I know that following yesterday’s draw there are millions of fans in Sweden who can’t wait for the games to start – with so many fans logging on to the Malmo website to try and buy tickets for the home-coming of their local-boy-done-good Zlatan Ibrahimovic that it crashed the site – but I can’t help but feel that the Champions League in this format is past it’s best. It only really gets exciting in the Quarter Finals.
Fo the past few years the same teams have been making it through the Group Stages, and I don’t think the usuals of Bayern, Real, Barca, Chelsea, Arsenal, MU, etc will be worrying too much about it.
In much the same way that Euro 2016’s groups have been weakened by allowing too much dross in, the Champions League Group matches become more of a boring procession to qualification rather than a win-at-all-costs substitute for the knock-out stages.
Obviously, much of this is to do with the TV rights and money-making ability of the big clubs and UEFA, but does anyone really get excited when some minnows turn up in each group against the likes of Juve, etc? They might even scrape a draw before they head back to some rural backwater in Khazakhstan, but in the end they have little or no impact.
Group B: PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, VfL Wolfsburg
Group D: Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Monchengladbach
Group F: Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Olympiakos, Dinamo Zagreb
Group G: Chelsea, Porto, Dynamo Kiev, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
No offence, but I can’t see many fans clammering to get a ticket to Manchester United vs CSKA on a cold December Wednesday evening. And Chelsea vs Maccabi has Chelsea’s reserve team written all over it. What is the point? Who even cares?
In my eyes, it should just be a straight knock-out from the start, a la the old European Cup. Now that was a competition!
Disagree? Can’t wait to watch Benfica vs Astana or Barca vs BATE? @ftbllr