This past Thursday, the beginning of the next Champions League draws began. Hosted by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) in Geneva, Switzerland, President Aleksander Ceferin welcomed all football fans to the official show across the world. After recognizing the champions Bayern Munich, the draws began.
In the Champions League, there are four teams per group, starting from A through H. The defending champions Bayern were lucky enough to get in Group A with Atletico Madrid, FC Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moskva. For Group B, the teams within are Real Madrid, Shaktar Donetsk, FC Internazionale Milano and Borussia Monchengladbach. Looking ahead, Group C holds Porto, Manchester City, Olympiacos and Marseille, while in Group D the 2018–19 Champions League winners Liverpool are with Ajax, newcomers Atalanta and fellow newcomer FC Midtjylland. With those top groups, the talent is unbelievably stacked with clubs that quite frankly have a fair shot at upsetting the English clubs and pushing out of the group stages.
Now for the back half, within Group E are Sevilla, Chelsea FC, FC Krasnodar and Stade Rennais FC, and in Group F, FC Zenit, Borussia Dortmund, SS Lazio and Club Brugge all get ready for a tough round of matchups. With clubs like Dortmund and Chelsea being the real “known” clubs in those groups, I’d definitely pick them to move out of the group stages. However, Krasnodar, Sevilla and Zenit could all put up a good fight. Lastly, in the final two groups of four, we have Group G and Group H. Within Group G lie the two giants of La Liga and Serie A, Barcelona and Juventus, who both hold Ronaldo and Messi on the respective teams. Those two are meeting in the Champions League for perhaps the final time in their careers and the first time in nearly a decade. The other two clubs within Group G are FC Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencvarosi FC. Within this group all eyes will be upon Juve and Barcelona, as those other two clubs will try to make a statement in knocking two legendary clubs out of the group stage. Now, we come to the final group, H. This one this year is also known as the “group of death.” What this means is that the toughest clubs of all the Champions League are within this group, and they consist of Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig and newcomer to the UCL, Istanbul Basaksehir. Paris, United and Leipzig all have had several Champions League bids in the past, with PSG falling short to last year’s champions Bayern Munich in the league final.
Overall, these draws are going to show us all some fantastic football matches. Whether it be Liverpool v. Ajax, Barcelona v. Juventus, PSG v. Manchester United, there are so many fantastic fixtures just waiting to be played come later in the fall. Starting on Oct. 20, the 2020–2021 Champions League kicks off as the pandemic still looms over us all. Nonetheless, with the proper procedures and testing, it is time to get back to some Champions League football!
Jeff Babcock is a fourth-year student majoring in communications and minoring in journalism. email@example.com