The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League group stage draw was made on Thursday, 1st of October 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland. There were some mouthwatering ties as Barcelona lock horns with Juventus in group G, defending champions Bayern Munich face Athletico Madrid in A, PSG, RB Leipzig, and Manchester United will battle for supremacy in group H, Europa League winners Sevilla face Chelsea in group E among other exciting ties.
In this article, TOP SOCCER BLOG looks at the winners and losers from the draw.
WINNERS: GUARDIOLA AND MAN CITY
The ultimate dream of Manchester City owners is to win Europe’s most coveted trophy, which has eluded them since they bought the club in 2008. Pep Guardiola was brought in to achieve this dream but has failed to do so in the last three seasons. Now in his fourth (and perhaps last) season, he will be desperate to clinch the trophy. City and Guardiorla’s task has been aided with a relatively simple group that consists of FC Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille.
LOSERS: MAN UNITED AND SOLSKJAER
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United have been frustrated in the transfer window so far, as they haven’t been able to land their targets. United will be competing in the UEFA Champions League this season after finishing 3rd in the Premier League last term, but they have been handed a very tough group — which is the “group of death” — that consists of PSG and RB Leipzig — who both reached the semifinals last season!
Solskjaer now has to persuade the board to get bring in the needed reinforcements to boost his team’s chances of navigating through this group.
WINNERS: KOEMAN AND BARCA
Ronald Koeman’s dream of managing Barcelona got off to the worst possible start with numerous off-field problems, with the biggest one being Lionel Messi’s transfer request to leave the club. The club eventually managed to keep hold of their best player — a great coup! Koeman has done a great job in re-integrating and revitalizing the squad and will be pleased with the Champions League group stage draw, which pairs the Blaugranas against Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv, and Ferencvaros. Clashes against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juve promises to be blockbusting, but the other two teams pose little threat to Koeman and Barca’s chances of scaling to the next round.
Ajax reached the semifinals in 2019 with an exciting group of players, but most of those players have moved on to bigger things (Frankie de Jong, Mattijs de Ligt, Donny Van de Beek, Hakim Ziyech, etc). No longer boasting the services of such players in their ranks, Ajax have been drawn in a group that also includes world champions Liverpool and last season surprise packages Atalanta.
WINNERS: CHELSEA & FRANK LAMPARD
Chelsea have spent more than £200m in the current transfer window to support their young manager Frank Lampard, with the objective of making the Blues a major force to reckon with in European football. Lampard will be pleased with the group stage draw as Chelsea, despite finishing fourth in the league last season, managed to avoid the big guns. They have been paired together with Sevilla and two newcomers in Rennes and Krasnodar. Lampard and his team will be fully optimistic of going beyond the group stage.
Three teams will be competing in the Champions League this season for the first time in their history; Rennes, Krasnodar, and Istanbul Baseksehir. Their chances of reaching the next round of the competition are very low as both Rennes and Krasnodar have been drawn in group E alongside giants Sevilla and Chelsea while Basaksehir find themselves in the “group of death” that consists of Manchester United, PSG, and RB Leipzig!
Fans will be excited about the forthcoming clashes in the Champions League, but they are most thrilled by UEFA’s decision to allow fans back into the stadiums for Champions league, Europa League, and International matches. But only fans of home teams will be allowed as away fans are not permitted to enter, and the stadiums will be filled to just a maximum of 30 percent capacity.
WINNERS: TEAMS IN GROUP F
Lazio, Zenith St Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, and Club Brugge have all been paired together in group F. They will all be relieved to have avoided any of the heavyweights and will all fancy their chances of getting to the next round.
2020/21 Champions League group stage Draws
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