(ESP-ENG) Se viene la Champions League!
Hello friends, good vibes to all.
It seems like it was nothing ago when we were discovering who would be the champion of the UCL in the match between Manchester City and Inter Milan, a little less than 3 months ago. Well, yesterday the draw was held for what will be the group stage that will start in a little over two weeks, resulting in some very interesting pairings. One of the "strange" things about this new edition is that it will be the last one as we know it, since from next year it will be all different, there will not be 32 teams but 36 and the classification will be like a league, four groups of 9 clubs where they will play against each other.
It must also be said that we will not see mythical clubs this year such as Liverpool, Chelsea or Juventus, the first two for having made a rather low quality last season and the third for disciplinary problems. And finally, it will be a Champions League without Lionel Messi, after I don't know how long. This could be something more romantic but the truth is that it is a blow of reality and it is that the great soccer stars are either retiring or migrating to other lands, which eventually makes European soccer what it is. By the way, as a not minor fact, Ceferin, the president of UEFA, closed the door to the Arabs in their intention of wanting to be invited to play in the Champions League in the future, something that was crazy but well, some people think that with money you can do anything.
Let's talk about how the eight groups of this new edition were formed. I have to say that I think that in general terms they were pretty even, I remember that in previous years there was a little more disparity which I do not notice so much now. If you ask me which are the most interesting groups I would say: A, B and of course, the group of death, F. Madrid had to dance with the champion of Italy, Napoli and two second hand clubs; the current champion had an incredibly easy key, City's group does not make sense how accessible it is; be careful with Barcelona, playing against Shakhtar we already know that it is not so easy and Porto is a very tough and experienced team and well Inter and Benfica will have no problems to get to the round of 16.
What about group A? - While it is true that Copenhagen, Bayern, ManU and Galatasaray are clubs, keeping distances, where playing at home is one of the most complicated things there is. The Turkish hell, the Sami Yen, Galatasaray's stadium, is one of the most hostile places to play because of the fans they have and they are not dead footballers either. I think Bayern is the favorite, little by little they have been getting in tune with Harry Kane and Manchester United who started the season a bit regular. The thing is that playing in the Champions League is something totally different from the leagues of each country, there are clubs that are cup players and others that are league players, proof of this could be United.
Group B and even E I would say are the most evenly matched. Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV and Lens from France. Champions of the Europa League and the other three second places in their respective leagues, if that is not parity I don't know what is. The truth is that any team could go through but I'm going to go for Arsenal and PSV, I don't know why I've never had faith in Sevilla in the Champions League. While in E we have Feyenoord, champion of the Eredivisie, Lazio who finished second in Calcio, Celtic, Scottish champion and Cholo's Atletico who will always be a stone in the shoe. Here I am going with Atletico but with the second I have doubts because the start of both Feyenoord and Lazio is not being very good, we will bet on those from the Netherlands.
And well, we come to the dreaded Group F. PSG, Dortmund, Milan and Newcastle. I don't even know where to start. For those who read me know that I have no special esteem for PSG, I don't like them, I don't consider them a big club with history or roots, that's why I think this is the opportunity to shut my mouth, I think it's the perfect opportunity to show how "big" they are and make it through the round. Personally I think they are not going to qualify no matter how much Mbappe they have, their transfer market has been very different from what they are used to, they did not look for world class names but for more medium profile players and with that they will try to do something in Europe, to pay off that debt they have.
Milan is the leader of Serie A, it is a team with a lot of weight in Europe, last season they had ups and downs but even so their participation in the Champions League was more than worthy. Dortmund is one of those clubs that are headaches, they have a good squad and above all a good coach, Edin Terzić, the German has been able to lead and maintain this club at the top. And well we have Newcastle after almost 20 years without being in the Champions League, a club completely rebuilt in the last two seasons and that comes with the illusion of making a decent role. How difficult it is to choose but I think I will go with Milan and Dortmund. Maybe the English will pull off a shock and sneak through, I hope so, but I see the Italians and Germans going through. PSG will always be a doubt, that's why I have zero confidence in them.
In general the favorites will always be the same, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern, I expect Arsenal to make a very good Champions League, it is one of the things I want most, Inter may repeat the feat and advance more than expected and well Barcelona, I do not know why but I am not very clear with them, they are having a hard time winning in La Liga despite having a decent squad. A common denominator is injuries, ALL clubs are suffering from them and have important prolonged absences. We will have to see how they deal with this issue because, although not much is said about it, it could be a determining factor when it comes to knowing how to handle the absurd amount of matches that are coming up, including FIFA breaks. I hope it will be a quality Champions League, I think there are teams for that, but above all I see and feel that it will be a very balanced and even edition.
¡Un abrazo a todos, nos leemos en la próxima!
Well my people that's all for today, I hope you liked it.
¡Hugs to all, see you next time!