Champions League Draw Preview

The final qualification round for the 2011-12 Champions League ended today and now we know a little more about what to expect from tomorrow’s draw. The draw will occur at 11:30 EST and be shown on Fox Soccer for those of us in America. So let us break this down a little.

As you may know, all the teams left in the final 32 are placed into 4 pots based on their UEFA coefficients, drawn into 8 groups of 4 teams, and then scheduled to play home and away games against the other 3 teams in their groups. Barcelona currently sits 2nd in the UEFA coeffecient (not that it matters), mostly due to being the only La Liga team past the final 16 until last year. However, being the title holders, Barcelona are the number 1 team in pot 1. Other sides placed into pot 1 include Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich (qualified yesterday), Arsenal (qualified today), Real Madrid, Porto, and Inter. Barcelona cannot be drawn into a group with any of these sides.

The second group includes Milan, Lyon, Shakhtar, Valencia, Benfica, Villareal, CSKA Moscow, and Marseille. Barcelona cannot be drawn with Valencia or Villareal because teams cannot be drawn against domestic league foes in the rounds of 32 or 16. Group 3 is the shocker here because of its strength: Zenit St. Petersburg, Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiacos, Manchester City, Lille, Basel, BATE and Borisov. Barcelona can be drawn against any of these teams. Finally, group 4 contains Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Dinamo Zagreb, APOEL, Trabzonspor (taking over for Fenerbache who are involved in a match-fixing investigation), Genk, Viktoria Plzen, and Otelul Galati. Barcelona can draw any of these sides.

In my opinion, the best case scenario for Barça involves drawing Marseille or Benfica (because I want nothing to do with Eastern European nations or Milan) from Group 2. Drawing Lille, BATE, or Basel (no to City, Ajax, any Greek team, or Zenit). And then drawing any of the Group D teams that is not Dortmund (they are better than a lot of people know).

A worst case scenario involves drawing Milan or Shaktar, Manchester City, and Dortmund. Though I still believe Barcelona would finish up top there, it would be much more difficult and risk the players a lot more.

So sit back, relax, and we will find out very soon where Barcelona lines up for the Round of 32.

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277 Comments

  1. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    EE paid for this draw 🙂

  2. August 25, 2011

    As usual, we have a group with domestic champions only: Serie A champs Milan, Belarus champs BATE, and Czech champs Plzen.

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      Champions League, baby.

    • August 25, 2011

      Yup, already predicting punny headlines.

      “Czech mate! Barca defeats Plzen to win its Champions League group”

      “Milan bounces Czechs”

      “Messi scores brace as Barca master BATE”

    • Mila
      August 25, 2011

      Jose, it’s ok, the Belarus and Czech leagues are really not all that…

    • August 25, 2011

      I know, Mila, I meant it as saying I’m happy that we got a team of solely champions in the Champions League again. It’s like a throwback to the time when the European Cup used to just be Champions.

  3. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    Viktoria Plzen

  4. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Where is this?

  5. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Whew, no Dortmund.

  6. August 25, 2011

    Ok good. No dortmund. This group should be ok.

  7. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    YAY!!!!! WE GOT THE CHEKS!!

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      Cancelled Czechs? Alright!

  8. Miguel
    August 25, 2011

    Who the hell’s that? Victoria Pilsner? Where’s that?

    • August 25, 2011

      Czech Republic.

    • nzm
      August 25, 2011

      Czech Republic

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      Oh, Snapple Cap Fact:

      Pilsner lagers got their name from the town Plzn.

  9. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    YES

  10. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    THANK GOD NOT DORTMUND.

    Not too hard a group. I don’t rate Milan much, and the other two teams shouldn’t cause much problems.

  11. August 25, 2011

    Dortmund goes to Group F with Arsenal, Marseille and Olympiakos.

  12. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Ooh, Dortmund vs. Arsenal.

  13. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    United and Real have groups without ANY great teams!

    I’m happy with this draw. We kick Milanese ass but also look set to qualify without much trouble.

  14. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    Please not CR!

  15. August 25, 2011

    United and Madrid are the big winners of the draw. United especially.

    This will be a slight advantage for Madrid in the Liga title race. But that’s the way it goes.

  16. Whatever
    August 25, 2011

    Great group. 🙂

  17. outerspacedout
    August 25, 2011

    I’ll eat my hat and post a picture on FB if Messi doesn’t win this. I don’t own a hat so I’ll buy one.

  18. andrecito
    August 25, 2011

    seeing some of these small teams in the champs league
    makes me hope to be able to see samuel eto’o again in this
    tournament!

  19. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    live voting, wow

  20. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    Why the hell wasn’t Iniesta nominated?

  21. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    OK, well. We shouldn’t have to worry much about making it out of the group stage, but we will need to fight a little to top Milan and win the group. Which will be very important, as the difference in quality between the number one team in some of those groups and the rest is pretty substantial.

    Can’t get over group A. Bayern, City, Villarreal, Napoli. All four teams better than the second-best team in United’s and Madrid’s groups. I’ll be rooting for Rossi and The Yaya…

  22. August 25, 2011

    Are they really having all 3 come on stage? That’s just unnecessary. The two who don’t win just have to stand there.

