Noob has you Monday blahs-cure. Embrace the darkness!
Nearly all today’s featured matches involve teams on the verge of being Relegated from their current league. Let’s get to know them before they fade into the mist.
Remember you can check back for Results on Noob’s Tracks, too.
Oh, and please consider following Noob on Twitter: @SoccerNoobUSA
Now, two matches of non-sadness!
USC Landhaus Vienna vs. BIIK Kazygurt – UEFA women’s Champions League
The “Qualifying Round” is a Group affair. 40 clubs are divided into pods of four each. Each group plays a single round robin, out of which the winners and two best-performing runners-up advance to the Knockout Stage.
There are ton of matches today. Noob’s learning curve on the women’s side of the game has been even more difficult than for the men’s, so I can’t tell you much about the clubs. Noob does recognize Kazygurt – a Kazakh club – from last year’s event as one that performed very well. They are 2-0-0 so far in this event, have qualified to advance already.
Landhaus qualified by finishing #B in Austria’s top flite, the Frauenliga. They are 1-0-1, 3rd place in the Group. They’re tied in points in the table with a Greek Club, but down a couple on goal-differential. This Group’s matches are all in Latvia.
RESULT: Kazygurt 0-2
B. Al Ahly vs. Al Nejmeh – Arab Club Champions Cup
This is a stand-alone event, meaning it doesn’t play a direct role in qualification to other international events. It’s run annually, this being its 28th season. Currently, clubs from 20 Arab nations participate. Half are from Asia, half from Africa.
After to very short qualification rounds, they are down to 32 clubs. This First Round, each pair of teams are playing two-legged ties.
Al Nejmeh is a Lebanese team which finished 3rd in their last complete league season. They had to play in the second of the qualification rounds. Now they will get smushed by Africa’s best club. Noob thinks this will be a rout, Al Ahly by 3+ goals.
So this individual match by itself isn’t so much “important” to us, but Noob thinks it’s important and fun to knows the event is happening at all. I’d never heard of it before.
بَاء Fun Fact: That’s pronounced like a Number B in Arabic. Or maybe more like ‘B + long A sound’. Noob is noob on many topics.
1. FC Cologne vs. Union Berlin – 2. Bundesliga
Noob starts us of on our Relegation tour today in a different way than before. This league is just starting, so no team is in any kind of danger yet. Rather, FC Cologne were demoted after a miserable season in the top league last year.
On paper, Noob would make Union Berlin a full-goal underdog today. But it’s so hard to know if a team like Cologne is in position and spending money to try and climb right back up, or cutting costs and willing to leave with any sort of finish this season.
Disturbing Fact: If that logo was a movie scene, it might not make the rated-R cut…
Norrkoping vs. Hammarby – Sweden Allsvenskanliga
Now we jump into league matches, though this first is not a Drop Zone match. These two are #4 and #B in UEFA’s 22nd-ranked league. Hey, they’re playing.
Norrkoping is eight points out of 1st and the league’s only Champions League invitation. They’re not playing like they’re going make a push the last couple matches. Meanwhile. Hammarby trail AIK by just two, and have played one less match than them. They’ve also won three straight. The teams play about the same defense, but Hammarby have the offense to pull off an important road win today.
Trellesborg vs. Sundsvall – Sweden Allsvenkanliga
And now, the Swedish sadness! Noob saved you a box of tissues after being here last week, Trellesborg.
The bottom two from this league will get automatically Dropped. Trellesborg are in second-to-last, four points from daylight, which even still might only mean having to play in a Relegation Playoff match with a second division team for the right to stay up. Noob thinks they’re a goal underdog to their midtable guests today.
RESULT: Sundsvall 1-6
Fun Fact: Trellesborg have an American defender on their roster — Kofi Sarkodie. Prior to this year, he most recently played for MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes.
Union Comercio vs. Melgar – Peru Premier
Here’s an intriguing matchup. Peru’s Premier plays three separate seasons per year. The worst two from the aggregate of all three will get The Boot.
Here near the end second season, they’re actually 10th of 18 clubs. But they were far and away the worst club during the first season, and still sit in last place in that aggregate table. At home today, Noob thinks they’re in even match against Melgar. They still can’t score, but at least now they’re preventing the other teams from doing so at will.
3 de Febrero vs. Cerro Porteño – Paraguay Premier
3dF fans know they’re rooting for a second-tier club. They were just promoted this season and they’re going right back down– deep in last place in the year’s aggregate table. C.P. finished #B in the recently-concluded Apertura, so this could be ugly today.
RESULT: CP 1-3
3dF’s home of Ciudad del Este was a filming location for “Miami Vice”.
Merreikh Nyala vs. Kober – Sudan Premier
Sudan’s is the 7th-ranked league in Africa, though no thanks to these two sad sacks.
Late in the season, this one breaks up into Championship and Relegation divisions. Nyala was midtable, but now are dead last in that second subdivision. Kober was a midtable team as well, but they have been playing well enough to stay above the Cut Line. A whopping four teams will get moved down after everything is done.
RESULT: Kober 0-1
Not Exactly FUN Fact: In Nyala, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan cofounded The Amel Center — a place of rehab and treatment for torture victims.
(How about that, two Kofi’s in one Track!)
PSIS vs. Bhayangkara – Indonesia Liga 1
Liga 1 here is 27th-ranked in Asia, putting it a little below average.
PSIS are nowhere near average, sitting in second-to-last. They’re three points from daylight, but have to leapfrog two teams, as three will be sent down. They’re defense looks average on paper, but it’s really due to they just don’t try playing much offense. Their guests today are midtable folk.
Fun Fact: PSIS are based in Semarang, the capital of the province of Central Java.
RESULT: Bhyangkara 1-2
Jonkopings Sodra vs. Varnamo – Sweden Superettan
More Sweden? Understandable. Noob misses the technical support and stylings for Dan the former Intern-o Inferno, too. Hopefully once he settles into his new entry-level role at his dream organization – the SvFF, Sweden’s women’s professional soccer org – he’ll check in with us. Buuhhhhht Noob thinks he might really be a spy, so maybe not. Time will tell.
This is Sweden’s second division, from which to will get run out. Last-place Varnamo must be Swedish for “make the football sad”. Then again, Noob studied Spanish on and off throughout his school and university years. Me gusta juveos muchos en mis pantalones. Amirite or amirite? J.S. are meh.
RESULT: Varnamo 1-3 It’s a Relegation Monday Miracle!
So long from Noob and fictional lovers Per and Kersti, at the Apladalen in Varnamo!