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Aug 29, 2008

Barcelona's Champions League OpponentsBarcelona could not have asked for more. They along with Chelsea got the easiest groups. I would say Barcelona's group looks like the easiest of all. Barcelona is in Group C along with the likes of F C Basel, Sporting Lisbon and F C Shakhtar Donetsk. The draw looks like a cake walk for Barcelona but then we should never forget what Wisla did to us. In contrast to Barcelona, the other Spanish sides were not so lucky. Real Madrid is placed in a group which could become very tricky along with Zenit, Juventus and BATE. If Zenit and Arshavin can recreate some of the magic which made them UEFA cup champions, then that group surely is destined to see some surprise. Villareal who finished 2nd last season ahead of Barcelona also got into a messy group along with Defending champions Manchester United, Celtic and the Danish side Aalborg BK. Celtic has shown it many a time recently that they are very capable of competing against the best in Europe. Athletico Madrid is paired with Liverpool, PSV and Marseille. This is also a potential trouble some group especially considering the way Liverpool qualified. Let’s take a look at Barcelona's opponents in group stage.

F C Basel is the defending Swiss Super League champions; Their Home jersey is almost same as the present Barcelona Home jersey. F C Basel was knocked out of the Uefa Cup tie last season by Sporting Lisbon. They usually play a 4-5-1 formation and are renowned for playing a attacking style of football. That should make it easy for Barcelona. Their major players are Marco Streller, Franco Costanzo (gk), Carlos Alberto Alves Garcia commonly known as Carlitos and Ivan Ergic. Sporting Lisbon along with Benifica and Porto formed the big three of Portugal. But in contrast to Benifica and Porto, they were never that successful in Europe. They finished second to F C Porto in Portuguese League. Like Barcelona Sporting's youth academy has churned out some serious talents like Figo, Ronaldo, nani, Quaresma etc. Their squad includes the likes of Moutinho, Postiga, Vladimir Stojkovic, Fabio Rochemback, Anderson Polga etc. FC Shakhtar Donetsk is the defending Ukranian league champions. Their major players include Brandao, Darijo Srna, Vyacheslav Shevchuk and Luiz Adriano.

At least on paper we have almost got a place booked for knock-out stage. But complacency and lack of attention could be Barcelona's greatest enemy. As Laporta said "On paper it looks like a manageable group, but we have enough experience to know we need to be attentive and not over-confident. We have to respect all our rivals and work hard."

2 comments:

Starting11 said...

Hey there, I'd love your take on my post today. Don't know if you've looked at the Portuguese schedule, but all the derbies are done by Week 5.
http://startingeleven.blogspot.com/2008/08/how-do-you-spell-portuguese-soccer-m-i.html

Bibin said...

That's a good marketing techniques. Get over with all the derbies before others start, so that the world takes notice of it. Once the derby in BPL, La Liga and Serie A starts nobody will notice them. So this way they will get the maximum attention.

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