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UEFA Champions League Group Stage kicks off today and tomorrow with a couple of tasty matches on the docket:

Tuesday Sept. 12

Barcelona v. Juventus 2:45pm ET (FOX Sports 2)

AS Roma v. Atletico Madrid 2:45pm ET (FOX Soccer Match Pass)

Manchester United v. FC Basel (not necessarily one of the top matches, but they will be on FOX Sports 1)

Wednesday Sept. 13

Tottenham vs. Dortmund 2:45pm ET (FOX Sports 1)

Real Madrid vs. APOEL (Also not a top match, but they will be on FOX Sports 2)

The rest of this week's CL games are on FOX Soccer Match Pass, their subscription streaming service.  Looks like many games are also available on FOX Soccer Plus, and streaming on ESPN 3, WatchESPN, and FOX Sports Go.  

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Juventus is missing half of its starters so I'm hoping Messi gets a hat trick against Gigi!  Interesting to see who starts for Barca....will Dembele get the start or will Deulofeu start?  Will Messi continue to press?  Barca beat PSG last season after Luis Enrique announced he's quitting...so did the players not get along with Luis Enrique but are now working harder under Valverde?  From what I read, Barca's pressing is becoming effective again.  Also, Juve beat Barca last season when Sergio Busquets was out serving a suspension.  Barca now has a full squad sans Neymar but added Semedo, Dembele and Paulinho.  Can't wait to watch this tonight...do not post the result this afternoon! 

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Happy to see Messi score on Buffon twice.

A few good matches today: Liverpool v. Sevilla, Dortmund v. Tottenham, and Leipzig v. Monaco.  Monaco sold all of their players while Leipzig held on to theirs...I think Leipzig can roll all over Monaco and win its group.

 

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Liverpool pissed away 2 points yesterday.  Their offense is very potent even w/o Coutinho and Barca was offering silly money - should've sold.  But their defense is atrocious.  Lovern's whiff is reminiscent of the low-lights from MLS on ESPN FC every Monday.  There's doubt as to whether Klopp can organize a defense.

Dortmund got robbed by the refs.

 

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50 minutes ago, DanielK said:

You had me nodding my head until you said Dortmund was robbed. Really? Spurs earned those 3 points.

There was a foul by Kane on his first goal.  Aubameyang had a goal called off for offside that was clearly not offside.  So one can argue the Spurs earned 1 point, and the refs gave them 2 points :D

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Champions League returns this week.  For the most part its the mighty vs. the minnows, except for three powerhouse match ups.

Tuesday September 26

Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid 2:45pm FOX Sports 1/ESPN Deportes

AS Monaco vs. FC Porto (could also be a good one).

Wednesday September 27

Paris Saint Germain vs. Bayern Munich 2:45pm FOX Soccer Plus

Chelsea vs. Atletico Madrid 2:45pm ESPN Deportes

Barcelona vs. Sporting CP (for all you Barca fans)  FOX Sports 2

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Dortmund is flying right now and Madrid is floundering, so this is a real chance for Dortmund to grab points. Dortmund's American phenom Pulisic was pulled early from their league match over the weekend, so I assume he'll be starting tomorrow.

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10 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

How is PSG vs. Bayern Munich not on Fox Sports?  I have to pay another premium to watch certain Champions League games?

Looks like FS1 has the ManU v. CSKA Moscow match, while FS2 has the Barca game. 

I've definitely noticed the FOX channels have a preference for broadcasting the big English teams + Barca/Real Madrid, even if they are not the match of the day.  

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Group stage of the Champions League ended today.  

Group A - Man U, Basel 

Group B- PSG, Munich

Group C - Roma, Chelsea - Atletico Madrid out!

Group D - Barca, Juve

Group E - Liverpool, Seville

Group F - Man City, Shaktar - Napoli out!

Group G - Besiktas, Porto - Leipzig and Monacco out!

Group H - Tottenham, Real Madrid - Dortmund out!

4 Premier League teams topped their group.  One 1 La Liga team topped its group.  Only 1 League 1 team left, PSG.  Only 1 Bundesliga team left, Munich.

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Teams from the same country cannot draw each other, nor can teams who played each other in the group stage.

