(S6) Inside Serie B

Discussion in 'TSL B' started by heznfire, Jun 4, 2012.

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  1. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Inside Serie B

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    June 4, 2012

    First off, I need to say that the extra content that has been generated by everyone has been awesome to start Season 6. As I mentioned to Nickaepi in another post, it breathes life into this league.

    Secondly, I want to add more content for Serie B by adapting HokieNYC's great idea and starting a "Inside Serie B" feature. If you haven't had a chance to do so, I recommend you read his feature for Serie A. While Serie B users have written posts with a similar format for their individual clubs in their team pages, I believe a league-wide series would generate great interest. The feature would include a recap of the important results of last week's matches, a preview to next week's matches (where I would link to kaptainkracker1's GOTW previews), Players of the Week, Most Clutch Players of the Week, Stats of the Week, Did You Know: Random Tidbits, interviews with managers throughout the campaign, etc. I know most of these are from "Inside Serie A", I would get started with that and expand from there.

    Zikry has given me the OK for this feature. I'm going to have a post recapping Match Week 1 and previewing Match Week 2 either tonight or tomorrow. If you have any suggestions for any other additional ideas to include in the feature, please let me know in this thread or PM me.

    I hope you will enjoy the feature, and thanks to HokieNYC for coming up with this great idea for Serie A.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
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  2. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 1-3 Recap: The Blood Bath Begins

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    June 4, 2012

    Summary

    Heading into Season 6, it was widely predicted that there were no clear-cut favorites for the Serie B Championship. Some believed that BESHIKTAS's QPR would finally break into Serie A after placing one spot away from promotion three of the last four seasons, while others thought former Serie A managers and returnees kaptainkracker1 and snake3249 would lead Dinamo Moscow and Sao Paulo, respectively, back to the upper tier. Two wild cards were jb_banco's Olympiakos and heznfire's Parma, who each received a vote in the preseason Favorite to Top the League poll despite competing in Serie C last season. What ever way you want to shake it, it was agreed that the Serie B Championship could go to any club.

    After Match Week 1, that statement held true as the blood bath began. Through the first three match days, no team could secure more than six points and only two squads -- Parma and Roger's Santos -- remain undefeated. And to fall in line with Match Week 1's theme, neither undefeated club sits atop the Serie B table, with both grabbing a win and two draws for five points and a fourth-place tie. Two points separate the top seven teams in Serie B, and this tiny margin should be expected the rest of the campaign.

    Club of the Week

    QPR

    The three squads that did manage to make it to the top of Serie B with six points were Olympiakos, Dinamo Moscow, and QPR. While QPR currently sits in third of the three-way tie due to goal differential, the club from White City, London had the most impressive performance of the week due to strength of schedule. In its first three matches, QPR beat the other two first-place teams and fell to undefeated fourth-place Santos. That is a brutal three-match stretch. To get six points out of it shows that QPR is a legitimate contender out of the gates and deserving of the inaugural Serie B Club of the Week.

    Matches of the Week

    1. QPR 1 - 0 Dinamo Moscow: Bobby Zamora scores the the lone goal with a brilliant flick in the 62nd minute to give QPR three points in a showdown between two of Serie B's top clubs

    2. Aston Villa 3 - 3 Parma: Aston Villa storms back from an early 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals, but Sergio Floccari saves Parma from a total collapse by heading in the game-tying goal in the 75th minute.

    3. Olympiakos 2 - 1 SC Braga: Kevin Mirrallas hits the back of the net twice late (71' & 78') to help Olympiakos overcome a first-half own goal.

    Players of the Week


    1. Sergio Floccari, Parma - Four goals and three assists for seven points

    2. Rafael, Santos - Two clean sheets, 13 shots on net faced, 12 saves, one GA

    3. Giovanni Sio, VfL Wolfsburg - Three goals and two assists for five points

    Clutch of the Week

    Sergio Floccari, Parma - Scored game-tying goals in the 75th minute or later in matches against Sao Paulo and Aston Villa; recorded four points (2g, 2a) in 29-minute span in the second half of a 5-1 win against VfL Wolfsburg

    Stats of the Week

    1. There were two own goals (Olympiakos, VfL Wolfsburg) to only one PK goal (QPR).

    2. Santos saw only four goals (3 GF, 1 GA) and Bologna saw only five goals (3 GF, 2 GA) in three matches.

    3. SC Braga is the only Serie B team remaining without a point in the table.

    Match Week 2 Preview

    Previews will be a separate post and more in-depth in future weeks. Here is kaptainkracker1's GOTW feature:

    Match Day 4: Dinamo Moscow v. Santos - Prediction: 1-1
    Match Day 5: Parma v. QPR - Prediction: 4-3
    Match Day 6: Sao Paulo v. SC Braga - Prediction: 3-3
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
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  3. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 4-6 News: Team Bullets

    June 6, 2012

    With 10 of 15 matches completed for Match Week 2, here is the news thus far for Match Day 4-6:

    Aston Villa - Nickaepi

    The Lions added a point in a draw against second-place Olympiakos as keeper Shay Given shut out Serie B's second-leading goal scorer Rafik Djebbour to earn his second clean sheet of the season. However, Aston Villa's defense could not remain stout against Sau Paulo, allowing four goals in the second half in a 5-1 loss to the Brazilian club. To make matters worse, backer James Collins received Serie B's first red card of Season 6 in the loss, meaning he will be suspended for Aston Villa's contest against QPR in Match Day 7.

    Remaining Matches: @ Bologna (Match Day 4)

    Bologna - BigSmooth33

    After earning four points in Match Week 1, Bologna has replicated its effort in Match Week 2 with an opportunity to earn even more. The Italian squad's four points in Match Week 2 have come by way of two of the most thrilling matches of the campaign. In Match Day 5, Bologna overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie Olympiakos, 3-3, with a Gaston Ramirez marker in the 90th minute. In Match Day 6, Bologna netted another 90th-minute goal -- this one by Marco Di Vaio -- to defeat QPR, 2-1.

    Remaining Matches: v. Aston Villa (Match Day 4)

    Dinamo Moscow - kaptainkracker1

    Dinamo Moscow is on pace to be awarded Club of the Week after taking sole possession of first place with wins in both Match Day 4 and Match Day 5. Striker Kevin Kuranyi has been the catalyst for the Russian squad, scoring two goals in a 3-0 shutout against SC Braga and the game-winner in the 70th minute of a 1-0 victory against Santos. The two shutouts were keeper Anton Shunin's first two clean sheets of the season.

    Remaining Matches: v. VfL Wolfsburg (Match Day 6)

    Olympiakos - jb_banco

    Despite going undefeated in Match Week 2, Olympiakos must feel that more than five points were at hand. Striker Rafik Djebbour notched four points -- three goals and an assist -- through the first 135 minutes of this week's matches to lead the Greek squad to a 1-0 win against VfL Wolfsburg and a 3-1 halftime lead against Bologna. Then, Olympiakos offense stalled with zero goals the rest of the week, allowing Bologna to roar back in the second half for a 3-3 draw and tying Aston Villa, 0-0.

    Remaining Matches: None.

    Parma - heznfire

    The Crusaders remain the last undefeated squad in Serie B with a tight 2-1 victory against QPR in Match Day 5. Striker Sergio Floccari kept pace for the Golden Boot Award by scoring the game-winning goal in the 74th minute -- now tallying all five of his markers after the 70th minute. However, the Italian defense needs to patch up some holes as Parma is one of two teams to not record a clean sheet yet.

