We’re a little closer to an international break than I’d like to be, but let’s not focus on that at the moment.
Ramble of the Day
With another round of Champions League games coming up, now would be as good a time as any to talk Bleacher Report’s animated mini-series about the tournament, The Champions. The people behind the show imagine what it might be like if some of the main faces and names of the tournament, from players to coaches, all lived in the same place; naturally, drama ensues, but a whole storyline is well-packaged in a couple of minutes.
What The Champions does best is takes the details that football obsessives like you and me know about the sport and its people, and packages it into a comprehensive story that is engaging. The creators accomplish this in every episode, but I think they do it best in Episode 4, in which Bayern Munich try to poach Christian Pulisic. It takes a story that is well known to global football’s fanbase, Bayern’s poaching of the Bundesliga’s best young talent, and it makes it enjoyable for that audience, but also straightforward enough for anyone with less familiarity.
The best parts of not just this, but every episode, are the little details. The creators throw shade at the U.S. men’s national team by having Pulisic reading an index card entitled “The Complete Encyclopedia of USMNT Success;” eventually, when the setting moves to Bayern’s Oktoberfest party, they crack a joke about how young Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann looks, and even reference Thomas Müller’s nickname of raumdeuter and Arjen Robben’s of the Flying Dutchman. Müller’s nickname provides color to his character, who ends up seeming a little bit self-obsessed and cocky. Whether it’s realistic or not is another question; you believe the story world that is being created, from Müller’s love of self to Marco Reus’s jealousy that Bayern never came calling for him. It’s wrapped up very well in three-and-a-half minutes, which is pretty impressive.
Another strong one is Episode 5, which features a brief cameo from Mauricio Pochettino, but is mostly about the rivals of Pep Guardiola, and how Jürgen Klopp and José Mourinho stack up in that regard. There’s a fun play on romance and contrasts in the back end of the episode that’s worth getting through the beginning sequence of paintball between Manchester City players. Harry Kane also makes an appearance at the very beginning of that one, and plays a part at the end of Episode 1, in case you were looking for the Tottenham people.
Every now and again, it enjoys its bits a little too much, but for a few minutes of your time, it’s a well-produced and fun way to spend that time.
tl;dr: A review of Bleacher Report’s The Champions.
Links of the Day
Several Leicester City players have traveled to Bangkok for the funeral of the club’s owner, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, after the team’s 1-0 victory at Cardiff over the weekend.
Lionel Messi is in FC Barcelona’s squad to face Inter Milan in the Champions League despite fracturing his arm two weeks ago.
Wayne Rooney will get a farewell match for England and will face the United States at Wembley during the international break for his 120th international appearance.
Today’s longer read: Der Spiegel’s Football Leaks team breaks down the latest leaks about Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and the European Super League