Daily Kick Around: Clash of the UEFA Titans

UEFA Champions League

Today’s clash of European titans, Chelsea FC and Bayern Munich, in the UEFA Champions League Final headlines a huge day in soccer.  ESPN’s Paul Carr previews the match for Five Aside with nuggets of statistical goodness, including the ignominious record Chelsea could hold if they win.

Chelsea captain Frank Lampard is not bothered by Chelsea’s underdog mark in the match:

Lampard, who is aiming to become the first man to captain the Blues to European Cup glory, insisted he was relishing the atmosphere that had resulted from Bayern Munich having home advantage.

“The atmosphere here is amazing,” he said. “We’ve sampled a bit of it from airport to hotel. It gives them an advantage. We can play around with how much so, but playing at home, in your own changing room, the city with your fans – it’s an advantage.

“But to be underdogs gives you a determination. Bring it on. The fact they’re the home team is a great challenge for us.”

The match kicks off at 2:45pm EST on FOX. Not FOX Soccer Channel — actual FOX. Sorry, baseball fans. The world’s most popular sport took over your afternoon today.

 English Premier League

West Ham are back in the EPL after winning the nPower Championship today against Blackpool. Their fans certainly have an… ahem, unique way of celebrating.

Major League Soccer

It’s not only a big day for European soccer — today’s MLS slate includes the L.A. Derby between the Galaxy and Chivas, and the Cascadia Cup between the Seattle and Vancouver. SB Nation previews and predicts today’s matches with just a splash of snark.

Women’s Professional Soccer

It’s all over for WPS. The league announced yesterday that they would be closing shop for good, which is not surprising after the battle between the league and magicJack owner last winter caused the league to suspend operations for 2012. ESPNW’s Beau Dure discusses the future of women’s professional soccer in this country:

The bottom line from all parties: Women’s Professional Soccer is dead; long live professional women’s soccer.

“I don’t believe soccer in the U.S. is done, thanks to the many leagues around the country that are still being held to high standards like the WPSL,” Boston Breakers defender and former U.S. national team player Cat Whitehill said. “I believe we can keep top soccer in this country if everyone from the ownership to the players commits to it 100 percent. I understand there are amazing leagues across the world, but I believe the U.S. will find a way to create a professional environment as long as the commitment is there.

La Liga 

I can’t stop watching this video breakdown of Barcelona’s Tiki Taka style. Mesmerizing to watch.

Keep tuned to @AerysSoccer on Twitter and check back here for Champions League and MLS recaps later today.

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