    Remaining Matches: @ SC Braga (Match Day 4), @ Santos (Match Day 6)

    QPR - BESHIKTAS

    The pressure of being Inside Serie B's inaugural Club of the Week was too much for QPR as the English squad did not earn a single point in Match Week 2 and has now lost four straight matches. QPR was defeated in two close matches late in heartbreaking fashion, falling to Sergio Floccari's 74th-minute goal in a 2-1 loss to Parma and Marco Di Vaio's 90th-minute tally in a 2-1 loss to Bologna, before being shut out by Sau Paulo, 2-0.

    Remaining Matches: None.

    Santos - Roger

    Since beating QPR, 3-1, Santos has suffered an offensive drought, not scoring a goal in its last four matches. While its first two scoreless games led to 0-0 draws, the Brazilians have not been as fortunate in Match Week 2, losing to VfL Wolfsburg, 4-0, and Dinamo Moscow, 1-0. However, Santos defense has been formidable, allowing only two goals in four games to squads not named VfL Wolfsburg.

    Remaining Matches: v. Parma (Match Day 6)

    Sao Paulo - snake3249

    Sao Paulo is the other team challenging Dinamo Moscow for Club of the Week honors in Match Week 2. The Brazilian squad dominated both of its matches, beating QPR, 2-0, and Aston Villa, 5-1. The offensive trio of Luis Fabiano, Fernandinho, and Lucas have been nearly unstoppable. With a match still remaining this week, the Golden Boot Award leader Fabiano posted four goals, the Serie B assist leader Fernandinho notched three helpers, and Lucas added two goals and an assist in Match Week 2.

    Remaining Matches: v. SC Braga (Match Day 6)

    SC Braga - UcanHateMeNow

    SC Braga is sitting at the bottom of the Serie B table, still looking for its first point of Season 6. The Portuguese squad was unable to do so in a 3-0 loss to Dinamo Moscow in Match Day 5. While SC Braga's attack has struggled with only two goals this season, its biggest concern is its defense, which is allowing three goals per game.

    Remaining Matches: v. Parma (Match Day 4), @ Sao Paulo (Match Day 6)

    VfL Wolfsburg - LasVegasFC

    VfL Wolfsburg -- which allowed a Serie B-high 11 goals in Match Week 1 -- has shored up its defense in Match Week 2, letting in only one goal in two games. However, the one goal they did allow was in a close 1-0 loss to Olympiakos. In Match Day 5, the German squad exploded for four goals in a 4-0 victory against Santos. Backer Marcus Russ received his second yellow card of the season in the big win, meaning he will be suspended for Match Day 6 against Dinamo Moscow.

    Remaining Matches: @ Dinamo Moscow (Match Day 6)
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
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  4. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Insider Interview: BESHIKTAS and Queens Park Rangers FC

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    June 7, 2012

    In Inside Serie B's first installment of "Insider Interview", we spent a little time with Queens Park Rangers (QPR) manager BESHIKTAS to ask him about his Serie B experience, preseason expectations for Season 6, why he has managed three teams in six seasons, and his favorite moment of Tradition Futbol Serie (TFS) for FIFA '12.

    Here is the exclusive interview:

    1. You've been a Serie B manager for all six seasons of FIFA '12, finishing one spot below promotion three times. What do you need to change to push you over the edge and into Serie A?

    I need to improve my defensive side. I have always been OK attacking, but defending has always been trouble. I also need to work on my finishing touches. Thanks to Broncos218, I am not as bad as I used to be on finishing. If I am going to make Serie A one day, it will be with my Besiktas.

    2. You were many veterans' prediction to win the Serie B Championship this season, and it looked likely to come to fruition with QPR beating the top two teams in the table -- Dinamo Moscow and Olympiakos. Since then, you have lost four straight matches. What is contributing to your slump right now after such a quick start?

    I know I was one of the favorites to win Serie B this season, but just because I have been playing in Serie B for six seasons, nobody is going to hand me the promotion in a golden bowl. With arrivals of heznfire and jb_banco, I knew it was going to be very hard for me to get an automatic promotion. I played jb_banco several times even before he was in TSO Serie C, and I was able to win once and get couple of draws against him. heznfire was one of my favorites to make Serie B in the beginning of last season. As a matter a fact, I placed him on top of my [Manager's Poll] ballot once. On top of these two gentlemen, kaptainkracker1 and snake3249 got bumped in to Serie B to even out the leagues, which did not help me at all.

    I lost against my long time Serie B friend Roger due to too much confidence. I thought I could pass him easily, but obviously I was wrong -- never underestimate anybody. I promised myself not to play day games, but I did, and I paid for it. Day games have always been tough because of my kids. I had some gold fish crises during my Santos games between my boys. :)

    I have no excuse losing against snake3249. He is just beyond better than me.

    I lost against heznfire, because I was losing, 1-0, and I pushed my attackers and wingers a little more ahead. I took a risk basically, and taking the risk paid off. I managed to get the equalizing goal, but right after that I did not change my tactics back to normal, thinking I could score one more and get the entire three points. It was costly.

    BigSmooth33 scored in the dying minutes of the game. I constantly attacked and attacked. He found the first goal, and I answered back with a nice goal, but he found a goal out of nowhere and managed to get three points.

    With all that said, I will see you gentlemen in the returning games. :)

    3. In your six seasons of TFS, you have played with Besiktas, Newcastle, and QPR for two seasons each. Which is your favorite team to manage? What is your favorite strategy to employ?

    My favorite team has always been Besiktas since I was born. I bleed black and white. That's why I wanted to manage another black and white team after Besiktas got dropped out of FIFA '12.

    My strategies have been different with all the teams that I have managed. I like to score goals. That's why my number one choice has always been attacking rather than defending and counter attacking. I have tried different strategies against different managers. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it backfired.

    4. What is your favorite or most exciting moment of TFS for FIFA '12?

    The whole [Season 5] was exciting. I got very close to a promotion spot and made it to round of 16 in Coppa. [Ed.: BESHIKTAS actually led QPR one step further to the Coppa quarterfinals in Season 5, where they fell to eventual Coppa champions Werder Bremen.]

    We'd like to thank BESHIKTAS for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We hope you enjoyed the first segment of "Insider Interview". We plan to bring this feature to you weekly, or even bi-weekly, for the remainder of the season.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
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  5. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Race For the Golden Boot Award: Match Week 1 & 2


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    June 11, 2012

    In Season 5, the race for Serie B's Golden Boot Award was as close as track star Usain Bolt's gold medal finishes in the 2008 Summer Olympics: it wasn't. Olivier Giroud of vipermansa 's Montpellier set a Serie B record and matched a TFS mark by scoring 29 goals last season, almost doubling BESHIKTAS 's QPR striker and second-place finisher Djibril Cisse's total of 15 tallies.

    With Giroud and Montpellier moving up to Serie A, the race for Serie B's Golden Boot Award is wide open. While the list of the Serie B's top goal scorers can be found here, this feature will provide context to the list, examining how the leaders performed the previous match week and how the race will shift in the coming match days.

    Here are Serie B's top five goal scorers with only three contests remaining in Match Week 2:

    5. Six-way tie (Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa; Marco Di Vaio, Bologna; Alessandro Diamanti, Bologna; Kevin Kuranyi, Dinamo Moscow; Andriy Voronin, Dinamo Moscow; Mario Mandzukic, VfL Wolfsburg) - 4

    Of the six players currently sitting on four goals, the one to have the best week was BigSmooth33 's Alessandro Diamanti of Bologna. Diamanti netted all four of his goals this season in Match Week 2, accounting for 67 percent of his club's goals for the week and leading Bologna to a 1-2-0 record. Diamanti has a strong opportunity to move above the clutter next week as Bologna faces two struggling defenses in VfL Wolfsburg -- second-worst goals against average -- and Parma -- only one clean sheet.