The task is made especially hard for Chelsea. As the other four English sides won their groups, and Chelsea cannot be drawn against Roma again, it leaves only three possible opponents: Barcelona, Besiktas or Paris Saint-Germain -- meaning they have a very high chance of a tough tie.

Bayern Munich, Juventus and Real Madrid are also likely to face a big tie in the last-16, with Liverpool and both Manchester City and Manchester United on their shortlist of opposition.

Possible opponents for all round-of-16 teams

Barcelona: Bayern Munich, Chelsea, FC Basel, FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayern Munich: Barcelona, Besiktas, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur.

Besiktas: Bayern Munich, Chelsea, FC Basel, Juventus, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Chelsea: Barcelona, Besiktas, Paris Saint-Germain.

FC Basel: Barcelona, Besiktas, Liverpool, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur.

Juventus: Besiktas, Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Manchester City: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Sevilla.

Manchester United: Bayern Munich, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Paris Saint-Germain: Chelsea, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Real Madrid: Besiktas, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma.

Roma: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Tottenham Hotspur: Bayern Munich, FC Basel, FC Porto, Juventus, Sevilla, Shakhtar Donetsk.

Sevilla: Besiktas, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur.

Shakhtar Donetsk: Barcelona, Besiktas, Liverpool, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur.

FC Porto: Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma, Tottenham Hotspur.

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First Round of Knock-Out

PGS v. Real Madrid

Chelsea v. Barca

Tottenham v. Juve

Sevilla v. Man U

Basel v. Man City

Porto v. Liverpool

Munich v. Besiktas

Shakhtar v. Roma

In any case, one of my two disfavored teams (PSG & Real Madrid) will go out.  The only other big clash is Barca v. Chelsea but Chelsea isn't as good as last year.  In fact, Chelsea just lost West Ham (I might as well shred my bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League). 

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The Man(s) get favorable draws.  Porto always seems to step up their game in CL, so could be a tough one for Liverpool. 

But all eyes will be on PSG Real. 

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PSG and Real are certainly 2 of the top few teams remaining. In some ways, it's disappointing to see one of them go in the round of 16.

Chelsea unlikely to take out Barca, but Liverpool and Tottenham both have reasonable chances to advance. It would be crazy if 4 of the final 8 were EPL.

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45 minutes ago, DanielK said:

It would be crazy if 4 of the final 8 were EPL.

With the draw, that is a very likely scenario.  But EPL is totally unbalanced this year - there is only 1 good team (Man City, which ended the season yesterday by beating Man U).  An awesome final 4 would be Munich, Barca, PSG, and Man City.

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Bedlam in Bristol! 

Bristol City 2 - Manchester United 1, with the game winner in the 93rd minute (Quarter-Finals League Cup).  Supporters running onto the field, people crying in the stands.  A night to remember at Ashton Gate.

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27 minutes ago, Tweaked said:

Bedlam in Bristol! 

Bristol City 2 - Manchester United 1, with the game winner in the 93rd minute (Quarter-Finals League Cup).  Supporters running onto the field, people crying in the stands.  A night to remember at Ashton Gate.

"Bristol City 2 Manchester United 1: Korey Smith's Late, Late Winner Sends Ashton Gate into Dreamland" by Alan Tyers on telegraph.co.uk

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Real Madrid is done for the season.  I don’t see them winning any trophies - La Liga,  Copa Del Rey, or champions league.  They barely tied Celta Vigo last week and lost to Villarreal this week.  In champions league they have to face the rampaging psg.

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So how far will Man City go in UCL?  My gut instinct tells me far but not as far as they would like to or are expected to at the moment.

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Depends on who they draw in the next round.  Barça, Munich and PSG are all tough outs.  It’s not clear how good PSG and Munich are because they play in crappy domestic leagues.  Arguably the Premier League is crappy this year and City has faced no tough competition.

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On 1/13/2018 at 6:08 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Depends on who they draw in the next round.  Barça, Munich and PSG are all tough outs.  It’s not clear how good PSG and Munich are because they play in crappy domestic leagues.  Arguably the Premier League is crappy this year and City has faced no tough competition.

It follows, from the quote, that since Real Madrid clearly do not play in a crappy domestic league, it is difficult to predict how they would fare against clubs that do.

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