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Thursday, 29 August 2013 18:07

Champions League draw: Tough task for FC Porto, Benfica to battle with PSG

Hulk to return to the Dragão

champions-league-trophy.jpgFC Porto will welcome back their star player of recent years, Hulk, in the Champions League. The Dragons were paired with Zenit St. Petersburg, Atletico Madrid and Austria Vienna in what appears a three-way fight for two qualification places to the knockout phase.

Benfica, whose Estádio da Luz stadium hosts the 2013/14 final, were drawn in Group C alongside three reigning champions of their respective leagues: Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiakos and Anderlecht.
The game that immediately stands out is FC Porto versus Zenit. The two teams were drawn in the same group in 2011/12, with the Russians winning the home leg and drawing in Portugal, thus contributing to a rare failure by Porto to reach the knockout rounds. Portuguese international Danny made no friends among the Porto fans with his infamous “peeing dog” celebration after scoring, and can expect a very different reception to former Porto hero Hulk.
With dangerous Spanish side Atletico Madrid also in Group G, new Porto coach Paulo Fonseca will have to get his side firing on all cylinders to ensure progress in the world’s greatest club competition.
The clashes between Benfica and PSG are also two mouth-watering affairs. The French team have shot to prominence after coming into money and acquiring the likes of Zlatan Ibrahomivic, Thiago Silva, Matuidi, Pastore, Lucas Moura and Lavezzi. However, Porto showed last season that the French club are still a work in progress, and Benfica can count on a large contingent of supporters in Paris among the huge Portuguese expat community.
Benfica’s match-up against Greek side Olympiakos will see the Eagles come up against former players at both ends of the pitch. Goalkeeper Roberto, who was a big flop at the Luz, and striker Saviola, who was a big hit in the Portuguese capital, both now play for the champions of Greece.

Full draw:

Group A:
Manchester Utd, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad

Group B:
Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen

Group C:
Benfica, Paris St-Germain, Olympiakos, Anderlecht

Group D:
Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen

Group E:
Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest

Group F:
Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli

Group G:
Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna

Group H:
Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax, Celtic
Comments (11)
11 Friday, 30 August 2013 17:53
When it comes to the Champions League, there's no easy matches. The travel and league play could really affect a club. Keep in mind that Portuguese clubs always have club turnover to deal with. It's not excuses, but as always, not as easy as people think.

That being said, I do expect both cubs to advance. Granted I've said that before when both went out and "kicked the pooch".

Benfica will be facing the champions from their respective leagues. PSG has spent a ton of money, but I'm not sold on Blanc, and it could all become a disaster. Ibra could blow up at any moment as well, if not catered too. It's never easy to play Greek clubs, especially on the road. Anderlecht will be dismissed, but that would be a mistake.
After last years CL debacle, I would like to think that these guys will be focused. Having the final, how impossible it may seem, at The Luz should bring further incentive. I could see us winning the group outright, but if we got bounced out again, it wouldn't shock me.

Porto, for me, has another tough group to deal with. Atletico has lost pieces but have retooled. Simone is a really good manager, while Porto will have a newbie at the helm. Zenit will very tough to play, as well. Vienna would seem to be the whipping boy, but just like Anderlecht, they will go hard.

Ultimately, both Portuguese clubs should advance. But, we've seen them faulter before.
10 Friday, 30 August 2013 07:03
Eh, I think Porto has a tough draw any of the top three teams can end up in the first three spots. Getting through will be huge, but I think they will do it at the expense of Zenit.

Benfica has an easier group, and second place should at least be doable. However with JJ's track record against better or equal teams and their CL group phase record isn't spotless either. I wouldn't be surprised if they ended up in the EL again.
i think i hit braga with the jynx of all jynx
9 Friday, 30 August 2013 01:59
bunch of scrubs they are
8 Friday, 30 August 2013 01:40
As a Porto fan , not bad of a draw . I was just hoping for a little more 'interesting' matchups. I mean that in no disrespect to our opponents in the group . Celtic can't get a break lol
7 Thursday, 29 August 2013 23:40
those who can produce portuguese players do those who cant make up excuses. If it wasnt for sporting you wouldnt have an interest in the national team because they wouldnt be at the level they are at and have been without sporting or even porto for that matter.
Go Portuguese teams
6 Thursday, 29 August 2013 22:46
I am not one of those fanatics that puts hate for other domestic teams ahead of Portuguese interests. I will cheer for SLB to go deep and challenge, but all the best to all Portuguese teams in European competition. By everyone doing well, our Liga looks good and we protect our position in Europe and our seeding in competitions. That will also ensure we continue to attract good players from around the world making liga competitive and entertaining. When you think of it, it's remarkable that a small country like Portugal can do as well as we do against more populous and richer countries. We should all be proud. FORCA!

PS...before the trolls point out that SLB don't use Portuguese players, the Liga competition is about putting the best team on the field, it's not the Seleccao. Those who question buying foreign players do so, because their teams struggle to pay BTeam salaries, much less competing on the transfer market. Maybe If SCP looked outward they wouldn't be missing from Europe this year. Those who can do, those who can't troll
5 Thursday, 29 August 2013 22:09
I think it's a good draw for SLB and they really have to qualify from this group after the disappointment of last season and not qualifying from a similarly manageable group. PSG have a strong squad and are favourites to top the group, but Olympiakos and Anderlecht despite not being easy oppenents, are certainly both beatable. We really should get out of this group, even though nothing is ever straight forward with JJ's teams lol!

I would also back Porto to get out of their group, but I think a strong Atletico team will top that group. Porto should pip Zenit to second place, but Fonseca's total lack of experience at this level is a concern. Both Portuguese clubs will be quite satisfied with the draw and i would back both to qualify as runner's up in their groups.
favorable draws for the portuguese teams
4 Thursday, 29 August 2013 19:55
getting both teams into the knock out stages would be huge

also looks like we will have 4 teams in the group stage of europa league if braga doesn't have the blunder of the century. should be a good year for the coefficient.
Group C
3 Thursday, 29 August 2013 19:45
Decent draw for Benfica. I expect a 2nd place finish. Fingers crossed for top spot but P$G and their reckless spending acquired Cavani who is similar to Falcao.

I'm confident Benfica will stabilize by next month so there shouldn't be an issue lighting up the other two teams in our group.

It is pleasing to know we dodged Juve, Dortmund, and Napoli.
2 Thursday, 29 August 2013 19:16
Very intelligent and classy comment
woof woof Danny
1 Thursday, 29 August 2013 19:05
torpiano, uk
I would love it if the FCP Ultras smuggled a dog into the Dragao (preferably a well-hydrated hound) and when Danny gets fouled and goes down rolling around, they set the dog on him - only for the dog to relieve himself all over the cocky git.

Sadly, I doubt very much this is going to happen.

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