Players: Patrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers FC) & Éric Abidal (FC Barcelona)
It was a chastening Saturday for fans of Bolton and Tottenham Hotspur FC as an FA Cup quarter-final lurched from excitement towards tragedy. Muamba collapsed on the pitch after suffering cardiac arrest and was surrounded by paramedics and medical personnel who gave CPR and used defibrillators to try and save the 23-year-old's life. It took 78 minutes before the stricken midfielder began breathing again; within four days he was responding to questions, however.
Among the outpouring of goodwill and support Muamba received, there was a note from Abidal, who is to undergo a liver transplant in the coming weeks. Abidal, who last season had a tumour removed from his liver before returning to help Barcelona win the UEFA Champions league, posted: "Fabrice Muamba – wholeheartedly with you and your family!" Needless to say, UEFA.com echoes the sentiments of Real Madrid CF, whose players donned shirts which read: 'Get well soon Muamba' and 'Ánimo Abidal'.
Team: FC Bayern München
Earlier this month the season was looking bleak for Bayern. After losing their UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg against FC Basel 1893, they slipped seven points off the Bundelsiga pace following a 2-0 defeat at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. Something needed to be done, so something was. Mario Gomez scored a hat-trick as the Bavarians hammered TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 7-1 and snaffled four more as Basel were swatted aside 7-0. Then it was Hertha BSC Berlin's turn to feel the pain as Arjen Robben scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 drubbing last Saturday.
Wednesday's UEFA Champions League opponents Olympique de Marseille can take solace from the fact that Jupp Heynckes's side were held to a goalless draw by VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach in the German Cup semi-final in midweek. Maybe the goals have dried up.
Goal: Santi Cazorla (Málaga CF)
With Real Madrid careering towards a 12th successive Liga victory that would have preserved their ten-point cushion over Barcelona, it looked as though the game was up for Málaga. It was already two minutes into added time when they were awarded a free-kick 25 metres from goal; cometh the moment, cometh the man. Cazorla silenced the Santiago Bernabéu with a dipping, curling strike that flew into the top corner.
Unimaginative as it may be to include Lionel Messi in this column for the 214th week in succession, how can one overlook his latest feat? Not content with becoming the first player to score five goals in a UEFA Champions League match a fortnight earlier, Messi set another precedent by breaking Barcelona's scoring record. He went two beyond César Rodríguez's 232-goal mark with his eighth hat-trick of the season in a 5-3 Liga victory against Granada CF.
This is the name of the third tier in France, which this week provided two French Cup semi-finalists. US Quevilly inflicted a seventh straight defeat on Marseille after extra time, while Gazélec Ajaccio upset Montpellier Hérault SC. No National side has ever won the French Cup but if Quevilly overcome Stade Rennais FC on 10 April and Gazelec repeat the trick against Olympique Lyonnais, a first will be guaranteed.
"Wolfgang Overath has left, Volker Finke is gone, Lukas Podolski will most likely leave. I ask myself, 'Is the billy goat still there?'"
Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer foresees a bleak future for 1. FC Köln's caprine mascot following recent departures by the club president and sporting director, and the speculation surrounding the future of star forward Podolski.
Phillip Cocu said he had hoped to serve a longer apprenticeship before taking a major coaching role, but he has not made a bad start at PSV. Though a 1-1 draw against Valencia CF proved insufficient to prolong his side's involvement in the UEFA Europa League, a 5-1 victory over sc Heerenveen marked the second best Eredivisie start for a PSV boss (behind Sir Bobby Robson). Heerenveen were again on the receiving end in the Dutch Cup three days later, 3-1 this time – Cocu could collect his first silverware on 4 April when they meet first time finalists Heracles Almelo.
Great Van Tornhout
Dieter Van Tornhout enjoyed the happiest of 27th birthdays on Saturday as he came off the bench to score the winning goal against Celtic FC six minutes from the end of the Scottish League Cup final. There were mixed feelings for former Kilmarnock FC and Celtic player Mark Burchill, an ex-team mate of the Belgian at Cypriot outfit Enosis Neon Paralimni FC. Burchill tweeted: "Unbelievable! I recommended Van Tornhout to Killie and he has scored the winner in the final against my other old club Celtic!"
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