Saturday, September 1, 2007

Jeebus Comments On The UEFA Champions League Group Draw

As has been well documented here, I have been getting into European Club Soccer a bit these days. Well the ultimate goal of any European Club Team is to win the UEFA Champions League Title. Well yesterday they annonced the groups foursomes for the next round in the tourney. Since I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on it myself I though I would bring in my good pal, and one of my football tutors (along with the guys at the Soccer Forum) Jeebus from The Beaner Blog to give his opinions on the matter. So here is my Question Jeebus:

Editor: As well as your opinions of who looks strong to advance overall, how do you think the Teams we root for (Chelsea FC from the Premiership for you, Celtic FC from the SPL for me) will fair in the group stage?

Jeebus: Well Tom, looking at the the groups, its clear that Chelsea shouldn't have a hard time advancing from their group. Valencia and Schalke 04 come from the Spanish and German Leagues, respectively, and either one of those two can take the second spot to advance to the round stages. Rosenborg, a Norwegian football team, won there league title but are most likely going to end up as the bottom feeders in this group.

The group that I'm worried about is Group E, which I call "The Group of Death". Which features Barcelona, the team I am still taking to win this group but it will have it's hands full with the other competition. Others include, Olympique Lyonnais a.k.a. Lyon for short which has won the French Division 1 Title the past 7 years!!! Stuttgart, the winner of the German Bundesliga and Glasgow Rangers, runners up in the Scottish Premier League, 2nd to Celtic...heh. (editor's note: w00t!!)

As far as the other teams that I have advancing go, I really believe that either Barcelona or Chelsea can take the Championship but with some hard trouble.

Lyon is always a favorite to go deep into the tourney, with key players and thier high chemistry.
Arsenal, a team from the English Premier League, have Tomáš Rosický and Denílson to name a few comtributors.

And you can never count out Real Madrid, the team with a star studded line up that can take on any national team. But the lack of chemistry can come back to haunt them like the previous seasons.

As for my dark horse for the tourney, any Italian League Team, considering an Italian team has been in 3 of the past 5 Finals. (editors note: AC Milan is the current champ, I believe.)

And my opinion on Celtic is this, they have a great chance of advancing from Group D, if they can BEAT Benifca. A.C. Milan will be the group leader which means the last spot will be up for grabs. Benfica is a very good offensive team that will not stop from attacking and Shakhtar Donetsk, um.....maybe next year?... :D.

The following is how I think the groups will play out...

*UEFA Champions Cup (or, advancing out of the group into the next stage. . .)
**UEFA Cup
(which is a secondary tournament, where the winner gets a berth in next years Champions League. . .)

Group A

Group B
*Schalke 04

Group C
Real Madrid
Werder Bremen

Group D
*AC Milan
Shakhtar Donetsk

Group E

Group F
*Manchester United
**Sporting Lisbon
Dynamo Kiev

Group G
*Inter Milan
*PSV Eindhoven
**CSKA Moscow

Group H...I will wait for the winner of the Sevilla/AEK Athens game until making a prediction.
Sevilla/AEK Athens
Steau Bucharest
Slavia Prague

Editor: So 10/24/2007, UEFA Champions League: Celtic @ Benfica, is an important date for fans of Celtic to circle on the Calendar?

Right on Tom.

Hopefully Celtic can pull off the win...but a first game tie won't be too bad.

Well thank you very much Jeebus, and I look forward to more of your insight as I try to learn about this fine sport!


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