Champions League Draw: An insight into the group stages:Part 1
Finally the draw for European football’s magnum opus “ The Champions League “ has been made and what culminated was a share of easy and exciting groups . On one hand Barcelona and Chelsea enjoy a relatively tough group whereas the group of death group G features four exciting and world beating teams . Without further introduction , lets get down to business :
If anybody argues that this is probably one of the toughest and most exciting groups , its hard to contradict. After all , all these 4 teams have been on their best form for the last 2 years . Inter Milan as the defending champions are a certainty to progress in the eyes of all the betting syndicates but their history of struggling in Europe , especially in group stages cannot be overlooked , After all , it is to be seen how Inter Milan pans out under their new gaffer . Peter Crouch had made a rallying call to all the top clubs in Europe to be aware of the Spurs and God gave them the best to face . The race for the other spot will be tougher than expected, with Werder Bremen proving their credentials in the previous seasons and FC Twente , the defending Eredivise champions would be gunning for glory .
MY PICK : INTER MILAN , TOTTENHAM
GROUP B : LYON, BENFICA, SCHALKE ,HAPOEL TEL AVIV
The weakest group according to everyone , this group is devoid of any big names if you discount Lyon as one . However excitement and total football are guaranteed as some of the brightest and emerging stars would clash against each other . Raul inspired Schalke would be desperate for some success at the continental level and this is a golden chance for them to prove a point . Lyon , after their last season disappointment are gunning for glory and have been linked with star Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano all season . Above all, they are the favourites to progress from this group . Benfica are solid at home but have been poor away , their good game is yet to be seen. Not much can be said of the Israeli side except for the fact that they thoroughly deserve their chance at the biggest club competition after overcoming stiff resistance from an upcoming club , Red Bull Salzburg .
MY PICK : LYON , SCHALKE
GROUP C : MANCHESTER UNITED, RANGERS, VALENCIA, BURSASPOR
One of the most exciting groups , the highlight of this group will definitely be the battle of Britain between Rangers and Manchester United. They face each other in the opening fixture of the group, is all the more good news . The game has made so much headlines that UEFA has interfered and is looking at all security issues for the Sept 14th match at Old Trafford . Valencia are a formidable opposition and are favourite to progress along with the red devils, but Valencia have always been unpredictable and anything can be expected. Bursaspor are the defending Turkish league champions and they would be banking on their fanatic support in the home matches to gather their first points of the championship .
MY PICK : MANCHESTER UNITED , VALENCIA
GROUP D : BARCELONA , PANATHINAIKOS , FC COPENHAGEN ,RUBIN KAZAN
Barcelona would definitely be the most pleased club after the groups were declared . With possibly the easiest team drawn from pot 2 , they have no major players to defend against . However they would be remembering their shock loss against Rubin Kazan at Nou Camp which put the catalan giants in danger of elimination from the group .
Rubin would be atleast facing one of their old rivals this time around and they certainly would be thanking the stars for getting a favourable draw . They have been the best team in the Russian league for the past 2 seasons and hence would be desperate for a better show in the champions league . Panathinaikos have a poor recent record at the league having hardly featured in the knockout rounds . FC Copenhagen luckily edged past Norweigean champions Rosenborg in the qualifiers and would be hoping for a decent run in the championship .
MY PICK : BARCELONA , RUBIN KAZAN