Champions League Weekly - The Quest to Qualify Feb. 21, 2010 As the TFL's second season began, there was a lot of anticipation for all clubs involved. After the success of the inaugural season, expanded interest led to a new club draw where both old and new were to get a fresh crack at building their name alongside the name of a traditional mainstay of the football world. The decision to expand from 4* to 4.5* teams brought some of the most storied names in club football around the globe to the forefront of the TFL. AC Milan, Liverpool, Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Lyon, Juventus... and the list goes on and on. The different club dynamics led to truly great choices depending on one's particular play style from the first pick to the last. By combining the factors of the fresh teams, the growth of the league, and the chance at a new beginning, the excitement around the TFL was genuine. Another aspect of this excitement was the addition of a Champions League tournament to the TFL mix. Now, not only does each manager have the chance to prove greatness by being the most consistent over an entire season in his league, he has the chance to prove he is truly the best by topping the competition in the league-wide cup. Can the giants of the league maintain their dominance and take the crown? Can a newcomer with a slightly less formidable squad manage to pull an upset for the ages? Even those less creative minds can start to conjure up fantastic images of yet-to-be written football lore. As the day approaches, there is but one certainty: only 16 clubs will vie for the Champions League crown. And so, here we are, one matchweek to play before the field will be set, and plenty can happen; the table is almost entirely open for those that can play their way in. To start to unravel the mess, we must first look at the combined league table of both the Premier League and League 1: To this point, there are really only two groups that are clearly defined: the green group of three that tops the table, and the red group of two that resides at the bottom. That leaves a remarkable 17 teams vying for what is, realistically, 13 spots. Having said that, no one is actually mathematically eliminated should they lead their club to a perfect six point week. By taking a look at the combined table, it is apparent that every match this week will have an impact on who qualifies and who doesn't. We cannot highlight every one, but here are some of the key Week 3 matchups to keep an eye on: Villareal v. Liverpool: This one was completed early with Villareal taking the fixture by the score of 3-0, an important result for JFace to stay ahead of a team tied with him in points going into this week. Arsenal v. Roma: Another already completed match, this one ended in a 1-1 draw. Coupled with a draw against Aston Villa this week, Roma will be left to sweat the rest of the results out, but a 7 point total could just be enough. Arsenal gains a crucial point. [From matchweek 2 but not included in the table update] AC Milan v. FC Porto: A key fixture between two teams separated by a point ends with Porto distancing themselves on the back of a 1-0 win. This keeps Milan below the qualification line and Porto above it. Hamburger SV v. Wolfsburg: Wolfsburg takes this one 3-1 to keep Hamburger under the qualification line and themselves above it. Fulham v. Bayer Leverkusen: Leverkusen takes this one 4-1 in impressive fashion in what was a matchup of two teams tied on points. Both teams are ahead of the qualification line, but the loss by Fulham may have their fans and manager a bit nervous. Galatasaray v. Benfica: Both teams are only separated by a point heading into this week of play with a lot riding on the match. Both clubs have both games against teams right around them in the table, so all 3 matches will have an impact on the combined table. Dortmund v. Zenit: Two points separate these two clubs as the week begins, and if Zenit can come away with a win they have the easier 2nd game of the week (Bordeaux). Dortmund was dismantled by Everton 6-0 in their first match and will need to win to stay comfortably in the field of 16. Those are some of the matches that have already been completed as well as some that have not as we march towards finalizing the 16 teams that will compete for the inaugural Tradition Champions League title. There is sure to be a lot of excitement this week! Next week, we'll have a special edition of Champions League Weekly when the groups are announced with our expert panel's picks (panel will consist of those who miss out on the Champions League so that they may still participate). The time is almost here; who will qualify??