Here is Jose “The Special One” Mourinho fooling around with some kids before The Real Madrid vs. Lyon match. It is jarring, but endearing to see act like a normal human being. It’s sort of like when he was at Chelsea and got arrested for setting his Yorkie free when police tried to quarantine it.
Here are the five matches to watch for the weekend.
Arsenal vs. Birmingham – Carling Cup Final (Sat. 11am, FSC) Arsene Wenger envisioned his gaggle of homegrown youngsters winning trophies. He didn’t anticipate gunning for the Carling Cup, in 2011. The theory is the young Gunners will pop their cherry with this less prestigious competition, overcome the mental hurdle and begin their beautiful, brilliant rampage across Europe. But, they still must get by Birmingham. Hopefully, it’s with limbs intact.
Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund (Sat. 2pm, GolTV) The best team in the Bundesliga against the most talented one. Dortmund’s 10-point lead (13 over Bayern) should carry them through to the German title, but it will be interesting to see whether they play like champions or melt before the traditional power. Bayern are out of the title race, but will be looking to take Dortmund’s pride and, this summer, a few of their players.
Lille vs. Lyon (Sun. 3pm, Fox Soccer Plus) There are five teams within four points at the top of the French table. Lille is on top of the Ligue, with 45 points. Lyon are four points back in fourth. The winner of this match receives a six-point swing.
West Ham vs. Liverpool (Sun. 8:30am, FSC) Avram Grant has been giving a lot of blank stares since taking over at West Ham in June. He’s put Robbie Keane into an ice box. That’s about it. The team has been dire. It’s an essential three points for both teams. The Hammers want to climb from the relegation zone. Liverpool will try to sneak into the fourth Champions League spot. Historically, Upton Park is a hard away fixture for big clubs, but not this season.
Athletic Bilbao vs. Valencia (Sun. 3pm, ESPN Deportes) Athletic Bilbao is one Spain’s most interesting clubs. They have held onto to their cantera policy since 1912 where they only field Basque players (or with the recent liberalization, players from the Basque region). They are also the only club besides Barcelona and Real Madrid to have never been relegated from the top league. Generally mid-table, they are having an excellent season and are currently in fifth. If they can take points from Valencia at home, they could have an outside shot at the Champions League.
[Video via 101GreatGoals]