Group A: F.C. Internazionale Milano,* SV Werder Bremen, Tottenham Hotspur FC,** & FC Twente
Group B: Olympique Lyonnais,* SL Benfica,** FC Schalke 04, & Hapoel Tel Aviv FC
Group C: Manchester United,* Valencia CF, Rangers FC,** & Bursaspor 1963
Group D: FC Barcelona,* Panathinaikos, FC Kobenhavn, & Ruben Kazan**
Group E: FC Bayern Munich,* AS Roma,** FC Basel 1893, & CFR Cruj 1907
Group F: Chelsea FC,* Olympique de Marseille, FC Spartak Moscow** & MŠK Žilina
Group G: AC Milan, Real Madrid FC,* AFC Ajax,** & AJ Auxerre
Group H: Arsenal FC,* FC Shaktar Donesk,** SC Braga, & FK Partizan
* My pick for the 1st place teams in each group
** My fick for the 2nd place teams in each group
Here's my initial reaction to the draw:
Inter has Group A wrapped up already, but the 2nd place team will be tough. I think both Spurs & Bremen will be too much for Twente though.
Shalke could pip Benfica in Group B, but Tel-Aviv better hope for some lucky home wins if they want to finish anywhere but the bottom of the group.
Like Inter in Group A, Man U have Group C sealed already. Valencia could manage to get past Gers though. These Buraspor people will have a tough go of it... good luck to them upsetting Man U.
In Group D, I'd like to see Ruben Kazan make it out. They had a nice little run last year in the group stage. Maybe this is their year to reach the knock-out stage.
Roma got lucky to fall ass-backwards into a group w/ Basel & Cruj. Otherwise, I wouldn't have picked them to get out of their group.
It looks like Abromovich wasn't able to pull the strings to get an easy group for Chelsea like he usually does. It's nice to see them w/ a bit of competition for a change. They should still roll over everyone in Group F though.
Visions of Ypsi is unofficially the 1st blog to refer to Group G as the "Group of Death." It'll be a tough one for all of the teams. I'm sure Madrid will pull it together, but who knows?
Arsenal have, what looks on paper anyway, their easiest draw in ages. I hope they don't crew it up.