It’s the Champions League 10/11 group stage draw!
A dejected looking man hopelessly searches for Young Boys’ balls
If you didn’t already know, the Champions League group stage draw is this afternoon, and the whole of football seems to have ground to a fucking halt today in anticipation.
After many unnecessary video montages and boring speeches, the balls will be drawn/pre-arranged groups will be made public (delete as applicable, depending on how partial you are to conspiracy theory) at 5pm GMT, and everyone will clap or go ‘Oooooh!’ or ‘Ssss!’ as the Group of Death inevitably comes to fruition.
Nothing funny or exciting like this will happen.
And we’re off! The Spoiler is going to attempt to sort of liveblog this, so if you want to have a laugh at things going horrifically wrong for us, it’s after the jump.
Champions League 2010/11 groups
Group A: Inter Milan, Werder Bremen, Tottenham, FC Twente
Group B: Lyon, Benfica, Schalke, Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Group C: Manchester United, Valencia, Rangers, Bursaspor
Group D: Barcelona, Panathinaikos, Copenhagen, Rubin Kazan
Group E: Bayern Munich, Roma, Basel, CFR Cluj
Group F: Chelsea, Marseille, Spartak Moscow, Zilina
Group G: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Ajax, Auxerre
Group H: Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Partizan Belgrade
The draw, as it happened:
5.00pm: Things kick off with Central European precision, at 5 on the dot. The two presenters, Melanie Winiger and Pedro something, take us straight into our first montage, backed by some rubbish soft rock
5.05pm: Awards time, as voted for by managers who reached the last 16. Club Goalkeeper of the Year is up first, presented by Andoni Zubizarreta. Nominees are Julio Cesar, Hugo Lloris, Victor Valdes. A rather underwhelmed Julio is crowned king of all goalkeepers.
5.11pm: Two Wafer suits take to the stage (one of them being the guy in the pic above), along with Gary Lineker, who is trying to convince everyone New Wembley isn’t a disastrous letdown.
5.13pm: Gianni Infantino (again, the guy up there), who looks very much like a baby, is reading rather badly from an autocue. He fires off a warning to any teams thinking of match fixing this season. On seeing he now has to reel off a novella’s worth of Champions League rules, he looks utterly defeated.
5.16pm: The draw is starting. Julio Cesar takes the first ball out of Pot 1. It’s Manchester United. Gary picks a ball that puts them in Group C.
5.18pm: Next team, Barch-e-lona. They’re going into Group D.
5.19pm: AC Milan head Group G, Bayern Munich will rule over Group… “Gary, shuffle very good, uh?”… E. Next, Lyon are put into Group B.
5.21pm: Julio picks… Inter. They have to go to Group A. Arsenal are going into Group… (Gary seems to be drawing too fast for Gianni’s liking)… H. Chelsea are bowling into Group F. Pot 1 is empty!
5.24pm: Must admit, I wasn’t listening when they explained who the guy who is about to present Defender of the Year is. Andreas someone. Lucio, Maicon, Pique up for the award. A dapper looking Maicon comes to collect. Everyone on stage whispers to each other suspiciously. FIX!
5.27pm: Resume the draw! Pot 2. Maicon’s official title now appears to be Best Defender. Presenter Pedro says ‘show us what you can do with your hands’, Maicon duly fumbles around for 5 minutes trying to open the chosen ball for Valencia. Who are into Group C.
Real Madrid CF swagger into Group G. Gary reveals the balls are hot, thereby confirming it’s all staged. A dark day for football. Roma are going into Group E.
5.31pm: Benfica, Group B. A nervous Maicon pulls out Shaktar Donetsk, a smug looking Gary Lineker pulls out a Group H ball. Gianni won’t shut the fuck up. Panathinakos are plate-smashing their way into Group D. Gianni says they’ll have to travel to Barcelona, ‘have a safe trip’. Then realises the negative allusion and tries to talk himself out of a hole. That’s where talking non-stop will get you. Marseille, Group F, with Chelsea. Werder Bremen => Group A, Pot over.
5.36pm: Gianfranco Zola comes out to award Midfielder of the Year. Pedro talks over Melanie. Xavi, Robben, Sneijder are destined for greatness. Sneijder is the chosen one!
5.38pm: A gratuitous shot of WAG Yolanthe Sneijder. She’s blinding, well played Wes. Back to the draw.
5.39pm: Wesley picks Rangers and they’ll be in Group C… with Man Utd! And Valencia. FC Copenhagen will be residing in Group D this winter. Barca and Panathinakos will be their roommates. Spurs appear! Into Group A with Inter and Werder. Rock hard that group. Spartak Moscow into Group F. Basel into Group E.
5.44pm: Wesley clears his throat. Oh no wait, he said Braga. They get sent to Group H with Arsenal. Ajax, winners in 71, 72, 73 and 95, they have to go into Group G. A ripple of excitement runs through the crowd. Schalke go into Group B. Pot 3 is barren.
5.47pm: Babyfaced Assassin Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appears on stage. The clearly excited cameraman throws a wobbly. Club Forward of the Year! Messi. Milito. Rooney. Milito wins! Milito wins! Clean sweep for Inter. Shots of him celebrating/owning last year’s final.
5.50pm: Diego thanks friends, family, all of Europe. I wonder where Pedro is from. He has the sort of weird ‘everynation’ accent you’d expect from these proceedings. The draw is back on, Diego has to pick the ‘shit’ teams. Cluj come out first. Group E. A rather tame group, all things considered.
New boys Bursaspor are married to Group C. I think the correct term is ‘Baptism of Fire.’ Saucy French side Auxxxerre in Group G. Animated room, tasty group.
5.55pm: Gianni patronises Gary. Rubin Kazan. Group D. Someone in the crowd can’t contain their excitement. MSK Zilina from Slovakia, will slot into Group F. Hapoel tel Aviv, also first timers in Group B with Lyon, Benfica and Schalke.
FC Twente are out last and they steam into Group A. Spurs are taking a hell of a beating here. Gianni threatens to start from scratch, laughs, gets death stares from the crowd in response. FC Partizan into Group H.