UEFA Champions League Draw : Analysis

The UEFA Champions League group stage draw was made on 27th August 09 at Grimaldi Forum, Monaco. Teams from as many as 18 nations will feature in this year's Champions League campaign. Bundesliga winners Wolfsburg, FC Rubin Kazan, FC Rubin Kazan, AZ Alkmaar, R. Standard de Liege, AFC Unirea Urziceni, Debreceni VSC, APOEL FC and FC Zurich will all be making their debuts in this elite competition. 32 teams have been segregated into 8 groups of 4 in the following manner -

Bayern Munich (GER)
Juventus (ITA)
Bordeaux (FRA)
Maccabi Haifa (ISR)

Bayern Munich (plus Arjen Robben) and Juventus are clear favourites to advance to the knock-outs. Although Bordeaux will have a say in this group after having kick started their Ligue 1 season with 4 impressive wins. Maccabi Haifa remain the only minnows in this group.

Manchester United (ENG)
CSKA Moscow (RUS)
Besiktas JK (TUR)
VFL Wolfburg (GER)

No price for guessing who will claim the number 1 spot in this group. The race for second spot is evenly contested with Bundesliga holders Wolfburg, Turkish Champions Besiktas and Russian League runners-up CSKA Moscow all locking horns.

AC Milan (ITA)
Real Madrid (ESP)
Olympique de Marseille (FRA)
FC Zurich (SUI)

AC Milan vs Real Madrid. Need I say more??? Kaka will again be at the San Siro this season with only difference that he'll be in whites instead of red and black. 21st October is the day when these two footballing giants will go head to head. You just cant afford to miss this mouth-watering clash. Also in this group are French side Marseille and Swiss newbies FC Zurich. Group fillers may we assume?

Chelsea (ENG)
FC Porto (POR)
Athletico Madrid (ESP)

With Champions Leagues being the topmost priority on their list, Chelsea will be going all out to win this one. They have started their campaign in magnificient fashion under the influence of Carlo Ancelotti. Stopping them will be a herculean task for their opponents Athletico, Porto and APOEL. Although Atletico do boast of a certain Sergio Aguero (who was followed by Chelsea all summer) who can unlock any defence in this world. All in all Chelsea will be the clear favourites to reach knock-out stages with Athletico and Porto dueling for the second spot.

FC Liverpool (ENG)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)
AFC Fiorentina (ITA)
Debreceni VSC (HUN)

Shaky start to the season has cast few doubts over the title credentials of Liverpool. But the Reds have known to transform into a completely new side on European nights. Somewhere in October Alberto Aquilani is expected to make his debut for Liverpool which will give the English side a cutting edge over its oppenents. Although Olympique Lyon (minus Karim Benzema) and Fiorentina do pose a substantial threat. The group also features Hungarian Champions Debreceni in its debut UCL season. On the whole, a very interesting group.

FC Barcelona (ESP)
FC Internazionale Milano (ITA)
FC Dynamo Kiev (UKR)
FC Rubin Kazan (RUS)

The Catalunya side will be looking to repeat the treble as they gear up for a new season. With Lionel Messi adjudged UEFA CLUB FORWARD OF THE YEAR and Xavi as UEFA CLUB MIDFIELDER OF THE YEAR its hard to find any reason why Barcelona wont reach the knock-outs. Standing in their way are Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan and Dynamo Kiev (who recently completed the signing of Andriy Shevchenko) and Russian league winners Rubin Kazan. Mourinho has made quality signings in Wesley Sneijder, Lucio and Samuel Eto'o. His side looks superbly balanced and highly motivated following the success in Milan derby (4-0). They can undoubtedly give Barcelona a run for their money.

Sevilla FC (ESP)
Rangers FC (SCO)
VfB Stuttgart (GER)
AFC Unirea Urziceni (ROU)

A group of dark horses. No big names in this group which will only make it more open and competitive. All four teams stand somewhat evenly poised to advance further. Although Stuttgart have bolstered their midfield significantly by signing ex-Gunner Alex Hleb.

Arsenal FC (ENG)
AZ Alkmaar (NED)
Olympiacos FC (GRE)
R. Standard de Liege (BEL)

I would be surprised if Arsenal don't clinch no.1 spot in this group. With a staggering start to the season its the least you can expect out of this young side. This group also features AZ Alkmaar, Olympiacos and Standard Liege who are the sole representatives of their respective national leagues.

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  1. Firstly, great blog.

    I think that the English teams got a good deal in this draw, however, it won't be as straight forward as many think for Man Utd, with some difficult away trips.

    I do still expect them to qualify, but maybe not as easy as it first looks. If all English teams don't progress from this stage, then they need to look at themselves, and that's not meant to be ignorant towards the other sides, I just think they will have too much for them.

    Some great games there in Groups C & F though!

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