What A Champions League Draw THAT Was.By: Rob | August 27th, 2009
So the Champions League draw has been made, and it has provided, as predicted some absolutely mouthwatering ties. Both Milan clubs are the centre of attention, with AC in a group with Real Madrid, and Inter in with holders Barcelona. Meanwhile, Liverpool got drawn in a tricky group with Fiorentina and Lyon, Juventus were placed in a group with Bayern Munich and Arsenal face the challenege of AZ.
Okay, While there are two or three really exciting groups, the English clubs should feel pretty comfortable as they mostly avoided the big names. Chelsea and Liverpool both face tricky groups, but neither are faced with a Real Madrid or Juve.
Full draw, reaction and predictions after the jump:
So lets start at the start. Group A sees Bayern Munich drawn against Juventus, Bordeaux and Maccabi Haifa. Should be an absolutely fascinating group. Bordeaux won’t be pushovers by any stretch of the imagination, Juve look rejuvinated and ready to challenege again, and while Bayern have struggled in Germany so far this season, I expect them to get it together in Europe.
Prediction: Juve to win the group, Bayern second, Bordeaux to be stuck in the UEFA Cup spot.
Man United got drawn with CSKA Moscow, Besiktas and Wolfsburg. It is a group that last years finalists should get through comfortably, but Wolfsburg will be a threat, and Besiktas and CSKA are always tricky teams to play away against.
Prediction: Man United to win it, from Wolfsburg and then a close battle for third, which Besiktas will nick.
This is a big big group. 17 European Cups between them. 7 Time winners Milan, drawn with 9 times winners Real Madrid and One time winner Marseille. Poor Zurich will be the whipping boys. OM might well be the best of the French sides this year, and while Real look great on paper, its might take time for them to gel. Milan were predicted to look poor this season sans-Kaka’ but have started ok in Serie A.
Prediction: Real to win it from Milan and Marseille in third. Zurich might not get any points at all.
An interestingly balanced group this – Chelsea drawn against Porto, Atlético Madrid and APOEL of Cyprus. While the latter is an unknown quality, we know plenty about the other three. Porto have won the competition this decade, while Chelsea are deseperate to, and Atleti have an amazing front line.
Prediction: Chelsea to take the group, from Atlético with Porto consigned to the UEFA Cup.
Another really fascinating group. Liverpool, who always perform in Europe regardless of domestic form, Lyon – who have lost a couple of big names over the summer – and Fiorentina all drawn together with Debrecren making up the numbers.
Prediction: This is one of the toughest groups to call, and caused a bit of an argument on the liveblog.
Liverpool’s European experience should see them through despite their current form, which leaves Lyon and Fiorentina to battle it out as last year. I’ll back Fiorentina to make it this time. Lyon for the UEFA Cup.
Another huge group, with Champions Barcelona drawn with Inter. The two swapped Eto’o and Ibrahimovic (along with a boatload of money) over the summer, so that’s interesting enough to spice to it up. Dynamo Kiev and Kazan provide the other two sides – and two tricky trips east for the group favourites.
Prediction: Tough to see past Barca, then Inter, and then one of the other two for the UEFA Cup. Will say Dynamo Kiev.
Sevilla were the seeded team here, joined by Rangers, Stuttgart and Unirea. Pretty balanced, its a group they’ll all feel they might get out of.
Prediction: Another really tough one to call. I’m gonna go nuts and predict Stuttgart and Rangers to advance.
This one Arsenal should be rather happy with. The Gunners are drawn with AZ of Holland, Olympiacos of Greece and Standard Liege of Belgium.
Prediction: Arsenal to waltz through, and then Olympiacos second.