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Blog - ESPN FC United

 By Rory Smith

Champions League in danger of losing its appeal by becoming too predictable

Take a By The Numbers look ahead of the Champions League semifinal first legs, as Real Madrid search for consecutive Champions League titles and Bayern Munich aim to continue their dominance at the Camp Nou.

The rhetoric is already being ramped up. Sergio Ramos has described the first leg of Real Madrid's Champions League semifinal with Juventus as one of "three finals" for Carlo Ancelotti's team this season. Lionel Messi is busy insisting that the prospect of meeting Pep Guardiola is not motivating Barcelona's players; Thomas Muller is confident his coach's intimate knowledge of his former club gives Bayern Munich the most slender of advantages.

This week is one of those rare occasions where the hype...

Targu Mures on verge of becoming football's unlikeliest champion ever

In just their first season back in Romania's stop-flight, Targu Mures are closing in their first ever title.
In just their first season back in Romania's stop-flight, Targu Mures are closing in their first ever title.

They are a small, newly promoted team who were expected to struggle in a relegation battle with a bunch of ageing has-beens in their squad. They controversially sacked not one but two coaches by December. Their general manager abandoned the club as well. They very nearly sold their only promising young player during the winter break. Their best known player was underperforming and was close to having his contract terminated. Their top scorer is a fervent and vocal fan of their rivals' president....

 By Uli Hesse

The 1979 Cup Winners' Cup final: Fortuna Dusseldorf's greatest game

Barcelona captain Asensi lifts the Cup Winners' Cup.

There were barely five minutes gone when Carles Rexach received the ball. He cut inside and all but teased Egon Kohnen by swiftly moving past him when the German made a stab at the ball.

While Rexach was bearing down on the box, Tente Sanchez made a run down the right wing, outpacing his marker Hubert Schmitz. Rexach waited until he had drawn sweeper Gerd Zewe out of position, then he played the ball into his teammate's path.

Sanchez controlled the ball with his first touch and -- hardly breaking...

Pep Guardiola faces biggest challenge yet against former club Barcelona

The ESPN FC crew give their take on the SPI prediction that gives Barcelona a slight edge over Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League.

The wonder, and real key to the Champions League semifinal between Barcelona and Bayern Munich, is whether Pep Guardiola has by now found what he describes as the "flash of inspiration ... the moment that makes sense of my profession."

Because, by the time the Bayern coach returns to the luscious lights and 99,000 welcoming fans of the Camp Nou on Wednesday, Guardiola will hope to disappoint those same fans by drawing on what he has deduced from hours spent alone in a darkened room.

It is his preparation...

Talking Points: Chelsea repeat, Liverpool-Man United, Serie A second

ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.

Football always inspires debate, and this weekend was no exception. Here are five burning questions on the ESPN FC radar.

Vote and comment below or on Twitter using the hashtag #FCtalkingpoints.

Despite being called "boring," "not great," and unattractive this week, Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 1-0 to secure the 2014-15 Premier League trophy. It's the eighth league title Mourinho has won during his managerial career.

Who will be crowned Premier League champions next season?

Though Chelsea have wrapped up the top spot, things got interesting over...

 By Alex Shaw

Champions Chelsea influence Team of the Weekend after league title glory

Eden Hazard's header following a saved penalty was enough to secure Chelsea's fourth Premier League title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley believes Chelsea were far better than the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City after being crowned 2015 Premier League champions.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley joins SportsCenter to discuss Chelsea's dominating title win.
ESPN FC's Craig Burley discusses Chelsea's title-clinching win over Crystal Palace and breaks down the keys along Chelsea's road to the title.

After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Our panel of experts carefully select 11 star performers, along with a manager.

Do you agree or disagree? You can have your say on those picked or overlooked in the comments section at the foot of the article or on Twitter using the hashtag #TOTW. Plus, tune in to Monday's "ESPN FC" (5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) for further reaction.

ESPN FC's Team of the Weekend

Goalkeeper: Manchester United were wretched against West Brom but can still count...