    Match Week 3: @ VfL Wolfsburg (2.40 GA/G); v. Parma (1.20 GA/G)

    2. Rafik Djebbour, Olympiakos - 6

    jb_banco 's Rafik Djebbour kept his pace from the first week of Season 6 by adding another three goals to his total in Match Week 2. Djebbour was responsible for 75% of Olympiakos' four goals, leading the Greek club to a 1-2-0 record. Djebbour appeared on pace to hit the back of the net more than three times, but Olympiakos was held scoreless in its final three halves of Match Week 2. Djebbour may have trouble adding to his total next week as he goes against a fierce defense in Dinamo Moscow.

    Match Week 3: @ Parma (1.20 GA/G); v. Dinamo Moscow (0.60 GA/G)

    2. Sergio Floccari, Parma - 6

    heznfire 's Sergio Floccari recorded two goals in two games in Match Week 2 after starting with a blistering four goals in the first week. Floccari notched one marker in each match, including the game-winning goal in the 74th minute against QPR. Floccari has a chance to add to his total before the week ends, facing SC Braga -- who has allowed a league-worst three goals per game -- in Match Day 4.

    Match Week 3: v. Olympiakos (1.17 GA/G); @ Bologna (1.33 GA/G)

    2. Sebastian Giovinco, Parma - 6

    Of Parma's six goals in Match Week 2, heznfire 's Sebastian Giovinco has posted four of them, with Floccari adding the other two. Giovinco made his early push in the race with a rare hat trick in a 4-0 win against Santos in Match Day 6. Giovinco hopes to keep this momentum going to round out Match Week 2 in Parma's matchup against SC Braga in Match Day 4.

    Match Week 3: v. Olympiakos (1.17 GA/G); @ Bologna (1.33 GA/G)

    1. Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo - 7

    snake3249 's Luis Fabiano is on fire, scoring seven goals in just five matches to start the season. Fabiano's highlight performance of the season came in Match Day 5 when he posted a hat trick in a 5-1 beating of Aston Villa. He still has one match left in the week against a defense that allows three goals per game in SC Braga. If Fabiano can keep this hot streak intact for the entire campaign, he has a legitimate shot at challenging Giroud's record of 29 goals. It will be no easy task, but fun to watch.

    Match Week 3: v. Dinamo Moscow (0.60 GA/G); @ Santos (1.67 GA/G)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
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  6. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 4-6: Serie B Table Splits in Two

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    June 13, 2012

    Summary

    In last week's recap, the theme was that the race to the top of Serie B would be full of parity. It only took one match week for the entire dynamic of Serie B to shift. With every contest in Match Week 2 completed (I believe UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga upset snake3249 's Sao Paulo, 3-1, on Monday night, but the box score has not been posted yet), there is a divide in the middle of the table as the top five teams begin separating themselves from the bottom five squads.

    The top half of the Serie B table -- which has only five combined defeats -- seems to be full of newcomers. It is led by kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow and heznfire 's Parma, who are in first and second place, respectively. Both squads posted perfect records in Match Week 2, going 3-0-0 to earn the full nine points. snake3249 's Sao Paulo had an opportunity to be the third team to accomplish the feat, but had to settle for six points after suffering a surprising loss to bottom-dweller SC Braga. jb_banco 's Olympiakos and Serie B-mainstay BigSmooth33 's Bologna round out the the top half with each tallying a win and two draws to stay in the hunt for promotion.

    The bottom half of the table is surprisingly composed of veteran Serie B managers in BESHIKTAS 's QPR, Roger 's Santos, Nickaepi 's Aston Villa, and UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga. QPR and Santos -- after sitting at or near the top of the standings last week -- both suffered the worst weeks, losing all three of their matches and failing to pick up a single point. The two squads will need to regain their form from Match Week 1 if they want to pursue a spot for promotion, not relegation.

    While it is still early in the season, with much more shifting in the table sure to occur, Match Week 2 proved that one bad week may be too much to overcome in this season's Serie B.

    Club of the Week

    Dinamo Moscow

    This honor could have been given to Parma as well, since both clubs won all three of their matches, but the author of this feature is a sucker for defense, despite not being able to play it very well. In its three matches, Dinamo Moscow allowed just a single goal, winning by scores of 1-0 against Santos, 3-0 against SC Braga, and 2-1 against LasVegasFC 's VfL Wolfsburg. The Russian club has only allowed four goals in six matches this season -- the only Serie B squad to average less than a goal per game -- which is an impressive accomplishment given the relatively high rate of scoring in TFS's mid-tier this season.

    Matches of the Week

    1. QPR 1 - 2 Bologna: After a scoreless first 70 minutes, Bologna's Marco Di Vaio gives the Italian club the lead twice in the final 20 minutes -- including the game-winner in the 90th -- to edge QPR, 2-1.

    2. Dinamo Moscow 2 - 1 VfL Wolfsburg: Two goals in the early minutes had the score set at 1-1, and a draw seemed to be the end result. However, in a blizzard, Zvjezdan Misimovic slotted home the winner in the 90th minute to shoot Dinamo Moscow into first place.

    3. Bologna 3 -3 Olympiakos: Two goals and an assist by Rafik Djebbour gave Olympiakos a comfortable 3-1 lead at halftime. Then, in the second half, Bologna tallied two unanswered goals -- including one by Gaston Ramirez in the final minute -- to earn an exciting 3-3 draw.

    Players of the Week

    1. Sebastian Giovinco, Parma: Seven goals and one assist for eight points

    2. Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo: Four goals for four points (stats for match against SC Braga still unknown)

    3. Anton Shunin, Dinamo Moscow: Two clean sheets, 10 shot on target faced, nine saves, one goal allowed

    Clutch of the Week

    Alessandro Diamanti, Bologna: Diamanti just missed the cut for "Players of the Week" with his four goals, one assist, and five points, but was the top player in the clutch this week. Diamanti notched the first two goals for Bologna in a 3-3 tie against Olympiakos, with the second one jump-starting the second-half rally, and the only two goals in a 2-2 stalemate against Aston Villa. In a close 2-1 win against QPR, it was Diamanti's assist in the final minute that set up the game-winning goal for the Italian side.

    Stats of the Week

    1. As BigSmooth33 pointed out here, there appears to be a lot more scoring in Serie B this season relative to Serie A and Serie C. This is true, as there have been an average of 3.24 goals per match in Serie B to just 2.24 in Serie A and 2.54 in Serie C.

    Is this a drastic change for Serie B from Season 5, though? No. In Season 5, Serie B averaged the exact same number of goals per match (3.24). So why does the number seem so much higher relative to the other tiers this season? Because scoring has decreased in Serie A and Serie C this season, especially in the upper tier. Serie A's scoring has dropped from 3.15 goals per match to just 2.24, even with the promotion of offensive mastermind vipermansa and Montpellier.

    The defenses in Serie A have gotten tighter, while the offenses in Serie B continue to roam free.

    2. Since scoring a goal in the 90th minute of its first match in a 3-1 victory against QPR, Santos has been scoreless for its last five Serie B matches, meaning they haven't hit the back of the net in 450 straight minutes of league play.

    3. Parma has notched a TFS-high 18 goals through six matches. At this pace, the Crusaders would score 54 goals this season, three more than Montpellier's Serie B record of 51 tallies set last season.

