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2018-19 UEFA Champions League

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
I know it doesn't matter to all you fans of big league clubs, but for the rest of us plebes and mere mortals, the Champions League has already started. The 2nd round draw was yesterday and that round means we're now getting champions from all associations ranked from 16 down and runners up from 12 down, 24 teams total. There's a 3rd round (20 teams) and then a knock out round (12 teams) before we get to the Group draw. Fans of teams in Sweden, Scotland, the Netherlands, Greece and other smaller federations all have to endure this torture to get to the big payday of the Groups. Early season international games that mean absolutely everything for a big club in a small league's bottom line. And really only the Scandinavian teams have even started their seasons.

For my own rooting interests, Celtic easily managed stage one but drew freaking Rosenborg from Norway AGAIN for the second round. Again, the Scandy leagues have the advantage of an earlier start to the season and thus are well along in terms of fitness and training. At least Celtic didn't do anything stupid like tour the US this summer, thus screwing up the first part of training camp. Other notables in this round are Ajax (Netherlands), Malmo (Sweden), FC Basel (Switzerland), PAOK (Greece), and Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia). That's some big, big clubs WAY out in the UEFA weeds because of the effect of the disparity of TV rights money in Europe. And people wonder why Celtic and Rangers keep scheduling meetings with the English FA. When you've got the likes of Celtic, Ajax and FC Basel hacking it out for their financial lives in what would normally be the first weeks of camp ... yeah. Fun times.
 
That felt a lot more awkward than bad. I'd really need to see a different view to see where his eyes are looking, cause his movements made it look like he was looking at the ball to clear it, kicked the ball and then saw the player right in front of him and didn't really know what to do afterward as he couldn't exactly move his leg away while he was in the air.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
No matter the motive, if your move ends up with both cleats buried in a guy's midsection, you've done something ostensively bad.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The Third Qualifying Round is complete.

AEK Athens over Celtic
Red Bull Salzburg over Shkëndija (Macedonia, the lowest rank association left)
Red Star Belgrade over Spartak Trnava
BATE Borisov over Qarabag
Dinamo Zagreb over Astana
MOL Vidi over Malmö
Ajax over Standard Liège
Benfica over Fenerbahçe
Dynamo Kiev over Slavia Prague
PAOK over Spartak Moscow

The first 6 losers enter the Europa League playoff round, the others enter the Group Stage.

This is the UCL Playoff Round. Matches are the next 2 weeks.

Red Star Belgrade v. Red Bull Salzburg
BATE Borisov v. PSV Eindhoven
Young Boys v. Dinamo Zagreb
MOL Vidi v. AEK Athens
Benfica v. PAOK
Ajax v. Dynamo Kiev
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Celtic's loss could well end up signaling the beginning of the end for Brendan Rodgers at Celtic. This is the second time he's bombed out at this stage of qualifying and this is one of his strongest (and most expensive) rosters. The brass at Celtic Park are ... chilly.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
The playoffs are complete.

Red Star Belgrade over Red Bull Salzburg on away goals
PSV over BATE Borisov 6-2 on aggregate
Young Boys over Dinamo Zagreb 3-2 on aggregate
AEK Athens over MOL Vidi 3-2 on aggregate
Benfica over PAOK 5-2 on aggregate
Ajax over Dynamo Kiev 3-1 on aggregate

Here are the pots. Remember that the champions of the top 8 ranked leagues are automatically in Pot 1. This year, it’s only 6 because neither the Europa League nor Champions League winners won their league.

Pot 1: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, Man City, Lokomotiv Moscow
Pot 2: Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Man U, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica, Napoli, Spurs, Roma
Pot 3: Liverpool, Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, PSV, Valencia
Pot 4: Victoria Pilzen, Brugge, Galatasaray, Young Boys, Inter Milan, 1899 Hoffenheim, Red Star Belgrade, AEK Athens

After missing European play last year for the first time since LBJ was president, Ajax is back in the Champions League. Hoffenheim makes their first appearance in European play. They were in Germany’s 5th Division in 2000. They’re also the smallest town in the competition with a population under 5,000. They play in a stadium nearby. Lyons will play their first home match in a closed stadium due to punishment for crowd disorder and racism in last hear’s Europa League.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Group A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Brugge
Group B: Barcelona, Spurs, PSV, Inter
Group C: PSG, Napoli, Liverpool, Red Star Belgrade
Group D: Lokomotiv Moscow, Porto, Schalke, Galatasaray
Group E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
Group F: Man City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Group G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group H: Juventus, Man U, Valencia, Young Boys

I don’t think there is a group of death this year. Groups B, C and H look to be the toughest. Group D is a snooze fest. Man City probably got the easiest draw. Keep in mind that Lyon will play their first home match in an empty stadium.

