The Champions League Group Stage has been drawn: Barcelona, ManU, Real Madrid and Chelsea heavily favoured by the online bookies to become the next CL Champions !
Interesting groups with difficult tasks for some of the favourites, yet also what looks to be fairly easy groups for others, that is the result of the champions league group stage draw. Current title holders Inter face Werder Bremen, Tottenham and Twente in Group A, which should see heavy fighting for the top two spots. Barcelona as the top contender for the title should have no problems to advance from Group D against Panathinaikos, Kopenhagen and Rubin Kazan.
Things could become really interesting in Group E, which includes favourite #2 Real Madrid, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam and AJ Auxerre from France. This years runner-up Bayern Munich is favoured to take down Group E against AS Rome, Basel (Switzerland) and Romanian champions CFR Cluj.
Group B should be very difficult to call, as it includes Olympique Lyonnais, Benfica Lisbon, FC Schalke 04 and Hapoel Tel-Aviv. Manchester United clashes with Glasgow Rangers in Group C, which also includes FC Valencia and Turkish champion Bursaspor.
An interesting Group F was drawn for Chelsea with French champions Olympique de Marseille, FC Spartak Moscow and first-timer and big underdog MŠK Žilina from Slovakia. Last, but not least, it`s Arsenal in Group H against Shaktar Donetzk, Portugals SC Braga and Partizan Belgrade.
Odds on the first group stage fixtures on September 14 and 15 are already available from your favourite online football bookmakers like Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill or SportingBet. Longterm odds on the next Champions League winner are also already active.
The final Champions League clash is getting nearer and nearer. On May 27, Manchester United will try to achieve what hasn`t been done so far in the “new” Champions League era, that is to defend the title. 3 teams have so far reached the final 1 year after winning the Champions League, but so far all three have lost (*).
Currently, there is no real betting favorite in this matchup as Manchester and Barcelona are offered around 13/8 odds on the win in regulation. A draw after 90 minutes stands at about 11/5 at the moment. Here are the current odds on Barcelona vs. ManU from select bookmakers:
BET365: UK odds: 13/8 – 23/10 – 13/8 ___ decimal: 2.63 – 3.30 – 2.63
LADBROKES: UK odds: 11/8 – 11/5 – 8/5 ___ decimal: 2.38 – 3.20 – 2.60
UNIBET: UK odds: 17/10 – 11/5 – 17/10 ___ decimal:2.70 – 3.20 -2.70
Manchester United and FC Barcelona have had nine official matches so far, with three wins for ManU, two for Barça and four draws. Here are the results from those previous encounters:
1984 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup quarterfinal:
Barcelona – Manchester United 2:0
Manchester United – Barcelona 3:0 –> United won 3-2 on aggregate
1991 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup final:
Barcelona – Manchester United 1:2
1995 Champions League group stage:
Manchester United – Barcelona 2:2
Barcelona – Manchester United 4:0 –> Barcelona advanced, ManU was out
1999 UEFA Champions League group stage:
Manchester United – Barcelona 3:3
Barcelona – Manchester United 3:3 –> ManU advanced, Barcelona was eliminated
2008 Champions League semifinal:
Barcelona – Manchester United 0:0
Manchester United – Barcelona 1:0 –> United won 1-0 on aggregate
AC Milan won in 1994 (4:0 against Barcelona), lost in 1995 (0:1 against Ajax Amsterdam)
Ajax Amsterdam won in 1995 (1:0 over Milan), lost in 1996 (2:4 against Juventus – penalty shootout)
Juventus won in 1996 (4:2 over Ajax), but lost in 1997 to Borussia Dortmund with 1:3