Last ever Champions League group stage starts as Man City defend title – The Namibian

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Manchester Metropolis start their defence of the Champions League on Tuesday when the group stage kicks off within the final season in its present format as Europe’s elite membership competitors will get prepared for a radical change.

Unveiled by UEFA in 2021 on the peak of the disaster which noticed a bunch of 12 golf equipment announce a breakaway Tremendous League earlier than promptly abandoning the undertaking, the new-look Champions League will start subsequent 12 months.

It’ll see the variety of golf equipment concerned within the competitors correct improve from 32 to 36, with all members going right into a single league wherein groups will play eight video games — up from the present six — in what is called the “Swiss system”.

That is subsequently the final marketing campaign, after 20 years, wherein the Champions League will start with a bunch stage that includes eight sections of 4 groups, with the highest two in every advancing to the final 16.

“We’re satisfied that the format chosen strikes the appropriate stability and that it’ll enhance aggressive stability,” mentioned Aleksander Ceferin, the president of European soccer’s governing physique, when the modifications to the Champions League have been confirmed in Might final 12 months.

The format that’s on its approach out was introduced in for the 2003/04 season, ending an experiment with a second group stage.

By way of symmetry and ease it can’t be bettered, with half the groups advancing from the group stage to the final 16.

However that is an period wherein main membership and worldwide competitions preserve increasing. As well as, there was a recognition that the Champions League group stage has gone considerably stale.

Rising gulf

The monetary gulf between the continent’s strongest golf equipment and the remainder is rising on a regular basis, accentuated particularly by the choice to award a portion of prize cash primarily based on the place of groups in UEFA’s personal membership rating.

Meaning the crew positioned at primary will get over 36 million euros ($38.4m) only for being the top-ranked facet, with the quantity dropping progressively so the lowest-ranked crew obtain solely simply over a million euros.

Even at this elite degree, there are many groups who’re doing little greater than make up the numbers, albeit whereas being handsomely rewarded.

It’s onerous to think about Swiss facet Younger Boys or Serbia’s Pink Star Belgrade making a huge impact alongside Pep Guardiola’s Metropolis and RB Leipzig in Group G.

Metropolis ought to stroll by means of to the final 16, racking up objectives within the course of, and so they start as favourites to retain a trophy they gained in June by beating Inter Milan 1-0 within the remaining in Istanbul.

That success noticed Metropolis lastly win the competitors they’d been chasing because the Abu Dhabi-led takeover of 2008 that reworked the membership.

“This undertaking is to need extra, extra ambition,” mentioned Spanish midfielder Rodri after scoring the winner for Metropolis in final season’s remaining.

So who can cease them?

It absolutely is not going to be the champions of Switzerland or Serbia, or a Leipzig crew who misplaced their star defender, Josko Gvardiol, to Metropolis throughout the shut season.

Report 14-time winners Actual Madrid are all the time contenders within the Champions League, though Carlo Ancelotti’s crew discover themselves in a tough group alongside Napoli, Braga and newcomers Union Berlin.

Bayern Munich have bolstered in assault with the signing of Harry Kane, whereas Paris Saint-Germain have misplaced Neymar and Lionel Messi however saved Kylian Mbappe and strengthened round him.

Each of their seasons shall be outlined, as ever, by their performances within the Champions League.

Arsenal will hope to make an impression on their return to the Champions League for the primary time since 2016/17, whereas Saudi possession has propelled Newcastle United again into the competitors after 20 years away.

Nevertheless, they discover themselves in a bit together with PSG, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

UEFA may need been much less inclined to alter the format of the Champions League format if their competitors featured teams like that extra typically.

“It’s onerous and difficult however I feel there’s some nice European video games for us to expertise and nice locations to go to for our supporters,” mentioned the Newcastle supervisor Eddie Howe after the draw.

His crew start away to seven-time European champions Milan on Tuesday.

Supply: namibian

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