Column

New beginnings

Leading contenders drawn together, rapid reunions, old faces in new surroundings, unfamiliar names – the 2021/22 season has a bit of everything

WORDS Chris Burke

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

New beginnings
Column

New beginnings

Leading contenders drawn together, rapid reunions, old faces in new surroundings, unfamiliar names – the 2021/22 season has a bit of everything

WORDS Chris Burke

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

If the group stage draw is anything to go by, we should be set for another season of top-drawer action in the Champions League. Big-name match-ups, mouth-watering reunions, groups stacked with talent – the first step on the road to Saint Petersburg looks to have it all.

“Complicated” was the take of Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pocchettino after his side were paired with Manchester City, Leipzig and Club Brugge in Group A. City got the better of Paris in the semi-finals last term, but Pocchettino’s men will be itching for revenge when the beaten finalists of the last two seasons again lock horns – particularly after recruiting the likes of Lionel Messi (pictured above in his new surroundings), Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma this summer.

If it will be strange to see Messi wearing a Paris shirt, the prospect of watching Cristiano Ronaldo back in red has a retro appeal. Twelve years after leaving Old Trafford, the Champions League’s record scorer will be looking to help Manchester United avenge their loss to Villarreal in last season’s Europa League final. Not that anyone should write off Unai Emery’s wily campaigners, drawn in Group F alongside a dangerous Atalanta team and Young Boys. “What a great draw,” exclaimed the Spanish coach. “It’s great to see Villarreal up there among the best.”

And how to describe Group B, a section packed with three former winners and a team beaten three times in the final? “I laughed, to be honest, pretty loud, because it’s a tough group,” said Jürgen Klopp, with his Liverpool side battling it out with Atlético de Madrid, Porto and AC Milan – the team they beat in the unforgettable 2005 decider and lost to in the showpiece two years later. “You have to play the best teams in Europe, and obviously some of them are in our group!”

Holders Chelsea will also need a strong start as they kick off their title defence. Thomas Tuchel’s men must get to grips with a Juventus side eager to shine again under Massimiliano Allegri, now back at the club he twice led to the final. And while that duo vie for supremacy in Group H, Bayern will tackle Barcelona in Group E at the dawn of a new era for both – the German heavyweights now led by Julian Nagelsmann and Barça adapting to life after Messi. 

Want more? How about Real Madrid’s impending Group D joust with Italian champions Inter, a team they defeated twice in the 2020/21 group stage? The powerhouses are also reunited with Shakhtar Donetsk, who pipped Inter to third last season, which means some glittering ties for Moldovan debutants Sheriff. They, like the fans of every club involved, will be raring to get going.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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