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Champions League Special

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logo-champions-league.jpgBring On The Big Boys:

The Champions League draw is today (1800 CET, which translates to 6p Italian time or Noon here on the easter seaboard) and Roma is a two seed, meaning they'll be supposedly the second best team in their group. For anyone who doesn't know: There are four pots, or group. For each group, one team is picked from each pot and placed in the group. So there is a 1,2,3,4 seed in each group. Don't ask me how the seedings work out, because it's a highly complicated and strange system (like winning the UEFA Cup is apparently each to winning the CL - obviously, I mean duh). The schematics of the Champions League which, if Michel Platini has his way, will soon be replaced by 3 teams from each league and couple amateur sides from Southern France, because everybody needs to be represented. Anyway, this is how it works out, that is at least until G14 turns into G24 and decides to form a SupersuperLeague:

1st Seeds:
Milan (Serie A)
Internazionale (Serie A)
Real Madrid (La Liga)
Barcelona (La Liga)
Liverpool (EPL)
Chelsea (EPL)
Manchester United (EPL)
Arsenal (EPL)

2nd Seeds:
AS Roma (Heaven)
Valencia (La Liga)
Sevilla* (La Liga)
PSV Eindhoven (Dutch Eredivisie)
Benfica (Portugal)
Olympique Lyon (Ligue 1)
Werder Bremen (Bundesliga)
FC Porto (Portugal)

3rd Seeds:

Schalke 04 (Bundesliga)
Stuttgart (Bundesliga)
Celtic (Scotland)
Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
Sporting Lisbon (Portugal)
Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1)
CSKA Moscow (Russia)
Nathalie from The Facts of Life aka Lazyo (Hades)

4th Seeds:

Rangers (Scotland)
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Besiktas (Turkey)
Olympiakos (Greece)
Dinamo Kiev (Ukraine)
Fenerbahçe (Turkey)
Slavia Praha (Czechoslovakia)
Rosenborg BK (Norway)

The actual point standings here, if you're interested.

* - Sevilla is awaiting the conclusion of their game with AEK.

Dates:
Round 1: September 18/19
Round 2: October 2/3
Round 3: October 23/24
Round 4: November 6/7
Round 5: November 27/28
Round 6: December 11/12


Games:

1st Match Day: 2 v 3 & 4 v 1
2nd Match Day:1 v 2 & 3 v 4
3rd Match Day: 3 v 1 & 2 v 4
4th Match Day: 1 v 3 & 4 v 2
5th Match Day: 2 v 1 & 4 v 3
6th Match Day: 3 v 2 & 1 v 4

My Ideal 4
1 Seed: Arsenal. Considering the loss of Titi and the fact that Jens Lehmann is making Doni look like Johnny Reliable lately, it's fair to say Arsenal is the weakest of the first seeds. Backup Plan: Real Madrid. Don't know why, Schuster just doesn't convince me.

2 Seed: Roma, duh.

3 Seed: Steaua Bucharest. For some reason, I would just love to kick the shit out of somebody in the Becali family. I wonder why that is? Oh, whaddya know, cousin Becali - the most scumbaggish of them all - owns Steaua. Hmmm. Backup Plan: Sporting. Outside of Joao Moutinho and Liedson, I'm just not impressed.

4 Seed: Slavia Praha. I don't know why, I just expect them to suck. A lot. Backup Plan: Rosenborg BK. Despite my love for all things Scandinavian (especially blonde, misfiring Swedes), any team from Norway is going to blow like Alicia Silverstone's career post-Clueless. Seriously, she went from It to Not So Much in the span of a movie. She's now playing characters named "Dee Dee" in made-for-tv movies, how low can one get? Basically, she's Chivu 5 years from now (bada-boom).

Hell on Earth Draw:
1 Seed: Barcelona. The Roma backline may have improved, but that attack is just filty. Absolutely disgusting. It's fantasy football in real life.

3 Seed:
Marseille. Two words: Samir Nasri.

4 Seed: Shakhtar Donetsk, easy. Last year completely out of the picture, they have really improved their squad, and the season is still running so they're in full form. Plus, despite the hullabaloo around the acquisition of Livorno's favorite commie, they picked up the new Sheva this summer as well: Oleksandr Hladky. Last year's leading goal scorer in the UPL and already has 6 in 6 games with Donetsk this season ( not to mention 4 in 11 games with the senior Ukrainian squad) and he just turned 20 less than a week ago. Seriously, remember this name. (Yeah, I love me some Ukrainian footy action - so what?)

Prediction:

Considering the 7 week gauntlet of calcio hell upcoming, an easy draw would be more than welcome, but I have a feeling Murphy and his damn laws are going to fuck with Roma. The predicted, but hopefully not happening, four:
1: CSKA London aka Chelsea
2: Roma
3: Stuttgart
4: Besiktas

Feel free to flip out if this comes true. Discuss.