On this week’s review section we salute the champions of the Bundesliga, wonder how Barcelona will react after two soul-destroying defeats, and feature Italy and fan power gone crazy. You can listen to these and other stories on our weekly podcast and can find explanations of key vocabulary in bold below.
Good news for Dortmund fans as their club were crowned champions last week after defeating Borussia Munchengladbach 2-0 in front of 80,000 supporters. That makes it back-to-back titles or the team from the North-Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany. After a shaky start to the season, Dortmund were unstoppable with players such as Japanese star, Kagawa, and the Polish right winger, Kuba, and his compatriot Lewandowski up front driving them on. Winning the national title is a huge achievement, but more and more it is the Champions League that the big European teams are coveting. So, good for Chelsea and Bayern Munich after their dramatic semi-final wins over pre-tournament favourites Real Madrid and Barcelona. Chelsea won a backs to the wall victory in the Nou Camp while Bayern Munich beat Real on penalties in two wonderful Champions League semi-finals.
What a bad week it has been for Barcelona as they were dumped out of the Champions League by Chelsea and also lost at home to Real Madrid at the weekend to hand the La Liga title to the their rivals in the clasico. Despite dominating possession and shots on target in both games the Catalan club were unable to break down their opponents’ defences. Questions will now be asked of their coach Pep Guardiola, who has crafted what most pundits agree is the best footballing side in Europe. But when the crunch came in the clasico and the semi final Barca were unable to find a plan B to beat their opponents.
Ugly scenes in Serie A last weekend as Genoa ultras stormed the pitch during a game their side were losing 4-0 at home. The fans then blocked the tunnel to the changing rooms and demanded that the Genoa players hand in their shirts as they were not fit to wear them. Of course, fans get angry and disappointed when their team performs badly, and Genoa are facing relegation and losing by four goals is embarrassing at home, but to force a game to stop and then make the players take off their shirts before the game is allowed, by the fans, to be continued is disgraceful. Where were the police, where were the stewards, what does this mean for those who run football in Italy? Ugly indeed.
crowned champions: Became champions, won the league title
back-to-back: Consecutive, one after another
shaky: Not so secure, not so good
are coveting: Desiring, really want something
compatriot: Someone from the same country
driving them on: Encouraging them, inspiring
dumped out of: beaten and knocked out of a competition
to hand: to give
ultras: extreme, often violent, fans of football teams in Italy (and elsewhere) are called ultras
stormed: invaded: ran onto
not fit to: not deserving
the crunch: the most important time; the time when everything counts
a plan B: a different tactic; an alternative way of playing