The reunion of the two greatest footballers of recent years, Leo Messi Y Cristiano Ronaldo, provides added spice to the group stage of the 2020/21 Champions League, whose draw took place this afternoon in Geneva and which also led to the clash between Bayern Munich and Atlético de Madrid, which challenges the defending champion.
As it happens year after year, the ‘lottery’ of continental balls, which this time counted as ‘innocent’ hands with the Ivorian Didier Drogba -he had just received the UEFA President’s Award- and the Frenchman Florent Malouda, will offer numerous more duels How interesting, reissues of past endings and several ‘pending accounts’.
Juventus Y Barcelona, which started in pot 2, will bring a new duel between Messi and CR7. They had not been on the field since the Portuguese forward left Real Madrid to play for the Italian team. It will undoubtedly be the stellar clash of this phase.
The two stars met in the semi-finals of the 2007/08 campaign when Cristiano played for Manchester United, which went on to the final; in the final of the following year, in which Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona beat Barcelona 2-0; and in the semifinals again of 2010/11, now with the Portuguese at Real Madrid, from which the Barça team progressed, whose last title – the fifth – was achieved in 2015 against the Juventine block (3-1 in the Berlin Olympic).
Both teams start as clear favorites in Group G, completing two run-down continental football classics, Dinamo Kiev and Hungarian Ferencvaros, back to the Champions League 25 years later after overcoming the previous ones. These two already met in the 1975 Recopa final with a Ukrainian victory.
He Athletic of Diego Pablo Simeone goes one more year to his eternal fight for the continental crown with him Bayern Munich as the main starting rival. The RB Salzburg, team of the ‘Red Bull factory’, of bad memory for the Madrid team as RB Leipzig was their executioner in the last edition, and Lokomotiv Moscow, which they already beat last year in both games by 2- 0, they should not be enemies of care for the whole of the Argentine coach and for the almighty German block, without a doubt the best team of the year and a whole roller.
It will be more difficult for him on paper Real Madrid, the most successful team of the tournament with thirteen crowns, who want to regain the prominence lost in recent editions. He was fortunate with his rival from Pot 2, the Shakhtar Donetsk Ukrainian, a team nevertheless daring and attractive with a Brazilian flavor, but not so with those of 3 and 4, the Inter, runner-up in the Europa League, quite reinforced and on the rise, and the Borussia Dortmund. A very dangerous group B is presented to the Zinedine Zidane team.
The Whites’ games against Inter and Borussia Mönchengladbach have interesting historical memories, in the first phase of the European Cup with the Italian team and at the time of the comebacks with the German.
For Sevilla, the return to the top competition opens up to Chelsea as a great rival in the fight for the leadership of group E. Although Krasnodar – a city where Julen Lopetegui had to leave the national team before the World Cup in Russia – and the Rennes have shown to have sufficient arguments are a priori opponents of lower level.
The current runners-up, Paris Saint Germain, has outstanding accounts with Manchester United within a group that is completed by RB Leipzig, whom they defeated in the last semi-final, and rookie Istanbul Basaksehir.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who won their sixth continental title two years ago, leads a rather attractive and fun group due to the style of the teams that accompany him, Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland, another debutant in these struggles.
Pep Guardiola and his Manchester City had some fortune, being paired in Group C with Porto, Olympiacos and Olympique Marseille, while Group F with Zenit Saint Petersburg, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio and Bruges completes this phase.
It will be a more compressed phase. The first day will be played on October 20 and 21 and there will be Champions for three consecutive weeks (October 27 and 28 and November 3 and 4). The second lap will also go full speed (November 24 and 25, December 1 and 2 and December 8 and 9).