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UEFA Champions League: Final 32-team field set as group draw looms


After nearly 200 minutes of scoreless soccer, Liverpool avoided the embarrassment of being eliminated before the group stage of the UEFA Champions League thanks to a Dirk Kuyt game-winning goal that gave Liverpool a 1-0 series victory against Belgian champions Standard Liege.

Along with likely signaling Oguchi Onyewu’s farewell from Standard Liege (a transfer is a strong possibility), the result helped Liverpool reach the Champions League group stage along with Arsenal, which cruised to a 6-0 aggregate victory against Dutch club FC Twente.

The EPL powers joined 15 other teams that qualified for the group stage with series victories on Wednesday. Those teams will join 16 qualified teams to make up the 32-team field that will be divided into eight groups at a draw set for today.

Here is how the teams are dividing heading into today’s draw:

Here is a rundown of the results from this week:


Pot 1

Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Arsenal, Manchester United, Lyon, Internazionale, Real Madrid.

Pot 2

Bayern Munich, PSV Eindhoven, Villarreal, Roma, Porto, Werder Bremen, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus,

Pot 3

Marseilles, Zenit St Petersburg, Steaua Bucharest, Panathinaikos, Bordeaux, Celtic, Basle, Fenerbahce

Pot 4

Shakhtar Donetsk, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Dynamo Kiev, CFR Cluj, AaB Aalborg, Anorthosis Famagusta, BATE Borisov.

One team from each put will be put together to make up eight four-team groups. With teams like Atletico Madrid, Fiorentina and defending UEFA Cup champion Zenit St. Petersburg looming in Pots 3 and 4, we should be in for some very tough groups.

For those of you who missed it, here are the results of the qualifying round:

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE- Qualifying Round Results (aggregate scores)

  • BATE BORISOV 2, Levski Sofia 1
  • AaB 4, FBK Kaunas 0
  • SHAKhTAR DONETSK, 5, Dinamo Zagreb 1
  • ANOTHORSIS FAMAGUSTA 3, Olympiakos 1
  • STEAUA BUCHAREST 3, Galatasaray 2
  • MARSEILLE 3, SK Brann 1
  • DYNAMO KIEV 8, Spartak Moscow 2
  • ATLETICO MADRID 4, Schalke 04 1
  • FENERBAHCE 4, Partizane Belgrad 3
  • ARSENAL 6, Twente Enschede 0
  • FC BASEL 2, Guimaraes 1
  • LIVERPOOL 1, Standard Liege 0
  • FIORENTINA 2, Slavia Prague 0
  • PANATHANAIKOS 3, Sparta Prague 1
  • JUVENTUS 5, Artmedia Petrzalka 1
  • BARCELONA 4, Wisla Krakow 1

What match-ups are you hoping to see put together once the draw is done? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Having watched the game, albeit on a grainy feed through Justin TV, I’d say Onyewu was a very important reason Standard stayed in the game until the bitter end. Not only did he win almost every header, he marked Keane, Torres, and El Zahar out of the game (with the assistance of his capable partner). This wasn’t the same, tentative defender that suffered through that spring with Newcastle. Give the guy his due when he deserves it… And he deserved it last night. (Although he probably did get away with a tackle in the box, but it saved a goal and wasn’t called, so in my book that’s pretty good).

  2. he also was EXCELLENT at heading the ball away when liverpool tried the long ball to torres…he pretty much won every single header that came his way

  3. a lot of you praising onyewu must not have actually seen the game…which i dont blame you since its during the middle of the day…but the factor most responsible for torres being quiet was liverpool’s lack of ability to get him service…gerrard hardly touched the ball in dangerous positions…and the combination of kuyt keane benayoun and babel struggled to give him a dangerous pass…most of liverpools attacks ended in one of kuyt keane and babel getting dispossed…or xavi alonso turning it over on a defense splitting pass attempt…also onyewu got away with a dead certain penalty in extra time with a wild lunge he made on el-zhar…onyewu does deserve credit however for never letting torres slip out of his sight because the few times torres did get the ball in the attacking third onyewu was always somewhere close by

  4. Inter and Real Madrid made it into Pot 1 because both Milan and Sevilla with higher coefficients over the last 5 years did not qualify for the CL.

  5. “The allocation of places per association for both the UEFA Champions

    League and UEFA Cup will be made in accordance with a table of

    performances covering five UEFA club competition seasons (i.e. UEFA

    Champions League and UEFA Cup). This table (UEFA association coefficient

    rankings) is compiled annually, with the oldest season dropped each time for

    the purpose of the calculation.

    2. The table is compiled as follows:

    − a win to be worth 2 points (1 point for qualifying-round matches)

    − a draw 1 point (½ point for qualifying-round matches)

    − a defeat 0 points

    Qualifying-round results are taken into account only for the calculation of the

    association’s coefficient.

