Champions League Draw: luck of the draw for Bayern, heavy task for Dortmund

On the 30.08.2012, at the Grimaldi Forum, Monte Carlo was to take the much-anticipated draw for the Championship League group stage. As last year’s finalist, Bayern was once again among the eight best teams in Europe, and was quite secure in the coveted first place in Lostopf.

This made clear from the very outset that the record champions would get into a viable group, without all the great adversaries. The bets are still not necessarily set. At the end, the Munichers from Valencia, Bate Borisov and OSC Lille was randomly assigned. It could not have been any easier for Sabener road.


Only the Spaniards will have a good day and will be able to stand up to the giants. They finished third last season in the Primera Division. The FCB has good memories of Valencia; in 2001 they beat the Spaniard in the final and won the title in the premier class.

indexIn the case of Bate Borisov and the third team of the French Ligue 1, the Lille OSC, the Bavarians are the clear favorite against the champions from the White Russians. The victory in Group F will only lead them over Bayern. The Managing Director Karl Hopfner, overlooking the group, found: “It could have been difficult, no question.”

By contrast, the starting point for Borussia Dortmund was different. The German champions were drawn into the absolute death group with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Ajax. The Group D makes the name of the Champions League all glory, and sets the scene for the fight between the masters of the German, British, French and Dutch leagues.

indexFrom a sports perspective, this is a very challenging task for the Dortmund players, of course, one must not necessarily expect reaching the semi-finals phase.

The BVB representatives try not to show their terror. Mr. Watzke, managing the team, let it be known that he rather preferred to play against Manchester City, than to fly to Donetsk in the cold December. Jürgen Klopp was looking forward to the “challenge”, and the excitement over the major opponents prevailed also with the players’s mood. But secretly, they might have wished for an easier draw in Dortmund.

indexThe FC Schalke 04 had a little more luck; they will compete in Group B against Arsenal London, Olympiakos and Montpellier. The Gunners, with the German national players Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker, are not as strong as in the recent years. Montpellier are even possibly the strongest group opponents; after all, this is the club of the current French champions. Olympiacos is not to be underestimated – against the Greeks, the German teams have often looked pretty bad in the past.

As bottom line, the Schalke team has gained a real chance in a very balanced group to reach the next round. The first group game of the Champions League will take place on the 18-19th of September.

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Dortmund defending the title against Leverkusen

BVB meet Bayer Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday. Of course, the team of Klopp definitely wants to develop their incredible series of now 30 unbeaten league games, before the crowd at home.

indexAll the signs for this look good, yet the current sixth position in the chart against the current ninth only need to get a single defeat in the last ten league games.

As the reigning champion, according to the club doctor Markus Braun, the new arrival Marco Reus – who scored in the last two games against Bayer for Borussia Mönchengladbach – is likely to be highly operational, and Sven Bender will fall out definitely. Hence also, it is not the highly anticipated duel with his brother Lars Bender, who is under contract with the Leverkusen.

indexThe Werkself has currently deplored no injured players, and thus the coaching duo Sascha Lewandowski and Sami Hyypia has to end the agony of picking the choice, who can try before the expected 80,000 spectators to stop the series of BVBS.

Preliminary decision in European Championship Group B with the match Germany – Holland

Immediately prior to the European Championship firecracker Germany – Holland the suspense on both sides is almost as thick as butter. The coach Jogi Löw completely tucked his team away just before the controversial game – the media were completely excluded from the training ground.

indexGermany would defeat his “Horrendous Curse” and finally win again the second group game in one major tournament. Unlike the 2008 European Championships, and the 2010 World Cup, when they lost to Croatia and Serbia, this time one wants to avoid the tremors up to the last game against Denmark.

indexFor Holland, the situation is much more difficult – in the camp of the Oranje they need to keep their nerve. The defeat against Denmark has led the team to the brink of the abyss. If on Wednesday it comes to a second defeat by Germany, the highly prized title favorites are likely to pack their bags. It would be a sensation, if the calculated star-studded line up would have to return home earlier than expected.

In the homeland, the Bondscoach van Marwijk is already facing fierce criticism for his decision not to bring the Bundesleague top scorer Huntelaar against Denmark from the very start, which obviously meets with incomprehension. The team itself is also boiling, as midfielder van der Vaart recently complained about his reserve role.

Despite the launch failure, the Dutch are to enter the upcoming duel and are optimistic about it. A reason for hope actually are their good performances in the opener; with a better chance for recovery, they hope they would win the match with 4-1. By comparison, the DFB team made a weaker impression with their win against Portugal.

Loew asked his team to show a more offensive force on Wednesday (from 20.45 o’clock). Under no circumstances will the team align itself to the enemy: “We have to bring our game through, play our own game,” he told the press. About their plans for the game against Holland, he left the public in the dark.

The rule “Never change a winning team” obviously has no meaning for him. Some observers took this opportunity in order to speculate about the use of Miroslav Klose. The veteran had delivered the final victory over the Netherlands (3-0) with a spectacular gala performance, and could easily supplant Mario Gomez from the starting lineup.

The DFB team will have to improve significantly if they want to defeat the “first round’s curse.” The special pressure-like situation of the Dutch, will play into our hands of course. The Oranje have to attack and will inevitably provide chances for counter-attacks.