    Match Week 3 Preview

    Last week, it was mentioned that previews would be a separate post. However, the author does not have enough time to do so. Therefore, kaptainkracker1 's Game of the Week posts will be linked here.

    Match Day 7: Parma 2 - 1 Olympiakos
    Match Day 8: Santos 3 - 3 Sao Paulo
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
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  7. kaptainkracker1

    kaptainkracker1 Walk On

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    I'll have those games of the week up soon.
     
  8. kaptainkracker1

    kaptainkracker1 Walk On

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    Also, if anyone would like to do a weekly preview post feel free to do so.
     
  9. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Insider Interview: jb_banco and Olympiakos

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    June 14, 2012

    In Inside Serie B's second edition of "Insider Interivew", jb_banco takes a little time to sit down with us to discuss his FIFA experience before joining TFS, his reaction to his success in his rookie season, why he decided to make the change from RSC Anderlecht to Olympiakos, and the difference in play between Serie B and Serie C.

    Here is the exclusive interview:

    1. In my interview with BESHIKTAS in the first installment, he mentioned that he had faced you several times before you joined TFS Serie C in Season 5. How many other members did you play before joining the league? Having played other members of TFS, what were your expectations for your performance when you joined?

    Well besides BESHIKTAS, I played a few games against IJGator, hokie79, Frenchie1916, Roger and shiftee while I was waiting for a spot to open up. To be honest, I always play different when the games don't really count for anything. I usually use friendlies to try different formations/lineups to see what can be effective for the team I'm using. With that said, my results in those games at least made me feel like I could play and not embarrass myself (except against shiftee).

    2. In your first campaign last season, you made a big splash in TFS. You were the Serie C Champion, reached the semifinals of Coppa Tradizione, and made the finals of Super Coppa. Describe how it felt to have that type of success in your first season and to be the last obstacle between Werder Bremen and the Treble.

    Hopefully I don't sound horrible when I say this, but at the time it wasn't enough for me. I wanted to win every competition I was in and fell short of that goal. But now, looking back, it feels good to have a Serie championship under my belt. As for being the guy that stood between Bremen and the treble, I kind of looked at that game two ways. One, I wasn't trying to stop a treble. I was trying to win a double. And two, I just wanted to represent Serie C and all of the good players in the division who don't always get the "shine"; guys like Frenchie1916, redwings8831 , Go Devils and heznfire who on their day can beat anyone. It sucks that I failed at achieving my goals but at least I was a part of history and at least I think I made Broncos218 work for it.

    3. Despite all of that success last season with RSC Anderlecht, you decided to resign and become the new manager for Olympiakos. Why?

    Quite frankly, and maybe surprisingly considering my results, I really didn't like Anderlecht. Their midfield is slow, most of them can't dribble very well, and the strikers had to be in perfect positions to score. With all that said if I could take them back I would because I HATE how Olympiakos plays defensively in this game.

    4. Thus far in Season 6 -- your first season in TFS's mid-tier, you currently sit in third place of the Serie B table. What has been the biggest difference you have seen between the play of Serie B and Serie C and how has that affected your strategy?

    For me the biggest difference is that it feels that everyone in the division can win on their day, no soft touches on the schedule; every game has to be played at your best from beginning to end. As for if it has changed my strategy, I usually play to what's happening in the game so it hasn't really changed how I play strategy wise; myabe it has changed my focus during games but that's about it.

    We'd like to thank jb_banco for taking the time to answer our questions. This will be the last post for Inside Serie B for the weekend as the author of this feature will be in Vegas the next three nights.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2012
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  10. jb_banco

    jb_banco Walk On

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    Just reading the interview I forgot to give a shoutout to LasVegasFC (who almost cost me the Serie C title) for his excellent play last season in Serie C, so I'll do it now.
     
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  11. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Don't forget, it was also LasVegasFC who beat me in Match Day 18 to win you back the Serie C title. #NeverForget :(
     
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  12. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Week 3 Recap will most likely be posted tomorrow morning once a few more matches have been completed. Sorry for the delay as it's been my matches causing the holdup.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2012
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  13. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 7-8: Dinamo Moscow, Parma Neck & Neck Near Midway Point

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    June 20, 2012

    Summary

    As we near the midway point of the campaign, there are two clubs that appear to be the prime threats for the Serie B crown: kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow and heznfire 's Parma. The Russian club has been flawless since an early blemish in Match Day 2 against BESHIKTAS 's QPR, earning 16 of a possible 18 points in their last six matches. The missed two points came this past match week, courtesy of a 1-1 draw against jb_banco 's Olympiakos.

    Despite their great success, Dinamo Moscow hasn't been able to shake Parma. The Crusaders earned four points in Match Week 3 -- also drawing Olympiakos, 1-1 -- to remain undefeated and only one point behind the White-Blues in the table (19 to 18). The Italian squad has a chance to leapfrog Dinamo Moscow as the two clash in the final week of the first half of the slate.

    The three teams chasing their tails are snake3249 's Sao Paulo, Olympiakos, and QPR. The offensive-juggernaut Sao Paulo and the defensive-stalwart Olympiakos each sit in third place with 13 points, while the resurgent QPR doubled their point total last week with two wins to get to 12.

    The wildcard to watch is BigSmooth33 's Bologna. With nine points and a match in hand against LasVegasFC 's VfL Wolfsburg, a win could shoot Bologna right back into the thick of things. However, a loss could send them into the battle to avoid relegation that seems to be taking shape between Nickaepi 's Aston Villa, VfL Wolfsburg, Roger 's Santos, and UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga.

    Club of the Week

    QPR

    The roller-coaster ride that is QPR hit another peak in Match Week 3. After winning Club of the Week honors in Match Week 1 and then failing to earn a single point in Match Week 2, the English squad was the only Serie B squad to win both of their matches this past week. The key to QPR's turnaround was their defense. The Hoops did not allow a single goal in Match Week 3, shutting out Aston Villa, 2-0, and SC Braga, 1-0. The perfect week helped QPR jump back into the race for promotion, but we'll see if there's another big drop in their future.

    Matches of the Week

    1. Olympiakos 1 - 1 Dinamo Moscow: Dinamo Moscow seemed set to win their sixth straight match, but Rafik Djebbour steals a point for Olympiakos as the attacker nets a goal in the 85th minute to draw first-place Dinamo Moscow, 1-1.

    2. Aston Villa 2 - 1 VfL Wolfsburg: After allowing a goal to VfL Wolfsburg late in the first half, Aston Villa rallies with two second-half goals (62', 72') to win, 2-1, and earn their first victory of the season.

    3. Parma 1 - 1 Olympiakos: Each squad hits the back of the net in the first frame to knot the score at one apiece. Although this would be the final score, each side has a flurry of quality chances in the final 10 minutes that are stoned away by brilliant goalkeeping.

    ( BESHIKTAS, if you can, try to post the minute the goals were scored in your matches. When they are scored is a big determinant in whether a game is a contender for Match of the Week. I mention it because one of your matches probably would have made the Top 3 this week.)

    Players of the Week

    1. Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo: Two goals and two assists for four points

    2. Djibril Cisse, QPR: Two goals and one assist for three points

    3. Paddy Kenny, QPR: Two clean sheets, three shots on target faced, three saves, zero goals allowed (No stats for match against SC Braga)

    Clutch of the Week

    Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa: Trailing 1-0 in the second half against VfL Wolfsburg, Agbonlahor netted the game-tying goal in the 62nd minute and assisted on the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute. Agbonlahor's second-half heroics handed Aston Villa its first win of the season.

