UEFA Champions League preview

UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is about to begin this week, and based on the group draw of last month, it’s not looking too bad for Italian clubs. Here’s an in-detail analysis for the Serie A teams.

Group A


Group B


Group C


Group D



Schalke 04


Real Madrid
Werder Brem.










Group E


Group F


Group G


Group H



Man Utd
Sporting Lisb.
Dynamo Kiev


CSKA Moscow


Steaua Buch.
Slavia Prag.


The Rossoneri have little to complain about the luck of the draw: the most dangerous opponent should be Portuguese club Benfica, under the guidance of manager Antonio Camacho (who used to coach Spain for the 1998-2002 period). Benfica’s iconic player is without a doubt Manuel Rui Costa (an ‘old friend’ and ex-teammate of the Rossoneri), a player who’s had mixed success at the Milan club.

Also in the group: Scotland’s Celtic FC, a team which the Rossoneri already faced last year in the round of 16 stage of the competition. Their double-header against the Glasgow club was the first step of Milan’s glorious march towards the European title, so will they be in for a repeat this year? While not being loaden with excess technical quality, the Scots’ strongest point will without a doubt be their determination, as coming out unscathed from Celtic Park is never an easy venture. In addition, Gordon Strachan‘s men can count on the added quality of ex-Milan midfielder Massimo Donati (in great form for Hoops so far), on the quest of making his old club regret not giving him a chance in the first team.

Finally, the last member of the group will be Ukrainian vice-champions Shakhtar Donetsk, who also count another Italian amongst their ranks (ex-Livorno striker Cristiano Lucarelli). All these Italian cross-over clashes will be interesting to follow.


The Serie A champions find themselves in group G, and will be facing Holland champions PSV Eindhoven, Russia’s CSKA Moscow, and Turkish club Fenerbahçe. The latter having recently just signed offensive wing-back Roberto Carlos (closing his career at Real Madrid after 10 seasons in Spain), it will be interesting to see the Brazilian face one of his old clubs, especially after Inter boss Massimo Moratti decided he wasn’t worth betting on in the 1996 season.

“It’s an hard group, like always” said Inter coach Roberto Mancini after the draw. “All the teams at this level of competition are important clubs, and difficult to play against. These are traditional teams which represent football schools who have always done well in Europe, so we will have to be on our guard”.


Group F’s draw gives Roma the immediate possibility of avenging their incredible 1-7 defeat to Manchester United last year. The Old Trafford game was an astonishing loss for the Giallorossi and very hard to swallow for both players and fans, but it should also have been a valuable lesson for Totti & Co. who will surely not make the same mistakes again. The return to the Theatre of Dreams is set for October 2nd, and given Sir Alex Ferguson‘s team current form, it’s not excluded that the Giallorossi might have a shot to an early upset.

Also in the group, Dynamo Kiev (Ukrainian league champions) and Sporting Lisbon (2nd in the Portuguese Superliga last year). Roma’s last clash with the Ukrainian team dates back to September 15th 2004, and brings back sour memories (retired referee’s Anders Frisk was hit by a coin thrown from the stands at the Stadio Olimpico). UEFA gave a 3-0 default win to Dynamo after that incident, which then went on to win the return leg as well, on a score of 2-0 in Kiev. Out of the 4 Italian clubs, Roma have perhaps the hardest task.


After their Bucharest exploit, Lazio found themselves catapulted into Champions’ League paradise. This will not be an easy task however, because group C includes Liga champions Real Madrid and Bundesliga 3rd-ranked team Werder Bremen. The Germans have lost striker Miroslav Klose to Bayern this summer, which makes them appear a lot less dangerous. They should not be underestimated however, much like the Madrid giants who have considerably strengthened their squad since last year (and are topping La Liga with full points after 3 games). The previous clash of the Spanish club with Lazio dates back to the 2000-01 season, a two-legged set which ended 3-2 in Madrid and 2-2 in Rome.

The last group member Greek champions Olympiakos, is probably the least dangerous opponent of the Biancocelesti, also because they just lost playmaker Rivaldo (old, but still alive and kickin’) to AEK Athens.


As you can see from the following Gazzetta dello Sport first page, the Italian press was quite optimistic after the draw. We will see what the future holds for the Serie A clubs very soon.

Just a small word on the other groups: in terms of spectacle, games to look out for are Liverpool-Porto, Chelsea-Valencia, Barcelona-Lyon, and Arsenal-Sevilla. It’s going to be a good one this year! :mrgreen:

The Italian newspapers (Gazzetta dello Sport in this case) are optimistic about the CL draw


Posted in Inter, Lazio, Milan, Roma, UEFA Champions League |

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  • 6 Responses to “UEFA Champions League preview”

    1. Serja says:

      Milan and Inter have it easy, but the two Rome clubs are in for some trouble. Can’t wait for Roma-Man Utd, should be a fun game to watch. :lol:

    2. Chris says:

      I don’t think Inter will have so easy. They’ve litterally got three quarters of their defence out injured or suspended: Materazzi and Chivu are in the hospital, and the others still have to endure the punishment of last year’s post-game brawl with Valencia.

    3. Easy for Inter and Milan? Not as easy as your Arse-enal friends: the only competition they have is Sevilla, a real walk in the park…

    4. Serja says:

      lol I guess that’s true. The Arsenal-Sevilla opener should be a great game though

    5. That’s true Chris, I had forgotten about that fact. Plus they seem to have lost Patrick Vieira as well.

      Oh well… they’re playing on Turkish soil this week, that should be easy right? :razz: :mrgreen: I wonder if they’ll come out alive…

    6. Jake says:

      Aye, those two teams are in storming form at the moment. The Kanouté-Van Persie scoring battle should be really good to watch.