UEFA Champions League 2010 Matchday 6: Previewing 3 Crucial Ties

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UEFA Champions League 2010 Matchday 6: Previewing 3 Crucial Ties
Michael Regan/Getty Images

"Die Meister. Die Besten. Les Grandes Equipes. The Champions!''

Lyrics which will make many football fans shiver with nerves, which will stir up passion and create unrivalled anticipation. 

In 1992, UEFA commissioned Tony Britten to adapt Georg Friedrich Handel's Zadok The Priest and create an anthem that was beautiful, powerful, sophisticated and symbolic. All qualities they wished the footballing world to associate with The Champions League.

Nearly 20 years on, Europe's premier club competition continues to entertain and fascinate nine-digit global television audiences with its mixture of drama, pomp and quality.

Although critics will point to its economic impact widening the gap between the rich and the poor and rightly point out that many participants are not and might never be true champions, it is hard to argue with many statistics suggesting that it is now a sporting phenomenon.

In fact, last year the final of the competition attracted more than 100 million viewers—more than the NFL's Super Bowl—to become the most popular single sporting event of the year.

During the long winter months, the event creates anticipation and excitement which provide a welcome distraction for many men, women and children weighed down by oppressive working weeks and financial stress.

Tuesdays and Wednesday can often feel like Saturdays and Sundays as clusters of friends, family and fans huddle around their new widescreen HD-ready TV or corner of the last table of the local pub to watch their beloved team clash against the powerhouses of European football.

And although some games are clearly and painfully one-sided, any competition which can produce magical moments such as Zinedine Zidanes stunning volleyed winner in the 2002 Final or Liverpool's remarkable comeback win against AC Milan, ''The Miracle of Istanbul'' must be special.

This season, the competition has provided wonderful entertainment. The last round of 16 matches, Matchday 5, produced 45 goals and notable games included Valencia smashing six past hapless Turkish side Bursaspor, Roma adging a five-goal thriller against Bayern Munich and Braga surprising free-scoring contenders Arsenal with a 2-0 victory.

In the following brief slideshow, I preview the three games which are perhaps the most interesting and decisive and highlight key facts and factors which might determine what impact they have on the remainder of the tournament.

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