(Porkie) Fortuna Dusseldorf 80 – 72 Toulouse (Heco87)
Another win for Porkie cements his top of the table finish in the penultimate week, Heco87 meanwhile languishes at the bottom of the table with just the one win and no hope of getting through to next round.
With their defences scoring 15 – 11 and very similar frontlines, this tie was decided by captain choice. Porkie learned his lesson from last week and captained Bale while Heco87 did not, and captained Mata. (The only personnel difference at the front was Michu (3) Vs Lambert (2) which was neither here nor there).
(MegatronX) Sampdoria 79 – 83 Real Madrid (Demi)
A win away from home for Demi could prove crucial here. With top spot decided, second place will be between these two and Demi may well have clinched it,with a 3 point lead and the H2H won.
Again, very similar teams, with just two differences between their front eights but with both teams insightfully captaining Suarez, the tie was decided by Fletcher & Michu Vs RVP & Fellaini – no contest there. A valiant effort by Sampdoria’s extra heavy-hitter defence just wan’t enough to overcome the damage inflicted by Fellaini.
Dusseldorf lead the table on 12 points, leading Real Madrid by 3 points – but next week they face eachother. To take first place however, Real Madrid must beat Dusseldorf by more than 22 points – a tall order in what is likely to be a low scoring week. The H2H rule means that Sampdoria cannot take second place from Real Madrid, whatever happens. However the battle for pride of third place will be decided next week – if Toulouse win by more than 2 points they will take third place.
(roscola) KR Reykjavik 81 – 41 Norwich City (LightKnight)
Norwich City’s über-differential approach always threatens to deliver a big win for someone. Unfortunately, this week it was again his opponent. The size of Reykjavik’s win owed, to be fair, a large debt to lady luck – with Reykjavik’s captain (Aguero) a no show, the armband passed to Suarez and Davies performed his understudy duties with applomb. And yet the tie would have still gone to Reykjavik without this stroke of luck. For while GJ pitched up with a CS and an assist, and Zabaleta gave his now customary CS, Norwich’s other defensive big hitters barely put their boots on. Captain Gerrard managed to evade points from all four of Liverpool’s goals and LIghtKnight’s other 4 attackers managed just a single CS point between them. That was never going to be enough to deal with Bale & Walcott.
(RoysCallerAnne) Fiorentina 76 – 84 Panathanaikos (Acquafresca)
A narrow away win for massively in-form Panathanaikos here. With similar teams and the same captain, there wasn’t a lot to choose between them. Ultimately, the difference was made by choice of Reading defender – Mariappa (1) Vs Harte (4) – and choice of striker – Fletcher (2) Vs RVP (4).
Those two wins secure progression for Reykavik and Panathanaikos but first and second place will be decided by their matchup next gameweek. Panathanaikos must win to take first place; a draw would see Reykjavik win on H2H. Whatever happens next week between Fiorentina and Norwich City, Fiorentina will stay in third place with Norwich City last.
(Back to Back Ballacks) Fulham 75 – 70 FC Nordsjælland (Abhishek)
Abhishek was unlucky not get anything out of this. Fulham’s outrageously chosen captain Nani went AWOL, leaving Bale to pick up the armband. No such luck for Abhishek, whose captain (Aguero) also didn’t turn up but left duties to vice captain Lambert – ouch. While it’s always nice to see a differential choice pick up points – Fulham’s Rangel only managed a single point more than FC Nordsjælland’s Davies, leaving them near enough all square at the back. With the only point scoring difference between them at the front being Back to Back’s Van Persie, they ended up just one point apart with home advantage quintupling that to 5 points. A lesson there for us all in choosing your vice captain wisely.
(Captain Shirokov) Limerick FC 69 – 60 US Pescara (Goonerdhanesh)
A very interesting tie this one. Back-to-Back Ballacks had all but won the group, leaving Captain Shirokov and Goonerdhanesh to fight it out for second place. This was therefore a vital match. Strong defensive showing on either side here, with both teams collecting 3 clean sheets, though from completely different players. Stalemate in midfield too, with identical points from Limerick’s Mata & Michu to Pescara’s Lampard & Silva. There wasn’t much to choose between them in attack either; with Sturridge injured and Pog suspended, Limerick relied on Lambert’s 2 to square up to Gouffran and Giroud’s 2 each. So once again, the tie came down to captain choice. Limerick made no mistake here – Bale thrashed Pescara’s hapless vice-captain Giroud to take the tie.
Fulham sit untoppleably atop the table on 12, with FC Limerick second on 9 and US Pescara on 6. A win next week for FC Limerick will take them through. FC Nordsjælland now cannot qualify but perhaps can decide second place by beating FC Limerick; if US Pescara also beat Fulham, they will go through ahead of FC Limerick, having already won the H2H. All to play for then.
(Coldplay) AS Nancy Lorraine 39 – 61 FC Metalist Kharkiv (TM245)
A disappointing showing from Coldplay this week, with AS Nancy Lorraine failing to grab a single one of the goals on offer. Assists from Walcott and captain (brave!) RVP were mere consolations as TM245 cleaned up with captain Bale and Ba raking in the points for a comfortable victory. Coldplay may find that this defeat kills his Europa campaign; neck and neck on 7 points with Brian – Not the Messiah, their H2H has already been decided in Stuttgart’s favour. A win for Stuttgart next week will seal second place for him.
(Brian – Not the Messiah) VfB STuttgart 62 – 78 Celtic (Count of Monte Hristo)
Celtic continue their domination of the group with a win over VfB Stuttgart that leaves second place open. It looks rather like Brian was asleep at the wheel this week – benching Michu and Davies at home to Newcastle in favour of both Fabio and Clyne, with Walcott (C) – suspiciously the same as the previous gameweek. It could have gone worse but the Count needs no headstart in this game and punished him accordingly. Suarez and Captain Bale did the big damage while a solid defensive show from Zabaleta & Azpil stuck the boot in. What a naughty boy Brian is.
Celtic are now in the enviable position of not having to care (for the purposes of Europa) what happens in the treacherous GW29; they will now progress in first place. Second place will be decided next week but VfB Stuttgart are very much in the driving seat (if they can stay awake this time). A win for VfB Stuttgart will mean that even if AS Nancy Lorraine win their game, the H2H rule will carry VfB Stuttgart through. Metalist sadly have no chance of progressing.