The quest to crown the club world champion continues again on Friday as the best teams from across the world face off in the knockout rounds of the Champions Cup.Last updated by
The group stages ended quite predictably and with few surprises as nearly all the pre-tournament favorites have progressed on to the knockouts. The Knockout will offer our first real opportunity for drama as some of the tournament favorites will go head-to-head in round 2.
Cup Champions Square Off
Though the competition has frequently come under criticism due to the relatively lackluster group stage matches, club supporters and tournament organizers alike will be eagerly anticipating the upcoming matches, with some marquee names facing off against each other.
The first of these will be found in England as 3-time tournament winner SS Lazio Sibiu travels to Cool Football Club Stadium to face off against the English league champions Cool Football Club. Both teams have been widely slated as tournament favorites by pundits and bookies alike. However the true drama of the matchup is due to the Trophies that each club brought in last season, with SS Lazio seeking back-to-back Champions Cup victories, while CFC was recently crowned champions of the Super Cup.
This will not be the first time these two teams have faced off this season, having met in the Cup Winners Shield in round 1. Curiously, CFC fielded a youth lineup and was predictably battered by the experienced Lazio side.
Another European Champion?
The vast majority of teams that have advanced come from the European leagues, reflecting the clear divide in quality of club sides across the world. The only non-European champions come from across the Atlantic from the United States of America, with neither US team being slated as a serious contender in the tournament.
Two other favorites are squaring off against each other this Friday, as Gemini Bullets, the runners up for last years’ tournament, face the Russian giants Dynamo Maykop. The Russian side has been dominant in their domestic league and will hope to find their first trophy internationally but will face an uphill battle against the experienced Greek side.
The other tournament favorites hail from Germany. Schleswig has made 2 Champions Cup final appearances, having lost both contests. They will fancy their chances this season though, with several of the tournament favorites facing each other in round 2, while Schleswig should make easy work of the US side Black Dragons.