    Stats of the Week

    1. To continue our stat from last week, Santos fell to Sau Paulo, 4-0, in Match Day 8, extending their scoreless streak to six matches in Serie B. In that span, Santos has allowed 13 goals. The Brazilian club will have a chance to end this drought against SC Braga in Match Day 7.

    2. With two draws in Match Week 3, Olympiakos has finished with a stalemate in their last four matches. The Greek squad tied Bologna, 3-3, in Match Day 5, Aston Villa, 0-0, in Match Day 6, Parma, 1-1, in Match Day 7, and Dinamo Moscow, 1-1, in Match Day 8. Olympiakos hopes to earn a full three points in one or both of their contests against Santos and QPR in Match Week 4.

    3. Four teams have more than 50% of their scoring come from one player. Borges has 66.7% of Santos' goals (2-3), Rafik Djebbour has 63.6% of Olympiakos' goals (7-11), Djibril Cisse has 55.6% of QPR's goals (5-9), and Gabriel Agbonlahor has 55.6% of Aston Villa's goals (5-9).

    Match Week 4 Preview

    Match Day 9: Parma 2-2 Dinamo Moscow
    Match Day 10: Olympiakos 2-1 QPR
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2012
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  14. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Coppa Tradizione: Serie B's Group Play Recap

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    Summary

    In Season 5 of the Coppa Tradizione, Serie B had a respectable record of 11-6-11 in group play. This record led to four clubs advancing to the knockout stage: BESHIKTAS 's QPR, UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga, vipermansa 's Montpellier, and Roger 's Santos.

    This season of the Coppa Tradizione, Serie B improved its record by one game, posting a 12-6-10 record in group play, with snake3249 's Sao Paulo still having one match in hand. However, despite this marginal increase in record, Serie B will be sending a whopping 70% of its league to the knockout stage as seven teams advanced. Two clubs -- kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow and snake3249 's Sao Paulo -- won their respective groups, while UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga, heznfire 's Parma, BESHIKTAS 's QPR, Roger 's Santos, and BigSmooth33 's Bologna finished as runner-ups.

    Serie A also placed seven of 11 eligible teams in the knockout stage, while Serie C rounded out the bracket with two clubs.

    Serie B Club of Group Play

    Dinamo Moscow

    In the immediate aftermath of the Coppa Tradizione draw, the buzzing topic of conversation was how difficult Group A -- easily voted as the "Group of Death" -- would be. Yet, despite facing two dangerous Serie A squads in RedAL925 's PSV Eindhoven and Season 5 Coppa Tradizione finalist vipermansa 's Montpellier, Dinamo Moscow swept through the group, earning all nine points. The White-Blues' impressive performance was highlighted by close one-goal wins against Isaac Oyer 's Stade Rennes and PSV Eindhoven before their offense exploded in a 4-2 victory over Montpellier.

    Serie B Player of Group Play

    Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo

    Luis Fabiano has accumulated four goals and an assist for a Serie B-high of five points in Coppa Tradizione group play. While Parma's Sebastian Giovinco matched that same total as well, Fabiano earned this honor as he accomplished his feat in just two matches. The highlight of Fabiano's play came in his first match of the tournament against QPR, where he poured in a hat-trick in the first 50 minutes of a 5-1 win. The dominating win gave Sao Paulo a comfortable cushion to secure the top spot in Group F.

    Serie B Club Most Likely to Advance the Farthest

    Sao Paulo/Parma winner

    Due to the author's certain bias, I'm not going to pick who wins this match. However, it is the only match-up in the Round of 16 that pits two Serie B clubs against one another, while the other five mid-tier teams face a Serie A squad in the first knockout game. Therefore, this game guarantees a Serie B team in the quarterfinals to face the winner of rschwep 's B. M'gladbach and Roger 's Santos. B. M'gladbach is a middle-of-the-pack Serie A club that finished atop a three-team group, while Santos is fighting off relegation in Serie B and finished second in the "Group of Life". It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see one of Sao Paulo or Parma in the semifinals.

    Serie B's Darkhorse Contender

    QPR

    Despite being in fourth place of Serie B, QPR's has had a very inconsistent season. They are trending up, however, after having a brutal Match Week 2 in which they went 0-0-3 in league play. Since then, QPR has lost only one match in both Serie B and tournament play, and they could use that momentum to make a strong push in the knockout stage.

    QPR faces HokieNYC 's Sunderland in the Round of 16. This will be no cakewalk for QPR as Sunderland won a tough Group E and sits sixth in Serie A. However, if QPR can move past Sunderland, I think the true upset awaits, assuming Bologna hasn't done it first. If chalk holds, Season 5 treble-winner Broncos218 's Werder Bremen will be waiting for QPR in the quarterfinals. However, Werder Bremen is free-falling in Serie A, losing their last six league matches. If these two cross paths with QPR trending upwards while Werder Bremen trending in the opposite direction, QPR could find themselves in the semifinals. One question to keep in mind though is if the two-week break will give Werder Bremen's players a much needed rest and help them turn around their season.

    Serie B's Round of 16 Matchups

    Dinamo Moscow v. Corinthians
    Ajax v. SC Braga
    Sunderland v. QPR
    Werder Bremen v. Bologna
    Sao Paulo v. Parma
    B. M'gladbach v. Santos
     
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  15. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Insider Interview: kaptainkracker1 and Dinamo Moscow

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    June 26, 2012

    In Inside Serie B's third column of "Insider Interview", kaptainkracker1 answers questions about the difference in the style of play between Serie A and Serie B, how his managerial strategy has altered since moving from Fulham to Dinamo Moscow, how he has maintained the best defense in Serie B this season, and what he expects will happen in the second half of the Serie B slate.

    Here is the full interview:

    1. Before taking Season 5 off, you were a three-season veteran in Serie A, always finishing near the middle of the pack. Upon your return, you were placed in Serie B this season. From your perspective, what are the main differences in the style of play between Serie A and Serie B?

    The biggest difference to me is on the defensive side of the ball. The managers in the top tier all excel at containing and playing the passing lanes. I feel like it's probably the biggest reason that Serie B sides struggle against the Serie A sides in the Coppa.

    2. In your earlier seasons, you were the proud manager of Fulham. With Fulham under hokie79 's management when you came back, you decided to take over Dinamo Moscow. How has your strategy and playing style differed with your new club?

    Honestly, I had to learn how to play defense. Fulham is a very good defensive squad, but I wasn't very good at defense. I could hold my own against the less offensive minded clubs in Serie A, but I was getting rocked by the high scorers. Now with Dynamo Moscow, who happen to have terrible defenders, I have no choice but to play sound defense. I switched to a 3-5-2 in order to get my best players on the pitch. I'm pretty sure I have the most 80+ rated players in the entire Serie and they are all forwards and midfielders. With three defenders and two holding midfielders I don't feel undermanned, but I definitely have to be on my toes. I learned how to contain and use a second defender to clog the passing lanes and it's really helped me succeed with a poor defensive team. I'd like to think I could be even better defensively now if I were still at Fulham.

    3. Dinamo Moscow has been the best defensive squad -- by far -- in Serie B this season. You have allowed only seven goals through nine matches, becoming the only team in the mid-tier to allow less than a goal per game (0.78). What is your defensive philosophy or secret?

    I pretty much just explained all of this in the previous answer. Oops. If you were to look back over my box scores you would notice that I don't really tackle. I average around 7-14 tackles a game, which is nothing compared to most teams. Aggressive defense can get taken advantage of too easily. Containment is the name of the game. I like to keep the ball out on the wing with one defender and use the second defender to block the out pass. When I'm in a groove I will contain with the second defender and use my defender to play the passing lanes. As I said previously, this is all new to me and it has really helped my play. I honestly think that I play the most realistic defense of any team in the Serie right now (Ajax and Zikry are probably just as good.)

