The Hipster Tie – Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund

Simon Smith and David Dodds preview the mouthwatering Champions League clash between the Ukrainian and German Champions…

Is this the pick of the round? It may not have the glamour of Manchester United versus Real Madrid or the history of Barcelona versus Milan, but there is a certain something about Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund this season that can be difficult to put your finger on. The tie has a special feel to it. Both teams have flown, rather unfairly, under the radar for the last couple of seasons only to fully announce themselves in this year’s group stage by knocking out much higher profile opposition. Continue reading

Underbelly of World Talent Takes Centre-Stage

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As the Champions League returns for the knockout stage, James Dutton looks at some of the names ready to light up the competition…

It is an old adage in the football world that has been popularized over time; if you lay any claim to be amongst the best in world football, either at present or through the ages, then you have to prove it on the greatest stage of all – the World Cup.

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The CIS League: Political Football in the Soviet Union

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Think Russia has given up on all to do with the USSR? Think again. False Nine Russian correspondent, Andy Shenk, assesses the aims and implications of a proposed CIS league gaining popular support from leading Russian clubs and courting controversy with the RFS, most of Ukraine and a certain Sepp Blatter…

FIFA President Sepp Blatter dealt potential breakaway Russian clubs and their plans for a Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) football league a harsh blow on January 20: “FIFA is not interested at all in this competition… Competitions between them [clubs] take place within the framework and under the control of the national associations, within the borders of their country and association. That is the fundamental principle.” Continue reading

Foreign Talent Driving Ukrainian Resurgence

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The False Nine’s David Dodds takes a look at the burgeoning amount of foreign talent in the Ukrainian Premier League…

In recent years, Ukrainian teams have been able to entice some real quality from abroad. No one has benefited from foreign players more than Shakhtar Donetsk, who last season won the league for the third year in a row. Shakhtar were nowhere near as prominent in the old Soviet system as arch-rivals Dynamo Kiev, and spent much of the first decade in the new Ukrainian league playing second-fiddle to their auspicious rivals. Continue reading