Soccer Break Wednesday – Real v Barca. Take three.

April 27, 2011

Growing tired of Real Madrid and Barcelona playing each other? Not here we aren’t. And nor is an octopus named Iker (see picture).

The Champions League is the biggest club competition in the world and generally where players peak, so Wednesday’s semi-final first leg should be the best of the recent encounters between the Spanish rivals.

A place in the final, most probably against Manchester United after their barnstorming performance on Tuesday albeit against a lacklustre Schalke 04, will be at stake. Will the third ‘clasico’ in 12 days be an all-out attack fest or a nervy 0-0?

Who is your favourite of the two sides? Barcelona for their slick-passing panache or Real for their watchability factor, in which coach Jose Mourinho plays a large role.

A player in form in the Champions League is Schalke keeper Manuel Neuer. Alex Ferguson heavily praised the German but it seems he is set for Bayern Munich as Neuer himself has ruled out a move to the Premier League.

Finally, in England Stoke City edged further away from the relegation zone with a 3-0 defeat of Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday and Wolves find themselves deep in trouble. Can they stay up? But at what cost to the FA Cup finalists Stoke after influential midfielder Matthew Etherington went off with a hamstring problem?

Discuss all these topics and other stories in world soccer on the Reuters Soccer Facebook page. And please feel free to send us recommendations for your pick of the day’s stories.

Picture: An octopus named Iker predicts the winner of the Champions League semi final soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, to be played on May 3, by choosing a sardine from a glass cylinder decorated with Real Madrid’s badge instead of the glass cylinder with Barcelona’s badge, at an aquarium in the southern Spanish city of Benalmadena, near Malaga, April 26, 2011. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

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