Friday, August 31, 2007

Draws, draws everywhere

The magic urns have been out in force and, on the Champions League front anyway, they proved quite benign for Italian teams - on paper at least.

As a third seed, Lazio were always likely to face a tricky group but their fate in Group C is acceptable. Real Madrid could be anything under new management but it will be against Werder Bremen and Olympiakos that their qualification chances will be decided. I think Delio Rossi would have settled for that after the heroics in the preliminary round.

For Roma, it is a chance for revenge or, at least, to set the record straight at Old Trafford. This time around though, just points at stake so even a 7-1 hammering would not compromise their progress in a group with Manchester United. Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev are two big names but whether they are up to past glories remains to be seen.

It is the same again for Milan as they land Celtic once more along with Benfica and Shakhtar Donetsk. It sets up the intriguing prospect of Cristiano Lucarelli and Massimo Donati coming back to Italy to show Serie A what it is missing. The Rossoneri must fancy their qualification chances although all their opponents will be particulary tough on their home grounds.

Finally, the fates smiled most kindly on Inter. They really have no excuses if they don't progress against PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce. Mind you, how many times have I said that before?

The UEFA Cup draw saw Fiorentina land Dutch side Groningen (certainly not the easiest team in their respective pot), Empoli make the short trip across the border to Zurich, Samp play the snappily named AaB of Denmark (I think) and Palermo land the exotic sounding Mlada Boleslav. On first impression, Empoli may have the toughest time but it is good to have four teams in there all with outstanding chances of getting to the ridiculous group stages.

6 comments:

Antonio Gurrado said...

But still I regret the days when Maradona's Napoli could draw Butragueno's Real Madrid in a two-legged first round, instead of Jeunesse d'Esch, say.

G.

BRN SCOZIA said...

Pretty boring draw for Milan.Celtic again!Not sure if its good or not but at least we dont have to travel too far for a change.Very kind to Inter but not so for Roma who must "entertain" Man U again.
UEFA Cup needs another revamp and maybe Platinis new plan will do the trick?Having said that I do think the Champs League is getting a little stale though not sure if Platinis plans for that will help much.

ginkers said...

Antonio

I find that seeding has taken away a lot of the fun of the draw. And, as I've said plenty of times before, the competition has the wrong name when so few actual champions are in it.

BRN

Sometimes teams just seem destined to land one another and there is nothing you can do to avoid it.

UEFA Cup is a monstrosity but I wont be complaining if Fiorentina can win it!

Anonymous said...

Napoli v Real Madrid in the first round was the catalyst for change.

- Juventino

Spangly Princess said...

Personally I', delighted about drawing Man Utd since we can dmeonstrate how entirely anomalous that result was! As Spalletti points out, best to play them in a goup stage than in a knock-out one. And I'm just happy to avoid liverpool.

Inter have a bit of a soft ride, there's a shock.

and yeah, this format does throw up too many predictable results.

Aussie Romanista said...

I'm happy to play ManUtd again.