This week’s main report looks ahead to the group stages of the Champions League. In this interview Damian asks Manchester United fan Brendan about this season’s competition. The transcript of the report is below and includes vocabulary in bold which is explained at the foot of the post.
Main week 5
DF: Now the Champions League group stages are about to start and after last season when there were really no surprises at all the question is, do we really care? Brendan.
Brendan: Well there is no doubting that the Champions League only gets going when the knock-out stages are with us but having said that I think this year there will be a few more intriguing games in the group stages because we have the re-admittance of AC Milan and Bayern Munich and also the French league has picked up and there are three stronger French teams in it this year. So, perhaps all the groups won’t be as preordained as it had been twelve months ago, so, yes, while it won’t get going until the knock-out stages it should be a bit better this season.
DF: Now English clubs have dominated over the past few years, do you think this domination will continue?
Brendan: I think the four English teams will again be in the shake up … I think all four teams you could argue in England have perhaps been weakened somewhat, Manchester United, of course, losing Ronaldo, Liverpool losing Xavi Alonso and Chelsea and Arsenal not really making too many additions to their squad. Coupled with that you have Barcelona, who will be as strong as ever, and also Real Madrid who have bought Kaka, Ronaldo, Alonso and so many top players that they should be a force. So, I think the English teams will be there or there abouts and I think it could be between those four, the two Spanish and even maybe Inter Milan as well.
DF: So then, a final prediction, which of these teams then do you see contesting the final in Madrid next spring?
Brendan: Well, I think, as you say, the final is on in the Bernebeu so there will be lots of focus on Real Madrid as the host team. I think they… it will be very interesting to see how they go and we won’t know that until about Christmas to see how their team has gelled. I think you can’t look beyond Barcelona who still have some quality players throughout the team and, you know, if Man United get their act together and they get Owen Hargreaves back in the middle of midfield you never know they could be there again. So maybe a repeat of last year’s final.
gets going: Starts, really begins
Intriguing games: Interesting matches
Re-admittance: To be back in the competition
Has picked up: Has improved
Preordained: Predicted, already decided upon
In the shake up: To be close to winning, will be strong
To be there or there abouts: To be near winning; to be strong
Contesting the final: To be playing in the final
Gelled: To have stuck – how well they play together
Get their act together: To start playing better