Champions League

CL draw appears wide open

2014-08-27 16:00
Real Madrid (Getty Images)

Monaco - Real Madrid's Champions League title defence takes shape Thursday at one of the most open draws in years.

Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea - the past four winners - are among the eight top-seeded clubs in the 32-team draw.

However, lower-ranked seeding pots loaded with big spenders returning to the Champions League after years away promise to deliver trickier than usual groups.

Five-time winner Liverpool will make its first appearance since 2009 in Pot 3, decided by rankings over five years of UEFA competition results.

Manchester City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain - champions of England, Italy and France - are in a strong Pot 2, which also includes 2013 finalist Borussia Dortmund.

Former finalists Monaco and Roma are the glamour options sharing Pot 4 with BATE Borisov and Maribor.

The four-team groups, which kick off 16 September, cannot include two teams from the same country.

Madrid could start its quest for a record-extending 11th European title in a blockbuster group with PSG, Liverpool and Roma.

Still, no team will beat the defending champions for star power.

Madrid rode its forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to the title last season, and now has added World Cup stars James Rodriguez of Colombia and Toni Kroos of Germany.

Barcelona countered buying Luis Suarez from Liverpool to join Lionel Messi and Neymar in a forward line of South American superstars.

Suarez will miss three Champions League matches while serving his four-month FIFA ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, though a reunion with the Juventus player is possible later in the group stage.

Bayern, the 2013 winner, is among only three national champions in the top-seeded ranks, along with Atletico Madrid and Benfica.

Benfica and FC Porto give Portugal two top-seeded teams despite combining for only one Champions League quarter-final appearance in the past five years. Both added ranking points from good Europa League runs.

Arsenal can clinch the final place in Pot 1 by beating Turkish club Besiktas in one of five playoffs. Schalke is next line to be top-seeded.

Steaua Bucharest can also advance, possibly making it 11 former European champions in a draw which counts Manchester United and AC Milan as notable absentees.

Man City and PSG are still building their Champions League pedigree and rankings after spending heavily to catch more established rivals.

As a result, UEFA punished both for breaching Financial Fair Play rules by limiting their squad quota of senior players to 21 instead of 25.

 Zenit St. Petersburg, also in Pot 2, is limited to 22 senior players.

Another UEFA order means Ukrainian and Russian teams cannot play each other for security reasons.

That will separate Shakhtar Donetsk in Pot 2 from CSKA Moscow in Pot 3.

Shakhtar, whose expensive stadium has been damaged in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, must also play its home matches in the western city of Lviv.

The 32 teams will share nearly €1 billion in UEFA prize money.

UEFA pays a basic €8.6 million fee for entering the group, plus €1 million per win and €500 000  per draw.
Teams also get a share of television rights money.

The final will be played at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on 6 June - the latest date since the first European Cup final on 13 June 1956.

Read more on:    uefa  |  champions league  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Basel v Manchester City, TBA 21:45
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Real Madrid v PSG, TBA 21:45
Porto v Liverpool, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Chelsea v Barcelona, TBA 21:45
Bayern Munchen v Besiktas, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma, TBA 21:45
Sevilla v Manchester United, TBA 21:45
Tuesday, 06 March 2018
PSG v Real Madrid, TBA 21:45
Liverpool v Porto, TBA 21:45
Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Manchester City v Basel, TBA 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus, TBA 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.