The Champions League draw: history says…Lyon!
UEFA have been playing with the crazy pots again
The good officials of the Champions League gathered around the trough in Monaco this afternoon, pausing briefly to pompously remove some plastic footballs from mixing bowls in one of their favourite little rituals.
As per, various pundits and sundry authorities were on hand to discuss the mouth-watering nature of the dance card, while those associated with the managerial side of things vowed not to underestimate anybody, as decreed by UEFA’s guidelines on how to talk to the press at times such as this.
Of the English teams, Liverpool probably feel the men in blazers could have looked harder to find them a couple of soft sides, but at least they are compensated by not having to travel to some unfamiliar spot in the east.
While United and Chelsea have doubtless already been installed as favourites, The Spoiler prefers a bit of bogus science to help predict the winner, and so we turn to a study of which groups have traditionally been the most fertile, and see that since the Champions League introduced an eight-group initial phase in 1997/98, Group F has produced by far the most finalists (six). So congratulations, Lyon, or possibly Bayern Munich. Enjoy your moment of glory while it lasts.
As for those groups which historically have more of an “of death” feel about them, Groups G and H have been particularly lax at supplying finalists, and have managed just one each in the last eleven years. So hard luck Arsenal and Real Madrid – no dreams come true for you next May. Worst group of all to find oneself in, however, is B, the only group not to have provided a single winner since 1997/8. And who has been alloted this particular bear trap? Why, our old friend Jose Mourinho of Inter Milan. Hard luck, Jose, better luck next year.
Group A: Chelsea, Roma, Bordeaux, CFA Cluj
Group B: Inter, Werder Bremen, Panathiniakos, Famagusta
Group C: Barcelona, Sporting Lisbon, Basel, Shakhtar Donetsk
Group D: Liverpool, PSV, Marseille, Atletico Madrid
Group E: Man Utd, Villarreal, Celtic, Aalborg
Group F: Lyon, Bayern Munich, Steaua Bucharest, Fiorentina
Group G: Arsenal, Porto, Fenerbahce, Dinamo Kiev
Group H: Real Madrid, Juventus, Zenit, Bate Borisov