  23. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    MYYYYYYYYY XAVI!!!

    Sorry, fangirl moment here :)))

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      Go on wit ya bad self.

  24. Helge
    August 25, 2011

    I’ll boycott any European based sportspaper if CR wins this 😀

  25. August 25, 2011

    lol, the awkwardness between CRonaldo, Messi and Xavi is hilarious.

    • August 25, 2011

      CRonaldo ends with yes it was an honor to win the European Golden Boot last season.

      Announcer: Thank you, Cristiano. *turns to Messi* Messi, how is it to score such crucial goals in important matches?

    • August 25, 2011

      Very awkward. This was not well planned.

  26. barca96
    August 25, 2011

    Damn Ronaldo didn’t look happy when Freddy Pinto said that he would have to be “these guys” (points to Messi and Xavi)

  27. jordi™
    August 25, 2011

    heh Uefa good at these uncomfortable moments.

  28. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    Cristiano has an epic lean away.

  29. August 25, 2011

    This is the inaugural award. To have the opportunity to give the first one to Messi and not do so would be an embarrassment to UEFA and delegitimize the award.

    • mom4
      August 25, 2011

      ^this

  30. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    LOL, this shot of Xavi and CR7 leaning away from each other as they stand there, like there’s some kind of repulsive force field in between them… 🙂

  31. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    CR and Leo hate each other, it is so obvious. Xavi is kind of there to stand in between them.

    Leo is so selfless and CR is sooooo egocentric – and it is all there for all to see.

  32. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    @barcastuff: Places 4 to 10 of the UEFA Best Player Award: 4 Iniesta, 5 Falcao, 6 Rooney, 7 Vidic, 8 Ibrahimovic, 9 Pique, 10 Neuer

  33. August 25, 2011

    This live voting is just silly.

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      I don’t agree. The player’s fashion sense should be taken into account, aswell.

    • FalseNine
      August 25, 2011

      When is the swimsuit part of the competition?

    • Miguel
      August 25, 2011

      I hope Messi doesn’t have to answer geography questions or anything like that.

    • FalseNine
      August 25, 2011

      Xavi has said he likes to read maps in his spare time… His chance to shine!

      Messi knows where the ball is, where the goal is, and that the first one is going into the second one. For geography, that’ll do.

  34. jordi™
    August 25, 2011

    How come they mentioned Cr’s stats alone, its not like Leo didnt score 52 or whatever himself

    • blitzen
      August 25, 2011

      Because that’s the only thing he won last year….unlike Leo.

  35. FalseNine
    August 25, 2011

    Ah, that goal against Arsenal never gets old

  36. Lev
    August 25, 2011

    I feel bad for Napoli, but then again being in the fourth pool their group was bound to be tough.

    I would have preferred not to play in Eastern Europe but our group is not that tough. The games against Milan should be exciting! Hopefully Ibra and Gatuso won’t try to injure us, but oh well…

  37. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    DYING from suspence- just pick someone darnit.

  38. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    Messi better win this, or things will get messy!

  39. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    that’s one fugly trophy

    • mom4
      August 25, 2011

      YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. August 25, 2011

    Wow that is a really ugly trophy

  41. Miguel
    August 25, 2011

    “I don’t know.”

  42. August 25, 2011

    Messi wins. SHOCKER!! 😛

    Ridiculous looking trophy…

  43. Eklavya
    August 25, 2011

    duh

  44. nzm
    August 25, 2011

    Our boy wins!!!

  45. Ryan
    August 25, 2011

    Porqueeeee?

  46. Mila
    August 25, 2011

    YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! Messi won, CR choking on hate 🙂

  47. jordi™
    August 25, 2011

    Its a shirt…

  48. nzm
    August 25, 2011

    Is that award meant to look like a shirt?

    • jordi™
      August 25, 2011

      Yes lol

  49. mom4
    August 25, 2011

    CR looks ticked…again.

  50. August 25, 2011

    C.Ronaldo looks like he’s in so much pain. They can’t even move Messi closest to the questioner. He’s talking right past C.Ronaldo and Xavi. I’m sure Xavi doesn’t care but for C.Ronaldo…

    • Lev
      August 25, 2011

      Tbh I feel kinda sorry for C.Ronaldo since it is obvious Messi would win why invite him to stand there like an idiot. Everybody knows about the morbo, this is just embarassing for him…

      mmm…

      hehehehehe!

    • August 25, 2011

      Agree – horribly planned event by UEFA. To have the players who lost just stand there is just terrible optics and unfair to them.

      Even the whole issue of talking past them to ask Messi questions is just rude on their part.

      Very amateurish.

    • Mila
      August 25, 2011

      It’s good the invited CR, so we get to him choke on hate and stand there all in pain and envy 🙂

      Honestly though, in any other moment in time, CR would’ve been the absolute best, but he had to be a footballer now, sharing the stage with one man who is better than him… Tough luck!

Comments are closed.