Bosnia

Weekend Guide 6.11.2015

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.

Weekend Guide 14.5.15

One Weekend, three games, all the information.

Another weekend is here, and I think I know what we all going to do. First read this recap. Second, watch a lot of football!

On this weekend recap we will visit one of the BabaGol's favorites rivalries, the derby of Sarajevo, we will have another decisive match in the psychotic league of Algeria and finally, prepare yourself to one the best matches in South America, El Clásico of Uruguay.

Grab your coffee, maté and vodka and join the trip!

(All the hours are in CET local time)

Saturday, 1600, FK Sarajevo – Željezničar (Bosnia and Herzegovina Premijer Liga
First, let´s check one of BabaGol clásico games, the Sarajevo derby. On Saturday, FK Sarajevo and Željezničar will play a crucial match in their chase for the title. They both ranked in the first places, and as the perfect city rivals, they are divided by class of fans and parts of the city.
FK Sarajevo dreams about a first title since 2007. For years they count as a big club in Bosnian football, but not big enough for winning titles. Everything changed two years ago, when Vincent Tan, the Malaysian owner of Cardiff, successfully bought the team, and they are just getting better and better. This season they are in 1st place with 59 points. Don't miss Leon Benko, who played in Germany and Belgium, Krste Velkoski, the team's top scorer with eight goals, and Dejan Bandović, who leads one of the best defenses in the league.
Željezničar wants to win the title once again. They have the most championships in Bosnia with five titles, and now they wish to win also title no. 6. They are on 2nd place, just one point behind FK Sarajevo, knowing that winning this match would be also revenge for their defeat in the previous derby. The key players are Riad Bajić, 21 years old youngster who scored 14 league goals, Juan Manuel Varea, Argentine who came back to Bosnia after two years in Azerbaijan, and Srđan Stanić who played for the team in the past eight seasons.

A clash of classes, a hot derby, and a direct title battle – Don’t look for action anywhere else.

Saturday, 1800, USM Bel-Abbès – ASO Chlef (Algerian Ligue Professionnelle 1)
Let’s have another visit to Algeria, where the tightest league in the world is running. This time will observe the bottom of the league. Three teams will relegate in the end of the season, and the difference now is just six points between the 2nd place and the 14th place.
In one word: a mess.
USM Bel-Abbès promoted last season from Ligue 2.  The team is one of the best teams in second division’s history, as they won it 5 times. Despite eight wins and 32 points, due to this crazy season at Ligue 1, they are on the last place. The team's top guns are Jessy Mayelea, a Dutch-Congolese player who left the Netherlands after five years, Jonathan Matijas, who played previously in Romania and Thailand, and Merouane Abdelbasset Guerriche, who was one of the dominant players last season's promotion.
ASO Chlef is much more experienced team than Bel-Abbès. They still remember their championship in 2011, when they finished first with 13 points gap from the runner-ups. Now they are in the 14th place, fighting for their survival, but as we know – every win can change the ranking dramatically. Keep your eyes on Noureddine Daham, who previously played in Germany for three years, Saad Tedjar, the team's top scorer, and Mohamed Zaouche, who plays for the club since 2004.

Algeria gives us another great match, In the most unpredictable finish line for the season. Any bets for the relegation battle?

Sunday, 2100, Peñarol – Nacional (Uruguayan Primera División)
One of the best games you can catch in South America is the Clásico of Uruguay. Some would say, it is the real Superclásico, more than Boca Juniors and River Plate, that being played tonight, in the Libertadores 1/8 final.
There is no doubt that Peñarol is one of the biggest clubs of the South American football. The team won five Copa Libertadores titles and 49 domestic league silverwares. The last Apertura season went quite bad for them, even though they finished 3rd, and now they wish to qualify to the championship playoffs as they ranked on 1st place of the Clausura. Their manager, Pablo Bengoechea, won seven championships as a Peñarol player, and now he want to win his first title as a manager. Pay attention to Marcelo Zalayeta, former Juventus and Napoli player, Antonio Pacheco, 39 years old player who won the league eight times with Peñarol (the first one was in 1994), and Pablo Migliore, one of the best goalkeepers in the league.
On the other hand, Nacional, are hoping to continue their great season. In the Apertura they finished with an impressive record of 14 wins out of 15 matches, ranked 1st with a gap of 10 points from the 2nd place and 17 from Peñarol. They didn't manage to repeat this record, but even from the 4th place they still have a chance to finish 1st also in the Clausura. The major names of Nacional are Iván Alonso, who scored 40 league goals in 53 games since he arrived, 20 of them in this season, Gustavo Munúa, who played for a decade in Spain, Jorge Fucile, who came back after seven magnificent years in Porto. Above all it is Álvaro Recoba, that even in the age of 39 keeps on scoring and impressing.

So don't waste your time, just sit back, relax and enjoy the concert.