Tag Archive | "champions league fixtures"

2012-2013 UEFA Champions League Groups, Tips, and Predictions

Group Stage Set For 2012 Champions League: The 2012 Champions League is going to be a tough haul for the 32 teams that are involved, as just one can claim the biggest prize in European soccer. The ping-pong balls have been drawn, and the 32 teams have been placed into their eight Champions League groups of four for the fixtures that are going to get underway starting in September. Needless to say, there are going to be a few teams that are quite happy with what should be relatively easy draws going into the knockout rounds of the Champions League, but there are others that are going to be quite upset with the teams that they are going to be sharing fixtures with for the rest of the calendar year.

2012 Champions League Groups
Group A: Dinamo Zagreb, Dynamo Kiev, FC Porto, Paris Saint-Germain
Group B: Arsenal, Montpellier, Olympiacos, Schalke 04
Group C: AC Milan, Anderlecht, Malaga, Zenit St. Petersburg
Group D: Ajax, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City, Real Madrid
Group E: Chelsea, Juventes, Nordsjaelland, Shakhtar Donetsk
Group F: Bate Borisov, Bayern Munich, Lille, Valencia
Group G: Barcelona, Benfica, Celtic, Spartak Moskow
Group H: Braga, CFR Cluj, Galatarsaray, Manchester United

At one glance, the team that has to be quite happy is Manchester United in Group H. Surely, there will be a fixture or two in which full points aren’t achieved, but relatively speaking, this is going to be the easiest group that the Red Devils could have asked for. The truth of the matter is that another English giant, Arsenal has a relatively easy draw as well, knowing that it shouldn’t have all that many problems with Schalke, Olympiacos, and Montpellier in Group B.

Further down the road, it appears as though PSG, the team that is the overwhelming favorite to win the Ligue 1 this year, will be able to get into the knockout rounds of the Champions League with ease out of Group A. AC Milan is a team that should have no problems in Group C, though it will be interesting to see if Malaga can keep its early season momentum going in La Liga and get into the knockout stages of the Champions League as well.

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Group E should be fairly cut and dry, as Chelsea and Juventes should be head and shoulders above Shakhtar Donetsk and Nordsjaelland, both of which are fortunate just to be here at this stage of the competition. Those two will be fighting for the drop in spot to the Europa Cup in 2012-13. Group F features one team with absolutely no chance in Bate Borisov, and three teams that have to feel like they can all get into the next stage of the competition. Meanwhile, in Group G, Barcelona should get through in a romp over three teams that should all be ready to fight. Celtic has to think that this is a great chance to get through, though Benfica and Spartak Moskow aren’t going to go down easily.

However, all of the buzz is about Group D in the Champions League, which is easily the Group of Death. Real Madrid and Manchester City are the two highlights of the group, and one would think that they would both be able to get through to the second stage of the competition. That might be how it ultimately plays out, but Ajax is a team with a ton of experience at this level and a slew of Dutch championships, and Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga. It won’t be an easy group to handicap for sure, and this very well could be the second straight year in which Manchester City is left out in the cold and forced out of the group stages of the Champions League.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

Chelsea Champions League Update (11/23/11): Blues & Manchester City Shocked

We are five matches into the Champions League fixtures, and there have definitely been some shockers on the Champions League schedule. Teams that are supposed to already be through to the knockout rounds of the UCL are struggling, and there are some tremendous shocks for teams that are either already into the next stage or are well on their way. Check out our Champions League update through the fixtures completed on November 23rd, 2011!

It has been a ridiculously tough time for the Premier League teams in the Champions League. Manchester City is in the biggest amount of trouble right now. It only has seven points in three matches, and without a win over Bayern Munich in the final fixture of the UCL next month and some help, it will be headed into the Europa League instead of the knockout rounds of the Champions League. The win for Napoli at home against the Citizens ensured that the Italian side is in the driver’s seat. Taking three points against a Villarreal team that has yet to log a point in this competition would send Napoli through to the last 16.

In Group C, Manchester United lost an opportunity to get through to the last 16 of this competition on Tuesday when it was held by Benfica at home with a 2-2 draw. Now, the Red Devils, which could have rested in the final fixture of the UCL group stage, instead know that they need a point from FC Basel just to get through. Barring a tremendous collapse against an Otelul Galati squad that has yet to log a point in its first five fixtures, Benfica is through to the next stage.

The shocking result of the day on Wednesday came when Chelsea FC was beaten by Bayer Leverkusen for the Group E lead. The German side is now almost surely through. Racing Genk was eliminated with a bad 7-0 loss against Valencia, and now, Genk has to contend with Leverkusen in the final fixture. That means that the final fixture of the group between Chelsea and Valencia will be for a spot in the Round of 16. A draw will be good enough to put Valencia through, and it would keep the Blues in the Europa League.

The only one of the English sides in good shape is Arsenal. The Gunners have 11 points in five matches and are into the next round as the Group F leaders. The other three teams in this group are in some trouble, and all three could finish anywhere else on the table. Marseille needs a point in its trip to Germany against Borussia Dortmund, while Olympiakos probably will have to have three points against the Gunners to progress.

Other teams that are already through to the Round of 16…
Inter Milan has 10 points and is through from Group B, while the other three teams are separated by just a total of one point.

Group D is basically said and done with. Real Madrid has a perfect 15 points in five matches, while Ajax Amsterdam has eight points and needs to just keep its goal differential against Lyon to survive into the knockout round.

Group H is done as well, and there are definitely no surprises here. Both Barcelona and AC Milan have dominated, accounting for 21 points between them, and they will be the two teams advancing into the next round.

The surprise of all surprises though, has come in Group G. Apoel Nicosia earned a tough scoreless draw on Russian soil on Wednesday against Zenit St. Petersburg to become the first team from Cypress to ever qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Russian side will take on FC Porto in the final stage of this tournament to determine which team will qualify for the second round. Only three points will do for the Portuguese champs, or else it will be the Russian side that is into the next round.

The next set of matches will take place on December 6th and 7th.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

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