton Mata, Sofyan Amrabat, Krepin Diatta, Siebe Schrijvers, Marvelous Nakamba, Thibault Vlietinck, Hans Vanaken, Ruud Vormer, Mats Rits, Arnaut Groeneveld; Wesley, Jelle Vossen, Rezaei Kaveh, Emmanuel Bonaventure

Toronto FC take aim at Tigres, Campeones Cup: “It’s a game we’ve earned”

September 17, 201810:30AM EDTJames GrossiContributor

TORONTO – Fresh off extending their playoff hopes for another week with a rollicking 5-3 home winover the LA Galaxy on Saturday night at BMO Field, the same questions remain for Greg Vanney as Toronto FC prepare for a cup final on Wednesday night.Tigres UANL come to town midweek for the inaugural edition of the Campeones Cup, a match that pits the MLS Cup champions against the Campeon de Campeones from Liga MX (8:15 pm ET | ESPN2, Univision in USA; TSN, TVAS in Canada).“That’s the million-dollar question,” said Vanney post-match about his team selection. “We’ll have some rotation. [But] there is still a trophy on the line, we still want to go for it; it’s a home game. We’ll do so understanding that we have an important game on Saturday as well.”Toronto’s league push for survival continues this weekend with a tricky away fixture against the New York Red Bulls (Saturday, 5 pm ET | TSN –        full TV and streaming info).“This is an important game, for the league and our fans,” added Vanney of Campeones Cup. “This is a cup that is going to become important over the years.”That it falls in such a busy, crucial spell does not distract from the glistening trophy that was displayed on the touchlines at halftime and around BMO Field on Saturday.“It’s tough, but it’s an important fixture,” said Alex Bono. “Another chance to add hardware to our trophy case. For us, that’s been special – we’ve been really good at doing that the last few years. When there is an opportunity to add a trophy, we’ve taken advantage of that. It’s a good opportunity, a unique opportunity, we’ll go into it trying to take a trophy home.”Under Vanney’s tenure, TFC have won an MLS Cup, a Supporters’ Shield, two Eastern Conference Championships and three Voyageurs Cups. They were penalty-kick shootouts away from winning the Concacaf Champions League in April, and another MLS Cup in 2016.“It’s a game that we’ve earned with everything that we put into last year,” said Michael Bradley. “Around the world these types of games are big games, prestigious games, games where the spotlight comes on bright. We’re very much looking forward to it.“It’s a chance to lift another trophy,” he added. “It’s a very good team, we know them. We’re going to recover and get ready for an exciting game.”With the focus on the league, Vanney has not invested much time on scouting Tigres, a side with whom Toronto played two epic legs in the CCL quarterfinals in March.“I haven’t much, in terms of their performances or their results,” said Vanney. “I looked at their roster just to see which guys were back.“They certainly didn’t get any worse and added a couple more guys that will probably make them better,” he observed. “They’re going to be as strong, and deeper, than they were when we faced them six months ago. It will be interesting.”To keep their postseason aspirations alive, Bradley said that Toronto have adopted a “knockout mentality.” That could serve them well on Wednesday.And both sides will come in with a chip on their shoulder: Tigres for having been knocked out of CCL by TFC, and Toronto with how the shootout ended in Guadalajara and how their season has gone since.“It’s going to be a tough game,” said Jonathan Osorio, the 2018 CCL Golden Boot winner. “It’s the first time that this cup has happened. It’s very exciting for both leagues, very good for North America. It’s going to be a game both teams are going to want. Every team plays to win trophies; this is another trophy.“Tigres has been a great team for the last few years now,” he added. “Those two games against them were very tough, very intense, high-tempo games. I don’t expect anything different when we play them in the Campeones Cup.”

 

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