    4. As we hit the midway point of the season, Dinamo Moscow currently rests in second place of Serie B, but has been matching points with Parma each week. With a Serie B championship in sight, what do you expect from your club -- and all of Serie B -- in the second half of the season?

    Hopefully some scoring. I had an incredible run to start the year and that was with my offense struggling. The defense is going to falter from time to time and I'm going to need scoring to pick up the slack. If that happens, then I will expect no less than promotion and hopefully and Serie B championship to add to the resume. It's going to be a struggle, though. Parma is a seriously good team. They will be tough to hang with. And I don't want to take anything away from the other managers in Serie B, because we have some serious talent in our division. Every match is a battle and there are no cake walks. RedAL925 and myself discussed the status of the league prior to the season and decided that any manager in Serie B was a legit contender for promotion and I still think everyone is a threat. I look forward to an exciting second half.

    We'd like to thank kaptainkracker1 for taking the time to answer our questions over the weekend and wish him the best of the luck for the rest of the season.


     
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  16. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Race for the Golden Boot Award: Match Week 3 & 4

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    June 26, 2012

    For those that find hard-nosed, defensive football to be truest style of the game, the first two weeks of Serie B were not for them. In Serie B's first six match days, contests were averaging 3.24 goals per game and saw four individual scorers averaging a goal or more per game. The race for Serie B's Golden Boot Award projected to be a close, high-scoring affair.

    However, those that doubted whether this high-scoring pace could be maintained were correct. Scoring has dropped to 3.06 goals per Serie B match, and there is only one player averaging more than a goal per game past the midway point of the season. If he continues to score at this rate, he could be the runaway winner for the Golden Boot Award.

    Here are Serie B's top five goal-scorers with only one match remaining in Match Week 4:

    T-4. Andriy Voronin, Dinamo Moscow - 7

    After netting five goals in the first two weeks of the season, kaptainkracker1 's Andriy Voronin kept pace in Match Week 3, scoring the opening goal in each of Dinamo Moscow's matches against Olympiakos and Sao Paulo. However, Voronin was nowhere to be found in Match Week 4, failing to pick up a single point in Match Day 9 and 10. While first-place Dinamo Moscow has relied heavily on defense this season, they may need Voronin's scoring punch to push them over the top.

    Match Week 5: v. QPR (0g in Match Day 2); v. Bologna (2g in Match Day 3)

    T-4. Rafik Djebbour, Olympiakos - 7

    Similar to Voronin, jb_banco 's Rafik Djebbour struggled to find the back of the net the past two weeks. Djebbour -- who was tied for second in the race for the Golden Boot Award after six matches -- could only muster one goal in Match Week 3 and 4. Djebbour recorded the game-tying goal in the 85th minute against Dinamo Moscow in Olympiakos' first contest of Match Week 3, but has been held scoreless in their last two games. Djebbour has an opportunity to end that drought in the final game of Match Week 4 against Santos.

    Match Week 5: v. Sao Paulo (2g in Match Day 2); @ SC Braga (0g in Match Day 3)

    3. Sergio Floccari, Parma - 8

    In case you could not sense a trend here, heznfire 's Sergio Floccari followed the same pattern as Voronin and Djebbour, netting two goals in Match Week 3 before going scoreless in Match Week 4. The Serie C Golden Boot Award winner had a quick start in Match Week 3, earning a goal in the 5th minute against Bologna, before tallying the game-tying goal against Olympiakos in the 44th minute. Floccari's goal production dropped the next week as other players contributed to the score sheet for the first time this season.

    Match Week 5: @ VFL Wolfsburg (2g in Match Day 2); v. Aston Villa (1g in Match Day 3)

    2. Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo - 9

    snake3249 's Luis Fabiano dropped from the top spot to second place as he only scored in one of four matches the past two weeks. Fabiano made his mark with two goals in a 4-0 shutout against Santos in Match Day 8, but has been quiet ever since. Fabiano almost netted his 10th goal of the season in Match Day 10 against Parma, but his free kick ricocheted off the post before Lucas put in the rebound. Fabiano could make a strong push next week as he scored three combined goals against Olympiakos and VfL Wolfsburg in the first leg.

    Match Week 5: @ Olympiakos (1g in Match Day 2); v. VfL Wolfsburg (2g in Match Day 3)

    1. Sebastian Giovinco, Parma - 12

    Unlike the other four top scorers in Serie B, heznfire 's Sebastian Giovinco was the only one to not be shut out in Match Week 4. After scoring two goals against Bologna in Match Day 8, Giovinco added a goal in the 18th minute against Sao Paulo in Match Day 10. Giovinco's scoring has tailed off, recording only three goals in the last four matches after putting in nine goals in the first six matches, but he is still the only player to average more than a goal per game in Serie B (1.20). If Giovinco maintains this pace for the second-half of the season, it's hard to see any player catching up to him in the race for the Golden Boot Award.

    Match Week 5: @ VfL Wolfsburg (1g in Match Day 2); v. Aston Villa (1g in Match Week 3)
     
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  17. Broncos218

    Broncos218 Walk On

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    And after updating the stats from the final few games, a brace against Palermo has Luis Fabiano atop the Golden Boot race with 6 goals in the group stage of the Coppa. With 7 points, he trails the leading point-getters by just 1.
     
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  18. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 9-10: VfL Wolfsburg Rises Above the Relegation Rubble

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    June 28, 2012

    Summary

    With heznfire 's Parma's 2-0 win over kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow in Match Day 9, we officially have a tie atop the Serie B table. Both clubs have 22 points and hold a semi-comfortable gap between them and the rest of Serie B with snake3249 's third-place Sao Paulo sitting five points behind. Although there are still eight match days remaining this season, it's going to take a major stumble by either Parma or Dinamo Moscow to completely fall out of the promotion picture. In the most likely scenario, these two clubs will be fighting tooth and nail with one another to win the Serie B title and an automatic berth in Serie A.

    The competition for the third and final spot of the promotion playoffs is heating up between four clubs: the aforementioned Sao Paulo (17 PTS, 10 GP), BESHIKTAS 's QPR (15 PTS, 10 GP), jb_banco 's Olympiakos (13 PTS, 9 GP), and LasVegasFC 's VfL Wolfsburg (13 PTS, 10 GP). Except for Olympiakos, these teams had solid match weeks, earning at least three points. The Greek squad fell to QPR in Match Day 10 and will hope to stay with the pack by earning a victory against Roger 's Santos in the final uncompleted contest of Match Week 4.

    BigSmooth33 's Bologna -- named as Inside Serie B's wildcard last week -- blew an opportunity to join this pack. While only six points behind third-place Sao Paulo, Bologna has only added two points in their past four matches. The Italian club needs to add some tallies to the "Win" column in a hurry if they want to find themselves amid the promotion picture.

    UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga, Nickaepi 's Aston Villa, and Santos -- all Serie B veterans -- are in dangerous territory, scrapping with one another to avoid relegation. After a dreadful start to the campaign, SC Braga squirmed their head above the quicksand by beating Aston Villa, 3-2, in a crucial match. Santos is in the most trouble at the moment, picking up only one point in their last six matches since earning five in Match Week 1.

