UEFA Champions League 2011/12 Group Stage Draw




UEFA Champions League 2011/12

UEFA Champions League 2011/12

The eight groups for this season’s Champions League have been drawn and the Group A will be dubbed as the Group of Death. Group A consists of debutants Manchester City, Yellow Submarine Villareal, Bayern Munich (whose Allianz Arena will host the final of this edition) and Italian newbies Napoli.

The groups are as follows:

Group A: Bayern Munich, Villareal, Manchester City, Napoli.
Group B: Inter, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor (Turkish).
Group C: Manchester United, Benfica, Basle Swiss), Otelul Galati (Romanian).
Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb (Croatian).
Group E: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk (Belgian).
Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Olympiakos (Greek), Borussia Dortmund.
Group G: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukrainian), Zenit St Petersburg (Russian), FC Apoel (Cyprus).
Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov (Belarusian), Viktoria Plzen (Czech).

Defending Champions Barcelona will have a testing two legs with Italian Champions and seven time winners AC Milan, but the two other teams of Group H are relatively easier hunting grounds for them, in the form of BATE Borisov and Viktoria Plzen.

Runners up Manchester United will play an easier group, with Benfica, Basle and Galati (an unknown team) in Group C. Arsenal, who qualified only yesterday, have been drawn in a tougher group, with German Champions Borussia Dortmund, Marseille and Olympiakos to fight with in Group F.

Last season’s winners Inter Milan have an easy pass, with French Champions Lille, CSKA Moscow and Trabzonspor forming up Group B. Real Madrid, who made it past the pre-quarters last season after many years, will be facing Lyon, Ajax and Dinamo Zagreb (Group D). Ajax and Lyon could indeed prove to be a tougher nut to crack than expected.

Chelsea, whose owner Roman Abramovich has been pining for the Champions League since the day he took over the club, are also drawn in an interesting group. Valencia, from whom Chelsea havesigned Juan Mata, Bayer Leverkusen and Genk are the other three teams in Group E.

Finally, in Group G, Europa League Champions FC Porto will face off against Zenit Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk and FC Apoel. Shakhtar have proven they are a potent team, having caused some troubles to eventual champions Barcelona in the quarter finals. They also knocked out Italian team Roma with ease in the Round of 16 stage.

The first round of the Champions League will commence on September 13, with the first four groups playing on the day. The draw also included recognising the UEFA Best player in Europe Award. No prizes for guessing, it was Lionel Messi who won the award, ahead of teammate Xavi and rival Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

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