Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /mnt/www/html/the186qfgn3wa2z/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/views_handler_field_term_node_tid.inc).
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /mnt/www/html/the186qfgn3wa2z/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/views_handler_field_term_node_tid.inc).
×

Champions League To England: Don’t Screw This Up

The Champions League group stage draw was kind to all the English clubs except Tottenham.

Can you hear it? Playing over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again? It’s the Champions League anthem. The best thing to happen to Tuesdays and Wednesdays since Frasier went off air is nearly back. 

Thursday marked the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco but we know you only care about two things, so let’s get them out of the way.

Qarabag was drawn into Group C and Christian Pulisic is in Group H, with two more matches against Real Madrid in store, not to mention a date at Wembley. 

Qarabag, the first Azerbaijani team in the Champions League group stage, stole all the headlines. No wait, I have that backward. Qarabag received no headlines. As it turned out, the group stage sets up some pretty tasty matchups irrespective of Qarabag, so let’s take a look.

Champions League draw

 

Real Madrid against Pulisic’s Borussia Dortmund squad is a fantastic rematch of last year’s group stage. In 2016, the two squads played to two 2-2 draws, with Dortmund ultimately winning the group. To make Group H even more enticing, Tottenham was thrown in as well. 

Hotspur fans won’t be too excited about being drawn into the group of death after seeing the cakewalks given to Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. But hey, at least they get to play some great teams and see what they’ve been missing when Gareth Bale and Luka Modric return to London. 

Liverpool couldn’t have asked for a much easier group coming out of Pot 3. Spartak was one of, if not the worst Pot 1 team while Maribor of Slovenia won’t pose much trouble either. Sevilla is a tough squad, but given the other options out of Pot 2 (PSG, Barcelona, Dortmund), Liverpool could have done much worse.

Manchester United similarly was gifted a cupcake of a group with Benfica, Basel and CSKA Moscow. Manchester City is with Shakhtar, Napoli and Feyenoord. Napoli presents a stronger challenge than anyone in United’s group, but it’s not too bad. 

Chelsea has to deal with always-tough Atletico, with the exciting backstory of Diego Costa lingering over their matches. AS Roma won’t be a walkover, but Qarabag, well, it’s Qarabag. I just like saying it: Qarabag. Like Francisco, it’s fun to say.

England hasn't done too hot in the Champions League since Chelsea won it all in 2012, but Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs have been gifted glorious groups.

 

And then there’s poor Tottenham, wedged in a seemingly impossible group with two of the best clubs in Europe. Real Madrid has won three of the last four Champions League trophies while Dortmund has Pulisic and a few other guys, but mainly Pulisic. 

It could be worse. At least Tottenham isn’t playing on Thursdays like Arsenal. The Gunners find out who they play in the Europa League in Friday’s draw. 

Other groups of note include Bayern Munich going up against PSG in a renewed battle over the Alsace-Lorraine. Juventus will be paired with Barcelona to ensure we have two more matchups of this generation’s greatest goalie against this generations greatest finisher. Then there’s the forgettable Group G with Monaco, Porto, Besiktas and RB Leipzig. Yawn.

The Champions League group stage begins Sept. 12-13 and runs through Dec. 5-6. 

 

There were also a few awards handed out at the ceremony. Francesco Totti was given the UEFA President’s Award after the Roma striker recently hung up his boots following a magnificent career. Awards for the 2016-17 Champions League players of the year went to Gianluigi Buffon (top goalkeeper), Sergio Ramos (defender), Luka Modric (midfielder) and Cristiano Ronaldo (forward). 

UEFA Women’s and Men’s Player of the Year Awards went to Barcelona’s Lieke Martens of the Netherlands and Ronaldo, respectively. Both were given hideous statues of headless torsos. 

Fortunately, the Champions League trophy is a bit more well-proportioned. Now if I can just get that damn theme song out of my head for the next nine months. 

Videos you might like