Jeremiah’s Every other league in the world preview
By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood
In lieu of writing 2,000 words on Spain, Germany, Italy and every other major league in the world, I thought I’d do a super-easy wrap-up of the other “big” leagues (that I feel like addressing). It isn’t scientific, and I don’t know everyone who was signed, but heck, I’ll be right at least some of the time (like in predicting Barcelona and Real Madrid will finish in the Top 2 in Spain).
As I complain about regularly, Spain bores the me. It’s not that some of the teams don’t play nice football, it’s just that the way their TV payments system is set up, the only teams that are truly competitive are Real Madrid and Barcelona. And now we get news the season openers might be postponed because some of the teams can’t afford to pay their players. Blah. Anyway, here’s my picks:
Champion: Real Madrid; Champions League: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Villareal, Valencia; Europa League: Malaga, Sevilla, Athletic Bilbao; Relegated: Rayo Vallecano, Granada, Levante; Top scorer: Lionel Messi, Barcelona; Player of the season: Lionel Messi, Barcelona
I enjoy the Bundesliga a lot. It offers the high-paced play that you see in England, but without the obvious discrepancies between the top teams and other teams in the league (though this is often due to poor play on the part of Bayern. Meanwhile, teams like Borussia Dortmund and Leverkusen play free-flowing attacking soccer with players who are up-and-coming as opposed to tired retreads living on past glories (I’m looking at you, Frank Lampard).
Champion: Bayern Munich; Champions League: Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen; Europa League: Stuttgart, Mainz, Hamburg; Relegated: Moenchengladbach, Freiburg, Augsburg; Top scorer: Lucas Barrios, Dortmund; Player of the Season: Franck Ribery, Bayern
It’s been a rough couple years for Italy. Even though Inter Milan won the Champions League a couple years ago, coach Jose Mourinho bailed, and all the other Italian teams have been miserable in European play. AC Milan won the league last year with a season that could probably best be describe as uninspiring. Though it was nice to see teams like Lazio, Napoli and Udinese play strongly last season, you have to believe at least one of those teams (probably Udinese) will drop back this season. Also on the horizon? An end to Inter’s recent dominance in the league – though they should still have enough to qualify for the Champions League.
Champion: AC Milan, grudgingly; Champions League: AC Milan, Napoli, Roma, Inter Milan; Europa League: Juventus, Lazio, Fiorentina; Relegated: Atalanta, Lecce, Novara; Player of the season: Marek Hamsik, Napoli; Leading scorer: Antonio Di Natale, Udinese