After a week in which there's been a decent amount of football to watch every day, and with more to come for the foreseeable future, it's fair to say that we've deep into the 'business end' of the season. Indeed, here in the UK one of the first pieces of silverware is up for grabs this weekend, and with it comes one of the finest underdog stories of many a year. Swansea vs Bradford in the League Cup Final is a game that no one could've predicted, but any right-thinking fan will enjoy - when a club has the Dalai Lama lending them his support, you know you're on the right track.
David Conn at The Guardian can often be found digging up some of the murkier stories around the game, but it seems that Bradford's unlikely route to the final has brought out his sunnier side, with this heartwarming story of how the club's season has also brought a unity to the city's population - a terrific story of just how powerful football can be.
We've talked many times about how football can cross over into other cultures, with some great and some terrible results, but thankfully this week we're simply bringing two great examples to your attention. Creating great football-inspired graphics seems to be really popular at the moment, but these prints from the Surrey-based Print Process stand out from the crowd. Using a simple but effective way of capturing the essence of iconic football grounds, they only lose points for the lack of one particular, Lancashire-based ground that was home to the world's first double-winning team in their repertoire. Hmmmm....
Our other mix of football and culture couldn't be more different. Everyone's heard of, and complained about, the FIFA rankings, but have you ever tried to eat your way through them? That's the idea behind eatFIFA, a blog chronicling the efforts of one group of ambitious/foolish fans to eat their way through the cuisine of every country on the fabled list. Sounds like a great idea when you think of Spain, Brazil and Italy, becomes a little bit more daunting when you consider the amount of Eastern European states they will have to wade through and the sheer fact that there's 209 teams on the list. Good luck with that!
Back to more on-pitch action, and German football seems to really be in the spotlight at the moment - their teams have shone in Europe, and the Bundesliga highlights are now recorded on a regular basis here in the Umbro office. But what's the best way to keep track of Germany's top league? The Bundesliga Lounge is a goldmine of info and opinion on the league, essential for anyone who wants some insight on the relegation battle or to simply swot up on the stats in order to impress friends/colleagues/potential partners.
Finally, we return to an old favourite who has possible shared their finest moment with us this week. Have you ever witnessed a goal, and been lost for a way to describe the particular way in which the ball hit the back of the net? Well, search no more, because Football Cliches have come up with 101 ways to score a goal, a mammoth encyclopedia of terms that includes everything from a howitzer to the slightest of touches. Essential reading for anyone looking to distract themselves this Friday afternoon, and superb inspiration for a lunchtime FIFA marathon here in the office. Top work.