    Club of the Week

    VfL Wolfsburg

    VfL Wolfsburg -- sitting just north of the relegation zone with seven points through eight matches -- had a monster Match Week 4. The German club was the only Serie B squad to win both of their matches this week, almost doubling their previous point total. The Wolves rose above the relegation scrum into the promotion picture with 2-1 wins against QPR and SC Braga. If VfL Wolfsburg wants to remain in the spotlight, they have their work cut out for them as they face first-place Parma and third-place Sao Paulo in Match Week 5.

    Matches of the Week

    1. SC Braga 3 - 2 Aston Villa: Facing a two-goal deficit entering the final 10 minutes of the match, all hope of a comeback seemed lost for SC Braga. The Archbishops -- led by Lima -- tallied three goals in the final minutes, including two in stoppage time, to pull off a miraculous victory. When the dust settles for relegation in Serie B, this may be a match that we look back at as a momentum-changer.

    2. SC Braga 1 - 2 VfL Wolfsburg: The Wolves gave themselves some breathing room above the clutter at the bottom of the Serie B table as Christian Trasch converts a rebound off a corner kick in the 90th minute to give VfL Wolfsburg the win and an extra two points.

    3. Bologna 0 - 1 Sao Paulo: Despite doubling Bologna's shot total, Sao Paulo could not find a hole past keeper Jean-Francois Gillet for the first 89 minutes of the match. Then, in the 90th minute, Lucas netted the game-winner for Sao Paulo to keep the Brazilian club in third place.

    Players of the Week

    1. Lima, SC Braga: One goal and two assists for three points

    2. Lucas, Sao Paulo: Two goals for two points

    3. Jonathan Biabiany, Parma: Two goals for two points

    Clutch of the Week

    Lucas, Sao Paulo: While this honor could have been given to SC Braga's Lima for posting all three of his points in the final 10 minutes of a dramatic come-from-behind victory against Aston Villa, Lucas earned the weekly award for tallying clutch goals in both contests of Match Week 4. In Match Day 9, Lucas netted the game's only goal in the 90th minute against Bologna, while recording the game-tying goal off a rebound in a 2-2 draw against Parma in Match Day 10.

    Stats of the Week

    1. Match Week 4 was not one for the faint of heart. Of the nine completed contests this week, only one had a margin of victory larger than one goal: Parma's 2-0 victory against Dinamo Moscow. There had been an average of almost two games per match day that saw multi-goal margins of victory.

    2. Parma is outscoring their opponents by 1.60 goals per match, the only Serie B club to have an average goal differential larger than one. Dinamo Moscow and Sao Paulo -- the two teams closest to Parma -- average only half that, outscoring their opponents by 0.80 goals per contest.

    3. After having at least one team score four goals or more in a contest each of the last three match weeks, SC Braga was the only squad to net three goals in a game in Match Week 4.

    Match Week 5 Preview

    Match Day 11: TBD
    Match Day 12: TBD







     
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  19. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 11-12: Santos Surges With Sweep in Match Week 5

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    July 18, 2012

    Summary

    As Serie B hits the homestretch, with two-thirds of the season in the books, three clubs have separated themselves from the rest of the pack: kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow (26 PTS, 12 GP), heznfire 's Parma (25 PTS, 11 GP), and snake3249 's Sao Paulo (23 PTS, 12 GP). All three squads earned at least one win this week -- with Sao Paulo garnering all six points -- and continue to put space between them and their fourth-place challengers. With an eight-point gap between third and fourth place and only six matches to go, these will be the three teams vying for promotion into Serie A. While a collapse is still possible, it's rather improbable as none of the three have failed to record a win in a given match week.

    The parity that was expected in Serie B in the preseason has taken shape in the middle of the table. There are just two points separating fourth from eighth place and five points separating fourth from ninth place. If Nickaepi 's Aston Villa can upset Parma in the last game of Match Week 5, there will be seven Serie B clubs within five points of one another in the standings. While many eyes will be focused on the battle at the top of Serie B, the scrum at the bottom to avoid relegation may be more intense and fierce.

    The big winners in the middle of the table of Match Week 5 were BigSmooth33 's Bologna and Roger 's Santos. Bologna picked up four points with the help of a huge 2-2 draw against first-place Dinamo Moscow, while Santos tripled their win total for the season by collecting victories in both matches this week. It is strong weeks like this that determine which teams will remain in Serie B.

    On the other hand, BESHIKTAS 's QPR, jb_banco 's Olympiakos, and LasVegasFC 's VfL Wolfsburg suffered a harsh week, combining for a measly point thanks to an Olympiakos draw. QPR continued their roller-coaster season, where consistency has been tougher to find than the Holy Grail, while VfL Wolfsburg could not maintain their momentum from a stellar six-point stretch in Match Week 4.

    If the season were to end today, UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga and Aston Villa would be relegated to Serie C, but SC Braga has improved its form in recent weeks and Aston Villa just needs a few key victories to find themselves above the bubble.

    Club of the Week

    Santos

    For the second match week in a row, a squad sitting near or at the bottom of the Serie B table swept their week's slate of matches to make a strong push above the relegation zone. Last week, it was VfL Wolfsburg. This week, it was Santos. Since they beat QPR, 3-1, in the Brazilian club's first match of the season, Santos had compiled a lousy 0-4-5 record, sitting in a tie for last place. However, Santos got their mojo back by facing QPR once again in the second leg. The momentum and confidence gained in a dominating 3-0 win against the the English side carried over into a critical match against Aston Villa, which saw the Brazilian squad eke out a 1-0 win. The six-point jump has Santos sitting outside relegation, and just two points separate them from fourth place.

    Matches of the Week

    1. SC Braga 2 - 2 Olympiakos: The Greek club was on the verge of adding three critical points after scoring in the 85th minute, but SC Braga's Nuno Andre Coelho had other ideas, connecting with the back of the net in the 90th to sneak out with a point in a 2-2 draw.

    2. Aston Villa 0 - 1 Santos: With a win, Santos finds themselves sitting safely above relegation. With a loss, there's a three-way tie for last place at 10 points. This contest was hyped as one that would heavily influence relegation, and it was Santos that took advantage with a 1-0 win a close, competitive bout.

    3. Olympiakos 1 - 2 Sao Paulo: Olympiakos held one-goal leads in both of their matches this week, but their defense let it slip away both times. Sao Paulo capitalized as Luis Fabiano scored twice -- including a game-tying PK -- to strengthen the Brazilian club's grip on third place.

    Players of the Week

    1. Luis Fabiano, Sao Paulo: Four goals and one assist for five points

    2. Gaston Ramirez, Bologna: Two goals and two assists for four points

    3. Borges, Santos: Two goals and one assist for three points

    Clutch of the Week

    Elano, Santos: Santos has been the least-prolific scoring team in Serie B, netting only nine goals in 12 matches, but Elano made sure that both of his goals in Match Week 5 made a significant difference. Each of Elano's markers were game-winning goals, including scoring the lone goal in a huge 1-0 win against Aston Villa. Elano's clutch form was a key component of Santos' big jump in the table.

    Stats of the Week

    1. QPR was held scoreless in Match Week 5, the fourth time a Serie B squad has been shut out in a match week. Santos did it twice in Match Week 2 and 4, while Bologna couldn't find the back of the net in Match Week 4.

    2. On the other hand, Santos did not allow a goal for the second straight match week. The Brazilian side has held their opponent scoreless for four straight games, having not allowed a goal in 360 minutes. This streak has allowed keeper Rafael to have a Serie B-high six clean sheets.

    3. QPR is the only team remaining in Serie B -- and one of only two teams in all of TFS -- to have not had a draw this season (5-0-7). The other squad to have only won or lost resides in Serie A: vipermansa 's Montpellier (5-0-8).

