Andy Townsend's Guide to the Champions League Groups

Daily Mail (London), August 28, 2009 | Go to article overview

Andy Townsend's Guide to the Champions League Groups


Byline: ANDY TOWNSEND'S

GROUP B

MANCHESTER UNITED

Domestic champions: 18. Current league position: 4. Champions League record: W82 D43 L32. Last season: beaten finalists. Home: Old Trafford. Capacity: 76,000. Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson.

CSKA MOSCOW

Domestic champions: 3. Current league position: 4. Champions League record: W7 D7 L14. Last season: N/A. Home: Luzhniki Stadium. Capacity: 78,360. Manager: Zico.

THE DANGER: Wolfsburg are making their debut and the German champions were the team to avoid in pot four. United have the heaviest travel demands of the British clubs and must go to Moscow and Istanbul for two of their three away games.

BESIKTAS

Domestic champions: 13. Current league position: 5. Champions League record: W8 D2 L16. Last season: N/A. Home: BJK Ionu Stadium. Capacity: 32,145. Manager: Mustafa Denizili. WOLFSBURG

Domestic champions: 1. Current league position: 4. Champions League record: N/A. Last season: N/A. Home: Volkswagen Arena. Capacity: 30,000. Manager: Armin Veh.

And Zico, the great Brazilian, is coach of CSKA.

THE VERDICT: Surely United, with all their experience and nous, must win the group.

They won't miss Ronaldo that much, will they?

GROUP D

CHELSEA:

Domestic champions: 3. Current league position: 2. Champions League record: W40 D27 L16. Last season: Semifinals.

Home: Stamford Bridge. Capacity: 42,500. Manager: Carlo Ancelotti.

PORTO:

Domestic champions: 24. Current league position: 2. Champions League record: W52 D32 L39. Last season: Quarter-finals. Home: Estadio do Dragao. Capacity: 50,399. Manager: Jesualdo Ferreira.

ATLETICO MADRID:

Domestic champions: 9. Current league position: N/A. Champions League record: W7 D5 L2. Last season: Last 16. Home: Vicente Calderon. Capacity: 55,000. Manager: Abel Resino.

APOEL FC:

Domestic champions: 20. Current league position: N/A. Champions League record: W0 D2 L0. Last season: N/A. Home: Neo GSP Stadium. Capacity: 50,399. Manager: Ivan Jovanovi.

THE DANGER: Porto have great Euro know-how. They're previous winners under youknow-who, and the battle of Jose Mourinho's old clubs will be a fascinating challenge.

THE VERDICT: Battle for second between Atletico and Porto. Chelsea to ease through despite Didier Drogba's ban.

GROUP E

LIVERPOOL

Domestic champions: 18. Current league position: 10. Champions League record: W37 D23 L16. Last season: Quarter-finals. Home: Anfield. Capacity: 45,362. Manager: Rafael Benitez.

LYON

Domestic champions: 7. Current league position: 2. Champions League record: W38 D19 L21. Last season: Last 16. Home: Stade Gerland. Capacity: 41,044.

Manager: Claude Puel.

FIORENTINA

Domestic champions: 2. Current league position: 11. Champions League record: W5 D8 L5. Last season: Group stage. Home: Artemio Franchi. Capacity: 47,282. Manager: Cesare Prandelli.

DEBRECEN

Domestic champions: 4. Current league position: 8. Champions League record: N/A. Last season: N/A. Home: Olah Gabor Ut. Capacity: 10,200.

Manager: Andras Herczeg.

THE DANGER: French powerhouses Lyon look to bounce back from a rare failure to win their domestic league last season, and know their way around qualifying, while Fiorentina will be looking to improve on a shaky record, having gone out at the group stages last season.

THE VERDICT: Maximum points must be claimed at home as well as home and away against minnows Debrecen. Trouble for Rafa if Lyon or Fiorentina take points from Anfield. …

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