Chelsea starts defence against Juventus

UEFA Champions League preview

Tuesday, September 18, 2012    

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THE UEFA Champions' League gets underway today so this week TEENage has decided to give you an in-depth look at the draw.

Group A includes the likes of Paris-Saint Germain, who have added multiple stars to their ranks in the form of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, and Ezequiel Lavezzi among others. Carlo Ancelotti side's main rivals should be FC Porto, who conversely have lost stars such as Hulk and Alvaro Pereira, but still boast a strong young line-up. Dinamo Zagreb and Dynamo Kiev will also be scrambling for the Group A spoils.

Group B's draw has left Arsenal in a seemingly favourable position with no decidedly 'big names' to overcome; however the Gunners will have to go through French champions Montpellier and Greek champions Olympiakos as well as German contenders Schalke.

Arsenal will have last season's French Ligue 1 top scorer Olivier Giroud, who they bought from Montpellier, in their ranks while Schalke will have last season's Bundesliga top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar up top.

AC Milan will be looking to exit Group C atop the table but should face fierce competition for Zenit St Petersburg who added the likes of Brazilian Hulk to their attacking armoury. Malaga and Anderlecht complete the group.

Meanwhile Group D is fittingly the Group of Death, but also the Group of Champions, boasting last season's Spanish, Dutch, German and English Champions.

Manchester City will face Real Madrid in the first of their titanic clashes today, while Dortmund will be looking to improve on their poor Champions League showing last season as they face fellow underperformers Ajax.

Group E is the group of the defending champions Chelsea who are favourites to advance from the group with Scudetto champions Juventus. Ukrainian outfit Shaktar Donetsk and Danes Nordsjaelland will be looking to prove themselves in Europe by pulling off unlikely upsets. Chelsea's defence of the title starts tomorrow against Juventus.

Last season's runners-up Bayern Munich will also face their first opponent tomorrow when they play Valencia in Group F.

The other fixture will be Lille against BATE Borisov. Lille, without Eden Hazard their best player for the last couple seasons, will be looking to rival Valencia for the second qualification match with Bayern expected to exit as group leaders.

Barcelona look to be in a relatively easy Group G; however Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Celtic will be looking to spoil the Catalan party.

Similarly, Galatasaray, Braga and Romanians Cluj Napoca will be aiming to spoil a seemingly easy Group H for Manchester United. With United expected to top the group, the Turkish outfit Galatasaray is being looked at to take that second qualification spot.

— Yakum Fitz-Henley



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