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Tough Times Ahead for Germans in Champions League

Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen discovered their European Champions League fate on Thursday. The draw pitted the Germans against some tough opposition.

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Real Madrid's Raul will once again be plotting a German team's downfall

The Champions League proper will soon kick off into action again with the cream of European teams once more going head-to-head for the most prestigious club prize in European soccer. While the champions and their runners-up from the leagues have been waiting patiently for the tournament to begin, others have been fighting it out for the remaining places in the eagerly contested qualifying rounds. Now those places have been filled, the really hard work can begin on September 15.

The draw for the group stage took place on Thursday in Monaco with German teams Werder Bremen, Bayern Munich and Bayer 04 Leverkusen all in the pot along with great names such as Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United.

Former glories give Bayern top seed status

A wealth of talent and quality awaited the three German teams; Bayern Munich, with their enviable record in the competition, were seeded in the first pot of seeds along with the likes of holders Porto, Barcelona and English champions Arsenal, as well as Real Madrid, Valencia, Manchester United and Deportivo la Coruna.

Bayer and Werder in the mix

Previous adventures in Europe's premier cup competition meant that Bayer Leverkusen were seeded in the third pot with teams such as Paris Saint Germain, Celtic Glasgow and Ajax Amsterdam. Werder Bremen, newcomers to the European Cup in this modern day format, were in the last group with clubs like Olympiakos, Fenerbache and Dinamo Kiev.

As a top seed, Bayern Munich avoided a number of the teams which have done their European campaigns serious damage in the past. However, a tough draw for the Bavarians in Group C will see them take on the Turin giants Juventus, the always dangerous Dutch maestros Ajax Amsterdam and the Israeli's Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Leverkusen face the galacticos

Bayer Leverkusen will get the chance to lay some old ghosts to rest when they face Real Madrid in Group B. Madrid beat Leverkusen 2-1 in the 2002 final and there will be thoughts of revenge on the German team's mind. However, with AS Roma and Dinamo Kiev also in the group, Leverkusen would be better off planning how they will survive the home and away legs against all three opponents, such is the class and quality around them.

Bundesliga champions Werder Bremen will have a baptism of fire in Group G. Spanish champions Valencia await them on the course to the knock-out rounds along with Inter Milan and Belgian title holders Anderlecht.

Champions welcome back an old friend

Elsewhere, champions Porto prepare to welcome back their former coach Jose Morinho in Group H as his new team Chelsea were drawn against his old charges, along with Paris St. Germain and CSKA Moscow.

Last season's runners-up Monaco face Liverpool, Deportivo la Coruna and Olympiakos in Group A; 2003 winners AC Milan will have two tough games against Barcelona, Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester United will play Lyon, Sparta Prague and Fenerbache in Group D while English Premier League champions Arsenal take on Panathanaikos, PSV Eindhoven and perennial Norwegian champs Rosenborg.

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  • Date 30.08.2004
  • Author Nick Amies
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  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/5UME
  • Date 30.08.2004
  • Author Nick Amies
  • Print Print this page
  • Permalink http://p.dw.com/p/5UME