Pitchside Europe

  • Juventus aim to channel spirit of Del Piero in Madrid

    'Niente Paura'. It’s a song by Luciano Ligabue, Italy’s Bruce Springsteen. and means 'No Fear'. Chosen as the soundtrack by the country's TV and radio stations covering Juventus' visit to Real Madrid tonight, coach Antonio Conte has insisted the Bernabeu is nothing for his players to be afraid of. There’ll be no 'miedo escenico', as they say in Spain: stage fright.

    And besides: remember Juventus' last visit to the garden of Di Stefano, Puskas and Gento? It was five years ago. Back in the Champions League for the first time since their relegation following the Calciopoli scandal in 2006,

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  • Manchester United’s players and staff haven't dwelled too much on the defeats to Barcelona in the 2009 and 2011 Champions League finals. While Barca named areas of Camp Nou after Rome and Wembley, the defeats elicited headshakes from those at Old Trafford.

    They still do, but the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and his coaches has brought more analysis of those disappointments recently.

    Eric Steele was Ferguson’s goalkeeping coach. Asked about Rome in 2009, Steele, who is now working at Derby County, said: “Heartbreaking. We all know that we didn’t give a good account. Edwin was disappointed

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  • Tuesday’s Champions League games in pictures

    BEST IN THE BUSINESS - Dortmund's fans are renowned for their passionate support. Their team is also well on its way to matching their excellence.

    A PICTURE CAN TELL A THOUSAND WORDS - Dortmund's late winner came as a blow to Germany defender Per Mertesacker.

    BACK TO HIS BEST - Fernando Torres was in fearsome form in Chelsea's win over Schalke.

    A SPECIAL NIGHT FOR A SPECIAL MAN - Jose Mourinho was more than impressed at his striker's performance.

    BETTER GET A GOOD LAWYER - If it is to believed that Gareth Bale trademarked the heart celebration, Robinho could be in a spot of bother...


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  • Dortmund’s press gang force Arsenal into reappraisal

    When Borussia Dortmund took their leave of London following May's crushing Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich at Wembley, coach Juergen Klopp promised they would return a renewed force. “We are building a new team, a pressing machine,” he warned. Last night, on their return to the English capital, Dortmund suggested they are delivering on that promise.

    In what was largely an evenly contested battle between two similar teams – in terms of style and ethos if not, in recent seasons, achievement – Dortmund's relentless work without the ball proved crucial in unsettling a previously

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  • Winner stays on: Teymourian’s date with destiny

    In our regular weekly feature, we present five goals published on our site and you then decide which is your favourite!

    But there is a twist: in classic 'winner stays on' format, the goal with the most votes then defends the title the following week against four new efforts.

    Andranik Teymourian finds himself on the brink of immortality, having won each of the last four weeks - one more will see his goal entered into the Hall of Fame alongside Ronaldinho.

    But the Iranian faces arguably his toughest challenge yet - an outrageous quartet of goals including one scored against his very own side,

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  • Hazard warning: Forward could be key to Schalke tie

    Eden Hazard had a slow start to the season. The Belgian didn't score or get an assist in his first six appearances, but has netted three now in his last two, as well as creating a host of chances for his team-mates in the process.

    Against Cardiff at the weekend, Hazard was in menacing form, scoring two goals and assisting one other as well as providing a constant threat down the left-hand side.

    The Belgian started the game from the left, playing as an inverted attacking midfielder, as he often does. Not only was he a goal threat, scoring two from a total of three attempts on goal, but he was

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  • Puel’s Nice making giant strides

    Nice's run to fourth place made them the surprise package in Ligue 1 last season and now, having kept hold of most of their leading players over the summer and moved into their impressive new stadium, Claude Puel's men suggested in Friday's win against Marseille that a repeat performance is not beyond them.

    Just as in other parts of the Mediterranean, there is a genuine passion for football in Nice, but the port city's only leading club have needed the influence of Puel and the boost provided by their state-of-the-art new home to turn them into a force to be reckoned with once again.


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  • Why Arteta, not Ozil, is Gunners key man against Dortmund

    Arsenal’s stunning start to the season so far has made them the toast of English football. Mesut Ozil has been acclaimed the best use of £45 million in Premier League history; Aaron Ramsey has been a man re-born; and it's at least two months since we read a joke about Arsenal's eight-year allergy to touching silverware.

    Yet Tuesday night will be their biggest test of the season so far as they come up against last year's Champions League runners-up, Borussia Dortmund.

    It's a game that headlines the list of Champions League fixtures scheduled for this week, and there will be a number of

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  • Premier League Team of the Week: Wizard of Oz

    After the latest round of Premier League action, we bring you our pick of the best players on display in the English top flight.

    And to give you a flavour of how their performances were viewed across the land, we have also included tweets from players, journalists and random punters.

    - - -

    GK: Asmir Begovic, for Stoke v West Brom (9/10)

    Although he flapped at a couple of crosses, the Bosnian produced three stunning saves to foil the visitors at the Britannia Stadium, further underlining his credentials as one of the very best in the division.

    Key moment (89’): Sessegnon should have scored

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    Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday leaves them with one win in their opening four home matches. It is their joint-worst return since the inception of the Premier League. David Moyes's side occupy eighth place, and are as near the bottom as the top of the standings, a full eight points behind Arsenal with only eight games of the season run. They need to get their act together at Old Trafford soon or their title defence is going to be over before Christmas.


    The signing

    Read More »from Facts: 7 Premier League truths – Eto’o, Ozil, Smoke bombs