Fixtures point to exciting Soccer at UEFA

Matthew D’Souza 

The draw for the 2017-2018 group stage of the UEFA Champions League held in Switzerland on August 24, 2017 using the old format for the last time has shown some exciting results.

The Teams

This season will feature four teams from Spain- Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and reigning champions Real Madrid.

England has five teams- Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea (last season’s League winner) and Manchester United (UEFA Europa League Winner).

The League features three teams from Germany- Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and League newcomers RB Leipzig.

Three teams from the Italy will also feature in the League, including last season’s UCL runner up Juventus, AS Roma and Napoli who dominated OGC Nice to qualify for the group stages.

The Groups

Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel and CSKA Moskva

Group B: Bayern Munich, PSG, Anderlecht and Celtic

Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, AS Roma and Qarabag

Group D: Juventus, FC Barcelona, Olympiacos and Sporting CP

Group E: Spartak Moskva, Sevilla, Liverpool and Maribor

Group F: Shakthar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli and Feyenood

Group G: AS Monaco, Porto, Besiktas and newcomers RB Leipzig

Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham Hotspur and APOEL

The ‘Group of Death’

Group H, which can be identified as the ‘Group of Death,’ with reigning UCL winners and La Liga champions Real Madrid, Premier League runners up Tottenham Hotspur, top Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund and Cypriot champions APOEL all set to lock horns. Group G is another one to watch with four very capable teams in French champions AS Monaco, Turkish champions Besiktas, Bundesliga Runners Up RB Leipzig and Portuguese Primavera runners up Porto. Group C is also competitive with Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma and Qarabag.

Teams to Watch

Teams to watch this season are PSG, who have just spent over 200 million on signing Neymar and are in talks to sign French ‘wonder-kid Kylian Mbappe leaving football fans asking, “Where are UEFA’s financial fair play regulations?’

Another team to watch will be Real Madrid, who have won the last two champions league titles and seem to have an unbeatable squad on paper.

Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United are back in the Champions League after a long hiatus and their fans will have high expectations of them. Last season’s runners up Juventus will be without key defender Leonardo Bonucci which could impact their success this competition as they have focussed more on building their attack rather than defence.

Fans will not know what to expect from Barcelona as the famous attacking trio of MSN is now in the past with Neymar moving to PSG.

So, the question that is asked the world over is, “How will Barca go about finding a replacement for him?” especially since Barca has already €60 million offer for Lorenzo Insigne, rejected by Napoli.

We can expect exciting Soccer, especially since the teams are able to sign new players as the Transfer Window is still open.

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