Juventus management and players have made it no secret entering the 2016-17 season. As much as winning Scudetto after Scudetto, taking the top spot in the Champions League is something that they’re truly gunning for this year. They want to be the club that reigns supreme over Europe once more and thus putting an end to 20-plus years of waiting for the trophy with big ears to come back to Turin.
The journey starts today.
It’s Champions League group stage draw day, boys and girls. With it comes the knowledge of who Juventus will play its first six European games of the season against. Obviously, we’re hoping that number reaches double digits and possibly push 20 when it’s all said and done. For now, though, it’s all about the group stage and what comes with it.
In case you’ve lost track of the lower-ranking teams that are in this season’s Champions League group stage, well, here you go. The 32 teams participating in Europe’s top club competition are as follows:
Pot 1: Real Madrid (ESP, holders), Barcelona (ESP), Leicester City (ENG), Bayern München (GER), Juventus (ITA), Benfica (POR), Paris Saint-Germain (FRA), CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Pot 2: Atlético Madrid (ESP), Borussia Dortmund (GER), Arsenal (ENG), Manchester City (ENG), Sevilla (ESP), Porto (POR), Napoli (ITA), Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Pot 3: Basel (SUI), Tottenham Hotspur (ENG), Dynamo Kyiv (UKR), Lyon (FRA), PSV Eindhoven (NED), Sporting CP (POR), Club Brugge (BEL), Mönchengladbach (GER)
Pot 4: Celtic (SCO), Monaco (FRA), Beşiktaş (TUR), Legia Warszawa (POL), Dinamo Zagreb (CRO), Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL), København (DEN), Rostov (RUS)
There are possible reunions with teams Juve have played in the last few seasons — Manchester City and Sevilla in Pot 2; Borussia Monchengladbach in Pot 3; Celtic and Monaco in Pot 4. There’s even a potential reunion for Marko Pjaca to play against the club, Dinamo Zagreb that he helped get into the Champions League to begin with.
There are plenty of storylines no matter who Juventus will get drawn against because that’s just the nature of what competition they’re playing in. One of the biggest ones involves what the landscape of the entire tournament, not just Juventus’ group, will look like. At least the group stage part of it, anyway.
That’s what we’re going to talk about here.
Try to somewhat enjoy the pomp and circumstance that comes along with the draw because we know there’s plenty more than just mini footballs being pulled out of bowls. Let’s just hope that whomever they have doing Gianni Infantino’s job will be able to actually come close to keeping us awake before the reason we’re all watching the damn thing finally takes place.
(Miss u Gianni.)
UEFA Champions League group stage draw
Location: Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, France
Draw start time: 6 p.m. local time in Italy; 5 p.m. in England; 12 noon on the East Coast; 9 a.m. on the West Coast
Available TV: Fox Sports 1, Fox Deportes (United States); beIN Sports Canada (Canada); EuroSport 1 UK, BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); Sky Sport 1 HD Italia, Italia 1 (Italy)
Available online streaming: Fox Sports 1 USA (United States); beIN SPORTS CONNECT Canada (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); SKY Go Italia (Italy)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.