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Saturday Soccer Special: 3 great battles!

Saturday Soccer Special: 3 great battles!
May 16
20:59 2014
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It is hard to recall a weekend as decisive as this in football.

In England, Arsenal will be looking to end a nine-year trophy drought when they take on Hull City in the final of the FA Cup on Saturday evening. But Wigan beat Manchester City in the 2013 final which will give Hull a lot of belief.

In Germany, the country’s top two sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund go head-to-head in the DFB Cup final at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.

In Spain, the Primera Liga title comes down to one game on the final day of the season. Barcelona at home against Atletico Madrid. The champions will come from this encounter. Atletico are on top, three points clear, but a victory for the hosts in Camp Nou will leave them celebrating, while anything other than a Barcelona win will leave Atletico as the season winners based on head-to-head play.

Three countries; three games; three analysts (a fan, a journalist, and a technical head) share their thoughts with TheCable.

Godwin Dudu-Orumen, renowned football buff
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid
It is a title decider which will be very interesting. I like Diego Simeone and I would love his team to win the league. He needs to send out the message that La Liga is not just about Real Madrid and Barcelona. He needs to make a statement that he’s the new boss in town.

Prediction: Atletico need only a point to clinch the title and they will get it.

Hull vs. Arsenal
I don’t think Hull City have the bite to hurt Arsenal. I see the Gunners ending their nine-year trophy drought. I’m sure Arsenal have learnt from their League Cup loss to Birmingham in 2011. They have the muscle to do it this time.

Prediction: Arsenal will win.

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
Bayern are a team on decline and it’s made faster with Pep Guardiola in charge. They have reached their optimum and are going down. They are going down every day despite winning the German League with a record nineteen points above their closest rival. Under Jupp Heynckes, Bayern were more forceful and direct than now when they make only sideway passes. Their game is becoming unwatchable.

Prediction: Dortmund won’t end the season without a trophy.

Must-see-game
That has to be the Barcelona vs. Atletico game. It will be a cracker.

Chris Green, chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) technical committee
Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid
Who wins the game wins the title. Atletico still have to play Real Madrid in the Champions League final and they could be distracted which could cost them dear. Barca wouldn’t want to end the season without a trophy and this could be a huge incentive going into this tie.

Prediction: I want Atletico to win the title.
Hull vs. Arsenal
It’s a tricky tie for Arsenal because when the opposition appears to be weak there is the tendency for one to drop his guard and end up losing. Their game in the League Cup final against Birmingham City comes to mind. Hull are the underdogs and it is even an achievement that they got to the final in the first place. And though they lost twice to Arsenal in the league, they could be their albatross in Saturday’s game. I remember they lost their last league match at home to Everton, they rested some players which means they have the FA Cup in mind that day and were planning towards it. I see Arsene Wenger and his players suffering from fear factor in this match.

Prediction: The first 30minutes will decide the game. I wouldn’t want to stick out my neck and pick an outright winner and moreover, I don’t want to bear the brunt of my friends who are Arsenal fans.

Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund
It will be a fantastic weekend of games and this won’t be different. The underdogs have the inspiration and the desire to win while the favourites know they can’t afford to be complacent. Those of us in the technical committee of the NFF will be looking at these games for the different strategies and approaches the teams will adopt which will be of great benefit to us. Some of the teams will want to entertain and hope to get the desired result. Some could decide to be boring, soak up the pressure and still try and win. It will be an interesting weekend and we at the NFF are interested in the games.

Prediction: Bayern will win.

Must-see-game
The Barcelona and Atletico game shouldn’t be missed by anyone who loves the game. It is the game that stands out because La Liga is superior to the EPL and the German Bundesliga.

Nurudeen Obalola, editor, Complete Sports
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid
Barcelona were out of the title race then they got back in after a weird set of results. Now they have a chance to win it at home and end a poor season – by their ridiculously high standards – with a trophy. A win hands them the title and also helps Lionel Messi’s quest to regain the Ballon d’Or. A league title and a good World Cup outing wouldn’t hurt.
This is Atletico’s first Liga title bid in years and a big opportunity to break the Real/Barca duopoly.
Prediction: A tense draw, meaning Atletico win the title.

Arsenal vs Hull
It’s Arsenal’s best chance to break a nine-year trophy drought so this means everything to the Arsene Wenger, the players, their fans and everybody that has anything to do with the club. Wenger would also love nothing more than to win a trophy while the man who branded him a ‘specialist in failure’ – Jose Mourinho – ended the season without a trophy.

So it’s hugely important to the Gunners that they win this one. Hull are clearly the underdogs and are expected to lose, but this is a massive occasion for them too. It’s their first FA Cup final ever and manager Steve Bruce’s first shot at a major trophy as a coach. If they win, it would be historic.

Prediction: A slim Arsenal victory, not more than a two-goal margin. They’ve learnt from the 2011 League Cup final loss to Birmingham and the near disaster against Wigan in this year’s FA Cup semi-final.

Bayern vs Dortmund
This is Dortmund’s only opportunity to avoid a second straight trophyless season and prevent Bayern from claiming another domestic double.
Bayern need to win the Cup to soften the disappointment of losing to Real in the UCL semi-final. They won the UCL, German Cup and Bundesliga treble last season so winning only the league title isn’t enough for their fans.
Coach Pep Guardiola is under a bit of pressure and he needs to win the Cup to keep his critics at bay. Two out of three wouldn’t be too bad for him.

Prediction: A thrilling draw with Bayern winning on penalties. Both sides love to attack and there will be plenty of goals.

Must-see-game
The Barca/Atletico match. It’s extremely rare to have two teams fighting for the league title playing each other on the final day of the season with the trophy at stake. Definitely one not to miss.

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