Picking the Champions League – JJB Style
It’s that most wonderful time of the year. Europe’s elites are about to face off in the Champions League round of 16, and we’re gonna pick who goes to the final 8, kit by kit. Let’s dive in shall we?
AC Milan Vs. Tottenham Hotspur
A compelling matchup, with both teams sporting excellent kits this year in respect to last year’s efforts. Both are supplied by German giants of Adidas and Puma respectively, and should both wear standard kits at San Siro and White Hart Lane. Tottenham will be sporting their traditional white and blue, but since this is a cup match, standard sponsors Autonomy will be replaced by Investec. Spurs should be able to wear their standard white over blue during both legs. AC Milan on the other hand has one of the most historic shirts in Europe with the alternating black and red stripes. For 2010 and beyond, old sponsors Bwin.com have been replaced by Fly Emirates. Which has led to a much better looking kit, Bwin looks better on Real Madrid anyway. For this one, since both teams will be wearing standard kits in both games (at least I would assume) I’m going to go with Milan retirement community for this one.
Valencia vs. Schalke 04
One of two of the more obscure match ups to be in the final 16, both are currently struggling in domestics leagues, but one will advance to the final 8. Valencia has been wearing their Kappa branded kits since 08-09, and they do not look terrible, besides that god-awful UNIBET.com sponsorship, they looked much better with Toyota. Schalke on the other hand have had Adidas for a long time now and have been sponsored by Russian Oil company Gazprom since 2007. By no means do they wear a gorgeous kit, but definitely something that is easy on the eyes and has a classy look to it. I’ll take Schalke to advance.
Arsenal vs. Barcelona
This is easily the most exciting matchup of the first round, matching two storied powerhouses against each other, and nicely enough, the both play an excellent, free-flowing, pass-laden football out of 4-3-3 formations. The first leg is at the Emirates, meaning Barca will wear their mint green change kits and blue shorts while Arsenal will wear standard kits. For the second leg at the Nou Camp, Barca will wear home shirts, while Arsenal will wear their solid yellow changes (the redcurrant shorts would clash.) This is a tough matchup, but Barca’s home kits are having an off year (stupid yellow accents) and Arsenal’s homes are a MASSIVE upgrade from last season meaning I’ll give the Gunners their day and a win. (A man can dream can’t he?)
Roma vs. Shakthar Donetsk
In my humble opinion, this would make an average Europa League matchup, so how its CL is beyond me. Roma have been wearing Kappa for a few seasons now, but I am not a fan of this season’s home shirt because of the ridiculous number of Kappa logo’s on the sleeves (its TOO much.) Roma will wear their standard kits at Stade Olimpico, and will wear their away kits whilst in Ukraine. Shakthar is actually sponsored by Nike and has some decently nice kits. Their away kits, which will be worn at Roma, look very nice with the sash design. More solid designs from the boys in Beaverton mean that Shakthar Donetsk continues this Cinderella like run into the Quarterfinals.
FC Copenhagen vs. Chelsea
Much like Shakthar, I am incredibly surprised that Copenhagen is in the competition. They are another team sponsored by Kappa, but I had an incredibly difficult time finding any pictures of their proper kits. The one pictured above was worn at the Camp Nou when they played Barcelona in the group stage. Chelski on the other hand have been with Adidas since 2006-07, and this year were given an upgrade from last year but still look questionable at best. judging by the photos I can see, both teams will be in standard kits for both legs, meaning Chelsea gets a win almost by default.
Lyon vs. Real Madrid
Always an intriguing matchup, because this is the third time in three years that these teams face off against each other, and fascinatingly enough, Lyon has KO’d Madrid both times. Lyon switched to Adidas this year from Umbro, and reaped the benefits quite well. Madrid on the other hand has had Adidas since the mid 1990s. Lyon will wear standard kits at home, and their fascinating third kits at the Bernabeau. Madrid on the other hand will wear their excellent new purple Champions League change kit in Lyon, and their standard ‘los blancos’ attire at home. I do like both teams third kits, but I’m going to say that Madrid finally scratches their French itch and will advance to the quarters for the first time since 2002.
Marseille vs. Manchester United
The 2009-10 Ligue One champions take on always dangerous Manchester United in one of the more entertaining match ups of the round. There are also jerseys galore for this matchup. For OM, they will most likely wear their wonderful third kits for the leg at Old Trafford (as they have in most other Champions League away matches this season.) And will wear there standard kits for the leg at Stade Velodrome. Manchester United will probably wear their standard kits at Marseille with a slight alteration and will wear standard kits at Old Trafford. This match up is innovation versus tradition, and as much as I love the Marseille Rasta jersey, I will take United in this matchup.
Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich
In a rematch of last year’s final, these two teams now find themselves struggling in league play after incredibly sluggish starts to the season. Bayern has their 110th anniversary kits, which will be worn in both games at San Siro and Allianz Arena. Inter has been given a slight tweak to their designs for this year, as they got the zig zag treatment from Nike, but it still looks surprisingly good. However, I much enjoy it when Inter pairs their home shirt with the change white shorts. But this one isn’t too difficult, I like both sides, but I am going to take Internazionale as the blue and black trumps red and white.
Well there you have it, you’ve got AC Milan, Schalke, Arsenal, Shakthar, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Inter all moving on up to the quarterfinals. – J