Matchday 1: 9/19-20
Matchday 2: 10/2-3
Matchday 3: 10/23-24
Matchday 4: 11/6-7
Matchday 5: 11/27-28
Matchday 6: 12/11-12
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
There's a fair number of groups with three solid clubs and one dog and a few with two clear favorites. I guess that's better than 3 or 4 weak groups and 1 massively strong group just so somebody can type the most hackneyed phrase in football ... group of death. And at least Group D looks pretty competitive. Schalke is a strong third while Porto and Lokomotiv are pretty weak 1s and 2s. And SOMEBODY is going to get done at Galata. Happens every time. That's a good mix for drama if nothing else.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Teams of note in the Europa League draw.

Celtic made it through after falling out of the Champions League. They’re in Group B with Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg from Norway, whom they beat in the UCL 2nd Qualifying Round.

Arsenal are in Group E with Sporting Lisbon, Qarabag from Azerbaijan and Vorskla from Ukraine.

Chelsea are in Group L with PAOK from Greece, BATE Borisov from Belarus and MOL from Hungary.

Burnley was eliminated by Olympiacos in the Playoff Round.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Celtic made it through after falling out of the Champions League. They’re in Group B with Red Bull Salzburg, RB Leipzig and Rosenborg from Norway, whom they beat in the UCL 2nd Qualifying Round.
Brendan Rogers also turned down the heat a notch. Had Celtic bombed out of Europa League and then (potentially) lost the first Old Firm game this weekend, there was a REALLY good chance he'd have been unemployed by the middle of next week. They have largely looked like garbage in all competitions since losing out in UCL qualifying.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Group play starts today. Don’t forget that Turner Broadcasting has the US TV rights.

Tuesday:
Brugge v. Borussia Dortmund
Monaco v. Atletico Madrid
Barcelona v. PSV Eindhoven
Inter v. Spurs
Red Star Belgrade v. Napoli
Liverpool v. PSG
Galatasaray v. Lokomotiv Moscow

Wednesday:
Ajax v. AEK Athens
Benfica v. Bayern Munich
Shakhtar v. Hoffenheim
Man City v. Lyon
Real Madrid v. Roma
Viktoria Plzen v. CSKA Moscow
Valencia v. Juventus
Young Boys v. Man U
 

HNIM

Well-known member
The month of September has been pretty crappy for Spurs on all fronts. IMO having nine players into the last weekend of the World Cup was not the greatest thing for them. I don't think it's a coincidence that their best player this year was not on his country's team.

They need to get into the new stadium real bad, just to get that issue off the table. And at every international break, pretend everyone is injured and keep them at Enfield.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
World Cup years are tricky business for everybody. You HAVE to bulk up the squad following WC summers if you're in European competition. And Spurs did nothing.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Brugge 0-1 Borussia Dortmund
Monaco 1-2 Atletico Madrid
Barcelona 4-0 PSV Eindhoven. A hat trick for Messi
Inter 2-1 Spurs
Red Star Belgrade 0-0 Napoli
Liverpool 3-2 PSG
Galatasaray 3-0 Lokomotiv Moscow
Schalke 1-1 Porto
Ajax 3-0 AEK Athens
Benfica 0-2 Bayern Munich
Shakhtar 2-2 Hoffenheim
Man City 1-2 Lyon
Real Madrid 3-0 Roma
Viktoria Plzen 2-2 CSKA Moscow
Valencia 0-2 Juventus. Ronaldo picked up a straight red in the 29th minute for a hair pull but it was a very soft call
Young Boys 0-3 Man U
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Yeah, yeah ... change "did nothing" to "accomplished nothing" and we're set :0)

I feel like an Arsenal fan saying this, but it's kind of fun to gloat at Spurs' expense right now.
I don’t think I’m going to see a St. Totteringham’s day this year, but the cost escalation on the new stadium could hamper them the way the Emirates did to Arsenal. The TV money is better, and the NFL will be back next year, but $1 billion is still a big nut to swallow.
 

jeffbear

Mod Squad
Staff member
Yeah ... I read some stuff on the construction delays at WHL and it sounds like a complete breakdown in construction management. Stadium projects are tough at the best of times, but add in time pressure and things can get truly hairy ... and expensive to fix.
 

andyt

Canes Moderator
Staff member
Yeah ... I read some stuff on the construction delays at WHL and it sounds like a complete breakdown in construction management. Stadium projects are tough at the best of times, but add in time pressure and things can get truly hairy ... and expensive to fix.
They just started laying the turf today...

Matchday 2:
AEK Athens 2-3 Benfica
Bayern Munich 1-1 Ajax
Hoffenheim 1-2 Man City. David Silva with the winner in the 87th minute.
Lyon 2-2 Shakhtar. Played in an empty stadium due to UEFA sanction
CSKA Moscow 1-0 Real Madrid. Seriously. Moscow scored in the 2nd minute and made it hold up. Their keeper picked up 2 yellows at 90+6 for dissent. They had indicated 4 minutes of stoppage time and he protested the Sir Alex Ferguson-like timekeeping.
Roma 5-0 Viktoria Plsen
Juventus 3-0 Young Boys
Man U 0-0 Valencia. Dreadfully boring match
 
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