Skip menu

Main menu

Content menu

Top of page


Link to related content


18.09.2007 11:57

Starting out on the road to Moscow

Jaume Canut

It is all systems go for the 2007-08 Champions League campaign as the top 32 clubs in Europe kick off the first round of group games as they start on the long road to the final in Moscow next spring.

Today and tomorrow see the opening games in this year's competition as groups A to D play on Tuesday and then the teams in groups E to H play on Wednesday. AC Milan are aiming to become the first team since the event changed its name and format to retain the trophy. They were the last club to lift the European Cup on two successive occasions and, having beaten Liverpool in Athens last season, have already stated their desire to win it again.

The 32 teams are divided up into eight groups of four teams, with the top two progressing to the first knockout phase. Those 16 clubs will then battle through the automatic elimination rounds until two of them reach Moscow for a date in the final on May 21.

Tough draw

After the draw in Monaco recently, four main groups stood out from the rest and were considered to the hardest to qualify from and the most difficult to predict.

Chelsea, Valencia, Schalke 04 and Rosenborgs

lampardchelsea.jpgA clear example of this is Group B. Chelsea, Valencia, Schalke 04 and Roseborgs will all fancy their chances of earning a top two place. The Blues are one of the favourites to win the whole tournament, but they will not have it easy as Schalke finished as Bundesliga runners-up last term and are looking strong again already this season. Valencia may not have made the best start to their Spanish league campaign, but they could click into gear at any time, while Rosenborgs are always unpredictable.

Barça, Lyon, Stuttgart and Rangers

juninho_lyon.jpgBarça also do not have it easy in Group E where they have to face Olympique Lyonnais, VfB Stuttgart and Rangers. All four clubs have a strong European history, while Lyon and Stuttgart are the current champions of France and Germany respectively, while Rangers are currently in first place in the Scottish Premier League. All three of the Blaugrana's opponents are also strong at home.

Manchester United, Roma, Sporting and Dinamo

Cristiano_Ronaldo.jpgGroup F has thrown together four tough sides as Manchester United, AS Roma, Sporting and Dinamo Kyiv will all be vying for a qualifying place. Roma are currently first in Serie A, while Manchester United are defending their Premiership crown, which they won at the end of last term. Sporting and Dinamo will also provide strong opposition and and a trip to Ukraine will not be one that any of the other sides will be relishing.

Madrid, Lazio, Werder Bremen and Olympiacos

diego.jpgReal Madrid have not been handed an easy passage into the knockout phase as Lazio, Werder Bremen and Olympiacos will all be looking forward to defeating the reigning Spanish league champions. Werder have not had a strong start in the Bundesliga but are capable of beating any of the other sides in the group, while Lazio are strong this term and Olympiacos are always difficult to play on their own ground.

First night of action

On Tuesday, September 18, the first group games will all take place at 20:45, with the following teams playing:

- Porto - Liverpool (Group A)
- Marseille - Besiktas (Group A)
- Chelsea - Ronsenborgs (Group B)
- Schalke 04 - Valencia (Group B)
- Real Madrid - Werder Bremen (Grupo C)
- Olympiacos - Lazio (Group C)
- Milan - Benfica (Group D)
- Shakhtar - Celtic (Group D)
Starting out on the road to Moscow
A busy summer
This season's Champions League is one of the most spectacular and interesting in recent times as many of Europe's top clubs have bought and sold players to strengthen their squads. One example is Liverpool as Rafa Benítez paid big money for Fernando Torres as well as bringing in Benayoun, Babel, Voronin, Itandje and Leiva. Arsenal lost Thierry Henry over the summer, but went out and signed Brazilian-born Croatian internationla Eduardo da Silva from Dinamo Zagreb, for whom he scored 35 goals last term. Manchester United were also busy over the summer as they splashed out on Nani from Sporting, Andersson from Porto and Carlos Tevez from West Ham United. Then there is Chelsea who have brought in Pizarro from Bayern, Malouda from Lyon, Sidwell from Reading and Alex from PSV. One surprise has been the exclusion of Michael Ballack from the Blues' Champions League squad.

In Italy, the team of the moment, AS Roma, picked up Giuly, Cicinho and Juan during the summer as well as having De Rossi and Aquilani. Inter won the league at a canter last time out and have brought in David Suazo from Cagliari and Cristian Chivu from Roma, while Milan have captured Alexandre Pato to bolster their ranks.

Top of page

Back to top

Related content

Football News

Back to top
Top of page