UEFA Champions League Group Stage Draw: A Group Of Death Is Inevitable

The label "Group of Death" is thrown around a lot. In any tournament, the toughest group is usually given the moniker, but there is rarely a group deserving of it. The group stage of the 2011-2012 UEFA Champions League will almost assuredly have a Group of Death though as some of the continent's top teams have been put all the way down in Pot 3 or even Pot 4.

There are 32 teams remaining in the competition and they have been split into four pots with eight teams in each pot and one team from each pot will be put in each group. That means a team from Pot 4 will be in the same group as a team from Pot 1. Normally that isn't a problem because the Pot 4 teams are supposed to be the worst teams in the field, but the UEFA coefficient that ranks the teams aren't quite accurate. That leaves us with Borussia Dortmund and Napoli all the way down in Pot 4.

As unfair as it may seem to put the best team from Germany, Dortmund, and one of the most dangerous in Italy, Napoli, in Pot 4, it will be a lot of fun for viewers. It means that those two teams will end up playing two matches against a team from Pot 1, which is made up of Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Porto and Internazionale. It's a viewer's dream.

Not only does Pot 4 have some abnormally strong teams, but Pot 3 has some strength too. It is where we find Manchester City, Lille and Bayer Leverkusen. Toss in a strong Pot 2 that includes AC Milan, Lyon, Shakktar Donetsk and Valencia, and you're guaranteed to see some incredibly difficult groups that will make for great theater.

Imagine a group of Barcelona, Milan, Manchester City and Dortmund. It is possible that the four get paired up in the ultimate Group of Death that may leave the knockout stages short a couple of the continent's best teams, but would be amazing to watch for six matchdays during group play. Even a group of lesser-known teams like Porto, Donetsk, Lille and Napoli would be extraordinarily difficult and a thrill to watch.

In short, big name teams or small name teams, the depth of Europe's top clubs have been spread out in this Champions League draw to guarantee at least one, if not two or three, extremely difficult groups. let the fun begin.

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