Tag Archive | "UEFA Champions League"

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

2011-12 Champions League: Through Champions League Scores 10/19/11

The UEFA Champions League group stage in 2011 got revved up once again this week, and there aren’t all that many surprises to talk about through three of the six fixtures in this year’s qualification for the knockout rounds.

Group H is the biggest laugher. Both AC Milan and Barcelona have seven points through three matches, and both BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen have just one point from playing each other. There’s no doubt that this group has already been decided.

Both Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen have played fantastic soccer in the Champions League as well. Both teams already have two victories. Valencia is going to be the odd team out in all likelihood, as it is already four points back of qualification in Group E.

The busy group of the bunch is Group F, where you would like to think that all four teams are still in search of the second phase of the competition. Arsenal and Olympique Marseille both have two victories to head up the group. However, if the group stages ended right now, it would be the German champions, Borussia Dortmund that ends up going home as the last place team in the group. Dortmund has been outscored 7-2 in its three matches, including a bad loss to Olympiakos that probably will not be forgiven.

Further down in Group G, it’s surprising to see Apoel Nicosia still undefeated. Granted, this hasn’t been the toughest group in the world, and there are only three points separating all four teams, but just the thought that it has a shot of staying alive in any European competition is impressive.

The dominating teams in the top half of the Champions League draw have been as good as expected in the start of this tournament.

Real Madrid has three victories and an impressive 8-0 goal differential in its three matches so far to run away from Ground D, and it can be the first team to punch its ticket into the second round of the tournament with just one more result. It seems as though the last fixture between Ajax Amsterdam and Lyon will determine which team survives into Round 2.

Manchester United is only 1-2-0 in Group C, but we don’t foresee any issues going forward. The Red Devils are a point clear of FC Basel for second place behind Benfica, who has only conceded one goal and has seven points to show for its three matches.

Inter Milan is two points atop of Group B, and it really shouldn’t have any challenges going forward at this level of the competition. The team can really take it easy against the likes of CSKA Moscow, Trabzonspor, and Lille, all of which are just grasping for a hope at being the second team to qualify through this group.

Finally at the top of the table, things are most interesting in Group A. The English giants, Manchester City are doing a fantastic job taking care of business in the English Premier League, but they are only 1-1-1 in three fixtures in the Champions League. Right now, that’s just not good enough, as both Bayern Munich and Napoli are in front of the Citizens. Another Spanish side is struggling though, as Villarreal has just one goal to show for its three matches, and it is likely already conceded to being out of European competition.

Posted in Champions League (UCL), Featured

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