    Until the 2003/04 season, clubs which reached the quarter-finals, semi-finals

    or final of the UEFA Champions League or the quarter-finals, semi-finals or

    final of the UEFA Cup were awarded an extra point for each such round. In

    addition, one point was awarded for participation in the UEFA Champions


    As of the 2004/05 season, clubs which reach the first knockout round,

    quarter-finals, semi-finals or final of the UEFA Champions League or the

    quarter-finals, semi-finals or final of the UEFA Cup are awarded an extra

    point for each such round. In addition, three points are awarded for

    participation in the UEFA Champions League.”

    SO, it’s 5 years with some bonuses for advancing to knockout rounds,etc.

  6. Gooch was incredible last night, playing incredibly consistent and dominating football. He has matured into the beast of a defender that his talent promised. Last night’s game was a great advertisement for his services. Even if he stays with Liege, I predict they will have a deep run in the UEFA Cup and another Jupiler title, the season won’t be a total waste. It will raise demand in the European market, as the secret will finally be out. Two strong performances against Torres in the past few months only highlight his progress since failing to stick at Newcastle. I’d love to see him end up in Spain or Italy, where skillful defenders are valued highly.

  7. Yeah, Michael. My bad. I misremembered something. Thanks for catching that. I don’t remember which team I’m thinking about….time for research.

    The key point is that the seeding take into account a rather longer period of time than you would think.

  8. ESPN’s report on the Standard – Liverpool game gives Gooch props for keeping David Torres from scoring:

    “Torres then worked his way through to see a shot blocked by Onyewu, who was having a fine game in defence to keep the Spaniard relatively quiet”

    Sounds like Standard was unfortunate not to have advanced.

    This has to raise Gooch’s stock and chances of a transfer before the deadline.

  9. Mig,

    Chelsea was in Pot one last year, as were the other 3 English teams. In fact, Cheslea and Man Utd had the same UEFA Coefficent ranking for last years draw.

  10. How about the fact that Liege had three yellow cards in the game last night — none were given to Gooch. Maybe he’s learning how to avoid getting booked (finally).

  11. The pots are determined by strength of the teams. Pot 1 consists of the best 8 teams in Europe that made the group stages. If Liverpool would have lost to Leige, Bayern would have been moved to Pot 1, as they have the highest coefficent amongst the pot 2 teams. Also note, no team can be paired with another team from the same association.

  12. I imagine whatever group Atletico Madrid ends up being in will be the “Group of Death”, with them being in Pot 4. Maybe to a lesser extent the same with Fiorentina.

  13. @Gilly:

    The pots are determined using the last 4 years of CL performance (with League strength stuff added in too I think). I would imagine that Bayern and Roma must have been just about tied. I’m too lazy to look it up but I do know they use a longer term than you would think.

    For example, last year Chelsea was in Pot 2 even though they were quarter and semi-finalists in the previous 2 years.


  14. is it this year or next year that the final will be played on a saturday.

    Which i really can’t wait for to see the television #’s and rub it in my friends faces about it crushing the super bowls #’s, that and the fact that we will get to see it live

  15. Eric- Toja did start for Steau Bucharest yesterday according to the Football 365 tracker. I know he didn’t score, but the fact that he is starting for a CL squad so soon I think bodes quite well for MLS.

  16. I suspect that they want to minimize teams from the same country playing each other in the group stages (and also seeding by relative strength)-pot A is definitely the strongest

  17. How are the “Pots” determined?

    What I guess I’d like to know id how does a team like AS Roma who went to the qtrs the last 2 years not get selected for Pot 1 but Lyon gets into Pot 1 when they have been knocked out in the Rd of 16 the last 2 years. First I thought well they won their league but then why would Bayern Munich be in Pot 2.

    Anyone know the answer to this?

  18. Did Toja play for Steau Bucharest? Its interesting to see them beat Galatassaray, the Turks are a big club. I would love to see Toja become a star, it would be great for MLS.

  19. Gotta really give it up for Anorthosis Famagusta & BATE Borisov. Making it through from the 1st round of qualifying.

    Only been paying close attention to soccer for a couple years, and I can’t remember 2 teams making it through to the group stage from 1st round.

  20. Liverpool…fortunate. I imagine Onyewu must have played rather well to hold them for that long.

    Interesting that all 4 EPL teams are in pot 1, I guess it is to be expected given the last 3 years. (All 4 big English team has reached the final the last 4 years with 2 winners).

    Barca is living on past accomplishments since their season was a third place last year. But hey, they ARE Barca.

    Good times, the CL begins in earnest!


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