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Champions League Draw: Bundesliga Clubs And Their Chances Of Progression Into The Knockout Rounds


Today’s Champions League group stage draw will pit Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen and Schalke against some of Europe’s most successful clubs. Bayern will face Serie A runners-up Roma, as well as FC Basel of Switzerland and CFR Cluj of Romania. Werder Bremen will take on Champions League holders and Italian champions Inter, as well as Tottenham Hotspur and FC Twente of Holland. Schalke will tackle Olympique Lyon, Benfica and Hapoel Tel-Aviv of Israel.

Roma Legend Francesco Totti Could Pose A Huge Threat To Bayern's Backline.

Bayern Munich have been given a clear path into the first knockout round by way of the kind group they’ve been drawn in. While an away game at the Stadio Olimpico in front of 70,000 screaming ultras will be a testing tie, Bayern Munich should dispatch the rest of their opposition quite handily. FC Basel will most likely be the whipping boys of the group and finish bottom, while Cluj and Roma will battle for second place. If Cluj can use their home ground to their advantage, they may pip Roma to a second-placed finish and advance, especially if Roma are more focused on their league season. Bayern Munich’s away games won’t require too much travelling either, which will allow for consistent league results in between Champions League fixtures.

Werder Bremen’s group is an interesting one. Inter are relatively the same side that dominated Serie A and swept the Champions League under Jose Mourinho, with Wesley Sneijder, Maicon, Diego Milito and Julio Cesar being central figures in their incredible season. The team has remained intact for the most part, but Jose Mourinho has moved on. Rafa Benitez, whose last achievement was a seventh placed league finish with Liverpool last season, has taken charge of the side. While Rafa Benitez has lifted the Champions League with Liverpool as well as tasting league success in Spain with Valencia, he has had a really rough patch in the last few years. He will need to turn it around and quick. Expect Inter to top the group, despite the loss of Jose Mourinho. FC Twente should not pose too much of a threat to either Werder Bremen or Tottenham based solely on their lack of defensive stability. While they were a very solid side under now-Wolfsburg manager Steve McClaren, they should not be able to make the same kind of impact on the European stage. So it’s down to Tottenham and Werder Bremen for second spot.

Aaron Lennon's Pace Will Be A Huge Test For Werder Bremen Defenders.

Tottenham have famously broken the ‘Big Four’ of England, who have occupied the top four spots of the Premier League table for at least the last six years now, and will be hoping to make their place at the very top of the table permanent. Tottenham are a side much improved under manager Harry Redknapp, who rescued the side from certain doom after taking only two points from eight matches at the start of the season under then-manager Juande Ramos. Now, Tottenham have ousted Liverpool from the ‘Big Four’ and have improved drastically as a squad. They will definitely be up for it and will press Werder Bremen and Inter for all they have.

Werder Bremen, on the other hand, have lost star midfielder Mesut Ozil to Real Madrid this summer, but don’t look too badly at all with Marko Marin and Aaron Hunt stepping up to fill the void left by the German international. Werder Bremen have recently overcome Sampdoria in their Champions League qualifier after coming from behind to beat the Italian side 5-4 on aggregate. I’ve got to give the edge to Tottenham here, but I’d love to see Werder Bremen nip through.

Ex-Bordeaux Man Gourcuff Could Be the Difference Between Lyon And Schalke.

Schalke’s group is not at all easier. Olympique Lyon have strengthened quite well this summer, with attacking midfielder Yoann Gourcuff being the biggest addition to the squad. He could certainly be the x-factor for the club that lifts them to the top of Ligue 1 again. I can see Lyon topping the group just because of the quality of their squad. Schalke’s toughest battle here will be with Benfica, who I had the priviledge of seeing live this summer against Panathinaikos. While they have lost Argentinian winger Angel di Maria to Real Madrid and Brazilian midfielder Ramires to Chelsea, they still boast a formidable squad. Luisao, Oscar Cardozo, Fabio Coentrao, Javier Saviola, Pablo Aimar, Ruben Amorim… , and that’s just off the top of my head. They’ll be huge favourites to grab three points at home against Lyon and Schalke, such is their emphatic home support. I can’t see Schalke getting themselves out of this one, I fancy Benfica for third and Hapoel Tel-Aviv to be bottom feeders in this group.

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  1. Edwin

    August 27, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I wouldn’t write Twente off, and non big 4 English teams tend to do badly in European competitions bar a few runs in the UEFA Cup/Europa League (Fulham and Boro) so I can’t really see Tottenham living it up on the big stage. Schalke-wise, judging by the way they have performed so far I wouldn’t be surprised if they finish dead last in the group like Stuttgart and Hamburg did several years ago. their backline is terrible, midfield mediocre and forwards blunt; they are pretty mnuch heading for a semi-Hertha-self destruction after letting the club’s most consistent performers leave. Raul doesn’t fit into the system, Edu is simply not good enough, Metzelder looks like he’s going to flop, the only decent performers left are Farfan, Rakitic, Neuer and possibly Howedes. Uchida looks like he could be a decent signing though.

  2. Poldi

    August 27, 2010 at 5:53 am

    I pretty much agree with your assessment. The reaction in the German media is that Bayern and Schalke got lucky while Bremen is in a tough group. I can’t understand how anybody would call a draw with OL and Benfica lucky, didn’t OL (without Gourcuff!) reach the CL semi-final last year? Schalke will be lucky if they go through.
    Bremen is – as usual – absolutely unpredictable. As Nick said if they show up, they are great, especially on the attack. Let’s hope that Naldo gets healthy and the new Brazilian guy is more like Diego than like Carlos Alberto…
    As for Munich – Bayern-Dusel strikes again. I can see them making a deep run again this year, if Robbery stays fit.

    • TangoAlphaLima

      August 27, 2010 at 12:28 pm

      Schalke was a #3 seed, so no matter what group they were dropped in, it was going to be difficult. But they got the group with Lyon as the #1 seed, probably the easiest of the #1 seeds. At the very least, Lyon is far easier than possible #1 opponents Inter, Chelsea, Man United, or Barca. I’d call that lucky.

      Schalke’s still not likely to make it out of their group, but it could have been worse.

  3. Nick

    August 27, 2010 at 1:04 am

    Bayern has an easy group, comparing to the other big teams. If you think Basel will be last in the group, then you might wanna check again. I think they’ll challenge for 2nd. Roma has a good team like always, always a big power but I’m hoping that they don’t go through (HOPING) because of the Germany-Italy coefficient thing.

    As for Werder, it will be so EASY if they TRY to play. If you watched the first game against Sampdoria, they looked like one of best teams I’ve seen, but in Italy they weren’t even TRYING they were just walking around…so if they try, they’ll qualify, I think that they’ll win their home games, against Inter and Tottenham and Twente but I don’t see them winning away…from what I’ve seen.

    Schalke….if they don’t qualify, they should deserve to be dead last in the Bundesliga, just because they should top it, because they were second on the German Bundesliga…and they face teams much lower quality from the German teams.

    I just want to see all Italian teams not qualify….and a German final (Werder-Bayern? lol).

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