So that’s that. The Champions League groups are set, with a few interest matchups, a group(s) of death, and a tough road ahead for some English clubs, easy for others. The draw, taking place in Monaco, which only seems fitting, is a “random” selection of clubs set into different pots to essentially rank clubs and create even groups. Let’s get a breakdown:
GROUP A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad
Not a horrible break here at all for Man United. David Moyes’ immediate future in Europe looks promising after this drawing, and United really should have no problem taking enough points from this group, if not winning it outright.
GROUP B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen
Not a terribly difficult group, but certainly a few good matchups and always a tough test in Galatasary. Everyone should be afraid to go to Turkey, those guys are nuts. Having said that, I think Juve and Real Madrid make it out to this group. Going out on a limb, I know…
GROUP C: Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos, Anderlecht
If there is a group of death, does that make this the group of life? A stroll in the park for PSG, I reckon. I know Benfica is always at the top of the Portuguese league, and they’re a good champions league competitor, but I’m not so sure they really should be in the top pot for the draw. Considering the rest of the group, Benfica will make it through.
GROUP D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen
Viktoria Plzen? Sounds like a light beer. Whatever their name is, they’re not gonna make it. Man City has proven to be abysmal in the champions league and have shown nothing under Manuel Pelligrini yet, so I don’t know what to expect out of this group. Munich through, and… I guess…. Man City? I don’t know….
GROUP E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest
This is also most certainly not your group of death. Chelsea have been very successful in the last two years in Europe so if Jose Mourinho is smart he’ll quickly crash out of this tournament, it’s done nothing good for the past two Chelsea managers. But even his worst efforts won’t prevent him from getting past the group stage. Schalke will be joining them.
GROUP F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli
Now this…. this may be your group of death. Literally all four of these teams can make it into the next stage out of this group. It continues to rain shit on Arsene Wenger. Yeeeesh, I really thought the guy would hold on to his job but after not making out of this group that may draw the line. I’ve got Dortmund and Napoli here making it out from the basement.
GROUP G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Austria Vienna
Woof. I’m not trying to hate on Portuguese teams here, but come on!? I don’t know what else to say here. I like Atletico Madrid getting through here on David Villa’s back, and a shootout between Zenit and Porto. But with all my haters-gonna-hate attitude, I’ll take Porto here.
GROUP H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic
I think the Champions League gods must just hate Celtic. After showing some remorse to the Scottish club yesterday with a last minute winner just to make it this far, they get struck by lightning and thrown into the other group of death. I’m not sure which group is tougher, this or group F. Ajax also gets put in the tough group back to back years, and Celtic will have to recreate their clubs greatest ever win to even have a chance here. Which they won’t, Barca and AC on to the next. Sorry Rod.
So there you have it. Feel free to shed some tears, it’s back: