Blog

Winning away

Games without fans and matches played at neutral venues have taken the sting out of away games in Europe, argues Simon Hart

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

Winning away
Blog

Winning away

Games without fans and matches played at neutral venues have taken the sting out of away games in Europe, argues Simon Hart

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

One thing to look out for when the Champions League Round of 16 continues this week is how the home teams fare.

After all, as Club Atlético de Madrid (albeit in Bucharest), Lazio, Atalanta and Borussia Mönchengladbach take on their respective visitors – Chelsea, Bayern München, Real Madrid and Manchester City – it will be intriguing to see if there’s a trend taking shape with regards to away victories in this season’s competition.

There was just one home success in the opening four fixtures of the knockout stage last week, Porto’s defeat of Juventus. The other three matches produced away wins for Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool, though in the Reds’ case that was in Budapest.

Of course, the fact the group winners play away first in this round should be taken into account, yet after a group stage which featured the most away victories this century (36 compared with 40 at home) there is a question worth asking regarding the impact of football without supporters.

A quick glance at results in Europe’s biggest five leagues at the weekend showed home losses for Atlético, Liverpool and Paris – in the Reds’ case, their fourth in a row in the league at Anfield marked their worst sequence since 1923. In both the Premier League and Ligue 1, six of the 20 clubs have won more games away than at home. Bayern are among five Bundesliga clubs with more victories on the road.

It may be that winning away in Europe is not as difficult as it once was; it is certainly not the step into the unknown that it was in the early years of the UEFA club competitions. Even 20 years ago, in 2000/01, there were just 16 away wins recorded in the UEFA Champions League’s first group stage. Ten years ago the figure was 27.

The curve has been upwards for some time, but this season’s spike is worth noting, even if drawing conclusions may be premature. In an empty Camp Nou, Barcelona have suffered back-to-back 3-0 and 4-1 defeats in the UEFA Champions League. Yesterday’s home Liga draw with Cádiz had Spanish commentators speculating on the absence of a fear factor – and, for the hosts, the butterflies and buzz and energy rush of performing in front of a home crowd.

Erling Haaland scored twice more at Seville (above); Kylian Mbappé on the run in Barcelona (top)
Haaland impresses

Admittedly, the man who destroyed them with that devastating hat-trick at Camp Nou last Tuesday, Kylian Mbappé, seems to know no fear whatever the circumstances. Down in the south of Spain the next night, I had the pleasure of seeing Erling Haaland in the flesh for the first time. A Sevilla side on a run of seven successive clean sheets looked suddenly hapless when confronted by Haaland’s thrilling mix of speed and power and hunger.

He stands at times like he’s stooping to fit through a door; there were times in the first half where the 20-year-old left Sevilla’s defence looking Lilliputian, a greedy dad running amok in a kids’ game. The hyperbolic descriptions of the Norwegian in the Spanish media the next morning – monster, giant, buffalo – felt justified. So too an answer of his in the upcoming issue of Champions Journal. When asked what comes into his mind when the Champions League is mentioned, he replies: “I think of the ball going into the net.”

Haaland now stands alone at the top of this season’s scoring chart with eight goals. This week, two other of the group stage’s top marksmen, Gladbach’s Alassane Pléa and Lazio’s Ciro Immobile will try adding to their five strikes from the group stage. Pléa and his Gladbach colleagues may not have it easy against a City side on an 18-match winning run and who ended the group stage with just two goals conceded.

As for the side with the second-meanest defence before Christmas, Chelsea, their new coach Thomas Tuchel faces his first European assignment since replacing Frank Lampard. It comes against the longest-serving coach of any last-16 club, Atleti's Diego Simeone. Something else to look out for in the week ahead.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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