UEFA Champions League 2018/19
The draw for the 2018/19 Champions League has been done. For the English teams there are a few tough draws. Spurs is in the same group as Barcelona and Inter Milan, which will make qualification tough, especially as their home matches will most likely all be played at Wembley, a place where they don't have good memories in this competition.
Liverpool would have wished an easier group. They face Paris Saint Germain, as well as a tricky Italian opponent in Napoli.
Manchester City on paper have the easiest group, with none of the European big teams represented. Lyon and Hoffenheim are their biggest threats, but they should be easy to overcome for a team with their quality.
Finally Manchester United are in Group H with Juventus and Valencia the most potent adversaries. It will not be easy to progress from this group, based on the form they have showed in the Premier League so far.
The ‘lesser’ teams may have been playing preliminaries since the end of June already, but these will come to an end this month. What is the road to the final which will be in Madrid on 1 June 2019. Will the ‘home’ team make yet another final? Wouldn’t they love that?
Some clubs, depending on what league, are already in the draw. Here they are:
The final preliminary matches will be played on 29 August, and the draw for the Champions League proper will be done on 30 August. Here are the teams in the draw so far:
Depending on who the qualifiers are, Roma and Liverpool could be in Pot 2 or 3, while Valencia, Viktoria Plzeň, Club Brugge and Galatasaray will be in Pot 3 or 4.
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Rosenborg travel to Glasgow this week reeling from the shock of their long-serving manager's sacking, a reported player revolt and an uncertain future. The Norwegian side tackle Celtic in the second round of Champions League qualifying on Wednesday, six days after dispensing with the services of boss Kare Ingebrigsten and his assistant Erik Hoftun. The pair led Rosenborg to the last three top-flight Eliteserien titles. Reports in the Norwegian media say the squad reacted angrily to the dismissals, unsuccessfully petitioning the club's board to have them reinstated.
Celtic will face AEK Athens in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, if they overcome Rosenborg in the second round. The Scottish champions play the Norwegians in the first leg in Glasgow on Wednesday, with the return tie in Trondheim seven days later. AEK Athens won the Greek Super League for the 12th time last season. They were knocked out of Champions League qualifying in the third-round stage last season by CSKA Moscow. The Greek side went on to compete in the Europa League group stage, qualifying from a section that included AC Milan, Austria Vienna and Rijeka, before losing in the round of 32 to Dynamo Kyiv.
Roma owner James Pallotta has been banned from attending any Uefa game for three months - and his club fined 19,000 euros (£17,025) - after their Champions League defeat by Liverpool. Pallotta was sanctioned for calling the match officiating an "absolute joke". The club were charged over insufficient organisation and a blocked stairway at the match in Rome on 2 May, and for fans setting off fireworks. Liverpool lost the semi-final second leg 4-2, but won 7-6 on aggregate. Roma's fine follows a 50,000 euros (£43,632) penalty for crowd trouble at the first leg on 24 April. Liverpool fan Sean Cox suffered serious head injuries in an attack outside Anfield before that game.
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