Champions League 2012: Teams in Biggest Trouble Heading into Group Stage
Now that the group stage is set, the Champions League will start to get interesting.
A few teams are finding themselves in trouble and are worried about being bounced from the league early.
Starting on September 18 teams will begin playing others in their group.
As of now it looks like Group D will be the most competitive, with Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Real Madrid.
All of these teams won their respective leagues last year. Only two of these teams will advance, so one of the recent European champions will be eliminated early.
Aside from Group D, some other groups may surprise fans. Even favorite teams may find themselves exiting the Champions League early.
Milan may find themselves in trouble in Group C.
Although they have won the Championship League a total of seven times, Milan finds themselves in a group with Anderlecht, Malaga and Zenit St. Petersburg—all of which are teams that can pull possible upsets.
Anderlecht is outscoring opponents 9-1 so far in Champions League play.
They have forward Dieudonné Mbokani, who was tied for third in the qualifying phase with four goals scored.
Milan’s offense took a big hit this summer when they lost Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris Saint-Germain.
Robinho and Pato can help anchor the offense, but they will still have trouble now that Ibrahimovic and Silva are gone.
One of the best soccer clubs in Europe is starting to worry about whether they will make it past the group stage.
This is not a good time for Real Madrid to be losing momentum, though. They are 2-3 in their last five games, including a 1-0 loss to Sevilla.
Madrid has also been dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo since he transferred from United in 2009. Ronaldo says that he is upset with playing on Madrid, but further details on his situation are still known.
Other than Ronaldo, Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has a healthy team to work with, but the team has been underperforming lately.
Madrid had better get their act together quickly, though, because their first game in the group stage will be against Manchester City, who has been dominating lately.
The defending champions of the Champions League may run into a little bit of trouble in the group stage.
Since winning the Champions League last year, Chelsea has lost Didier Drogba, Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, José Bosingwa, Nicolas Anelka and Salomon Kalou, to name a few.
The biggest loss is Drogba.
Drogba scored Chelsea’s lone goal in the 88th minute in the championship last year against Bayern Munich, and then the game-winning penalty kick.
He and Anelka left Chelsea to play on China’s Shanghai Shenhua.
Not to mention captain John Terry has been nursing a knee injury for some time now. Although he did play in Chelsea’s match against Juventus, the captain is still not at perfect health.
Goaltender Petr Cech is also faced with a tough decision on his elbow. It has been bothering him for a while now and it may require surgery. Hopefully for Chelsea he can put off getting surgery until the offseason.
If Chelsea wants to repeat their Cinderella story from last year, they will need to find scoring from many different players and hope that Terry and Cech’s injuries are not severe.
Although Arsenal was placed in a not-so-competitive Group B, they are still worried about advancing past the group stage.
Since losing Robin Van Persie and Alex Song the Premier League team has been struggling a little.
Add the loss of those two to injuries of Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshire and the team could face some trouble in the group stage.
The two still may return by the end of the month.
After missing a full season, though, it still remains up in the air how well Wilshire will perform.
Arsenal has yet to win a Champions League, and the closest they have come was losing to Barcelona in 2006.
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