    Match Week 6 Preview


    Match Day 13: Dinamo Moscow 1-0 Santos
    Match Day 14: Olympiakos 1-1 Bologna
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012
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  20. BESHIKTAS

    BESHIKTAS Almighty Black Eagles

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    "Inside Serie B" is one of the things that I look forward to read every week. You are doing an awesome job!!!
     
  21. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    Match Day 13-14: QPR Quitting? Not A Chance

    [​IMG]

    July 25, 2012

    Summary

    Last week, three squads -- kaptainkracker1 's Dinamo Moscow, heznfire 's Parma, and snake3249 's Sao Paulo -- had separated themselves from the rest of the Serie B pack. With a seven-point gap between third and fourth place, these were the three clubs that everyone was certain would be vying for promotion into TFS's top tier. All they needed to do was continue to handle business as they had in weeks past, and they would have the top three spots locked up.

    So what happens? Chaos, of course. Both Parma and Sao Paulo failed to add a point, although the Italian club still has a game against UcanHateMeNow 's SC Braga left to be played in Match Week 6, while BESHIKTAS 's QPR, LasVegasFC 's VfL Wolfsburg, and BigSmooth33 's Bologna all went undefeated to significantly reduce the margin between the top and the middle of the Serie B table. What was once a seven-point gap between third and fourth place is now only two points with Sao Paulo at 23 and QPR at 21.

    However, it's important to note that both Parma (25 PTS, 12 GP) and Sao Paulo (23 PTS, 13 GP) have played less matches than QPR (21 PTS, 14 GP) and VfL Wolfsburg (19, 14 GP). Despite their strong push in Match Week 6, both QPR and VfL Wolfsburg have little room for error if they want to contend for promotion with only three matches remaining.

    The other big news from Match Week 5 was Nickaepi 's resignation as Aston Villa's manager. While reasons for his sudden departure are unclear at this time, TFS lost a good manager, and we hope he returns to his post in the near future.

    The main consequence of Nickaepi 's departure is that Aston Villa's spot will automatically be demoted to Serie C. Therefore, there is only one spot left for relegation, and both Roger 's Santos and SC Braga are the prime candidates that could see their time in the mid-tier end shortly. With 13 matches played each, Santos has a one-point advantage over SC Braga with a seismic showdown between them looming in Match Day 16. You don't have to go out on a limb to know how critical that game will impact each of their fates.

    Club of the Week


    QPR

    It is said every week in this column, and it bears repeating once again: this year's edition of QPR has exemplified the true meaning of a roller-coaster season. Here is QPR's record in Serie B play each match week:

    Match Week 1: 2-0-1, 6 PTS
    Match Week 2: 0-0-3, 0 PTS
    Match Week 3: 2-0-0, 6 PTS
    Match Week 4: 1-0-1, 3 PTS
    Match Week 5: 0-0-2, 0 PTS
    Match Week 6: 2-0-0, 6 PTS

    If the famous novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde were based on a football team, it would be QPR. Not only did QPR win both of their matches this week, they did it against the second and third place squads in resounding fashion. QPR spanked Sao Paulo, 3-0, before handing Parma their first loss in Serie B play with a comfortable 2-0 victory. These wins have thrust QPR directly into the Serie B promotion picture.

    However, one question remains: which QPR squad will we see in Match Week 7, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

    Matches of the Week

    1. Olympiakos 1 - 2 Bologna: Once again, despite scoring the match's first goal, Olympiakos can't hold a lead as Bologna converted two late tallies for a 2-1 win to keep the Greek squad winless since Match Day 4.

    2. QPR 2 - 0 Parma: Parma is undefeated no more as QPR dominated the pitch for 90 minutes, utilizing the brilliance of Cisse and Zamora to hand the Crusaders their first loss in Serie B by a 2-0 score.

    3. Santos 0 - 1 VfL Wolfsburg: Santos may have had more shots and held possession longer, but it was VfL Wolfsburg's Vieirinha that scored the match's lone goal in the 48th minute to move the German club into the upper half of the table.

    Players of the Week

    1. Bobby Zamora, QPR: One goal and four assists for five points

    2. Djibril Cisse, QPR: Three goals for three points

    3. Vieirinha, VfL Wolfsburg: Two goals and one assist for three points

    Clutch of the Week

    Gaston Ramirez, Bologna: Ramirez could have been a solid candidate for a spot in "Players of the Week" if Bologna had more than one match this week. With Bologna experiencing a bye in Match Day 13 due to Aston Villa's departure from Serie B, Ramirez made the most of his one match against Olympiakos in Match Week 14. Trailing 1-0 after an early second half goal by the Greek squad, Ramirez tallied the game-tying assist in the 59th minute and the game-winning goal in the waning minutes (I think, although the time of the goal was not recorded) to give Bologna a 2-1 victory. Ramirez's clutch win gives Bologna an outside shot at a top-three placement in Serie B by season's end.

    Stats of the Week

    1. Heading into Match Week 6, there were four teams in all of TFS that were undefeated: Friz 's Spartak Moscow (12-1-0, Serie A), Parma (7-4-0, Serie B), GovernedSpy 's Rubin Kazan (11-1-0, Serie C), and Go Devils 's Cagliari (6-6-0, Serie C). This was "The Week of the Upset" as only Cagliari still stands unbeaten, with Spartak Moscow falling twice and Parma and Rubin Kazan losing once.

    2. In their last 10 matches, jb_banco 's Olympiakos has failed to notch a single win, compiling a 0-6-4 record in that span. Olympiakos has only earned one point in their last five games and could really use a victory in Match Day 16 against Parma to prevent a potential free fall into the second relegation spot.

    3. Olympiakos defender Avraam Papadopoulos was given two yellow cards (39', 90') in his Match Day 13 contest against VfL Wolfsburg. Papadopoulos, whose two yellows turned into a red card and resulted in a suspension in Match Day 16, is the second Serie B player to be sent off this season, with Aston Villa's James Collins being the first.

    Match Week 7 Preview

    Match Day 15: TBD
    Match Day 16: TBD
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
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  22. BESHIKTAS

    BESHIKTAS Almighty Black Eagles

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    Going in to the last week of the season, there are lots of possibilities on top of Serie B, as well as the buttom.​
    Here are some of those!!!​

    • If Parma wins the remaining games, they will be gone to Serie A no matter what happens !!!
    • If Sao Paulo wins the rest of their games, and Parma gets a draw Sao Paulo goes to Serie A
    • If Dinamo wins both of their games, Parma and Sao Paulo both lose their 2 remaining games Dinamo makes it to the Serie A.
    • If Dinamo loses both of remaining games, and Wolfsburg wins against QPR. Wolfsburg gets to play a playoff game.
    • If QPR wins the remaining games, and Dinamo loses both of their games QPR plays a playoff game on the way to Serie A.
    • If Santos wins against Braga in matchday 16, they are safe.
    • If Braga beats Santos and Santos loses the remaining 2 games. Santos will be out.
    • If Braga beats QPR and Santos. They will have to wait and see the results of Santos` games. If Santos wins 1 and loses 1, Braga is safe. If Santos wins both games Santos is safe. If Santos loses both games Braga will be safe.
     
  23. BESHIKTAS

    BESHIKTAS Almighty Black Eagles

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  24. BigSmooth33

    BigSmooth33 Walk On

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  25. heznfire

    heznfire Walk On

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    I was going to do a similar post for Inside Serie B, but I've been so busy this week I haven't had the chance. I'm pretty sure you've covered everything BESHIKTAS. Nice work.
     
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