In these rainy cold days, only football can keep you warm and cozy. This weekend we have the Asian Champions League final, a close race in Bosnia i Herzegovina and the start of the Lebanese league.
(All the hours are in CET local time)
Amateur (Like this guy)
What? Al Ahly – Guangzhou Evergrande (AFC Champions League)
When? Saturday, 1645
Where? Al-Rashid Stadium, Dubai
Why? It's the time to decide which team is the best in the Asian football. Al Ahly will host the first leg of the final, while Guangzhou will host the second leg two weeks later. Al Ahly can be the first Emirati club to win the title since Al Ain in 2003, while Guangzhou Evergrande will try to win their second title in three years.
Key Players: Despite all the Brazilian expensive players on the squad, the best Al Ahly player in this campaign was the local Ahmed Khalil, with 6 goals and 4 assists, including some decisive goals in the knockout. Gouangzhou Evergrande top player is Ricardo Goulart, the tournament top scorer with 8 goals and the main figurer in the last Chinese title of Guangzhou.
Last Train to the Final: Al Ahly was almost eliminated, as in the semi final second leg the result was 2:2 and Al Hilal from Saudi Arabia was about to qualify by away goals. Dramatic goal in the 95th minute of the Korean Kwon Kyung-Won led Al Ahly all the way to the final.
Professional (like this guy)
What? Sloboda Tuzla – Zrinjski (Premijer liga Bosne i Hercegovine)
When? Sunday, 1330
Where? Stadion Tušanj, Tuzla
Why? Take a look on the Bosnian league table. Zrinjski leading the table with 30 points and then there are three teams, all with 28 points. Sloboda is among them. While Zrinjski know how it feels to win the title, Sloboda will try to make a step towards their first title ever.
Key Players: Sloboda have the league’s top scorer, Mersudin Ahmetović, who came back to his former team after 7 years in Russia and Belarus. Zrinjski conceded only 4 goals in 14 matches, and they will thank Goran Karačić, the 19 years old goalkeeper who already played for the U21 Bosnia national team.
Lucky Losers: Zrinjski have similar story to the one we had last week. In 2008 UEFA Cup, they met Partizan Belgrade and defeated by aggregate score of 1:11. Zrinjski still qualified, as UEFA decided to expel Partizan after crowd troubles in Mostar.
World Class (like this guy)
What?Al Ahed – Racing (Lebanese Premier League)
When? Sunday, 1530
Where? Beirut Municipal Stadium, Beirut
Why? The Lebanese league started just few weeks ago, and every team wants to have another win. Al Ahed, the reigning champions, already lost their opening match, but won their next two games, are holding the 2nd place carefully. Racing wants to have close title race, all the way to first title since 1970. They are in 4th place, equaled to Al Ahed by points.
Key Players: One of the greatest players in Al Ahed is Abbas Ali Atwi, who plays for the team since 2005 and made 42 international caps. In Racing you can find Octavian Drăghici, which left the lower leagues of Romania for the first time after 12 years.
Lebanese Diaspora: While the Lebanese players are not well known in the history of the football, there are still some players with Lebanese roots such as the legendary Faryd Mondragon and the current Mexican superstar, Miguel Layún.