The verdict is out. The 32 teams competing in this season's Champions League have been grouped with Inter Milan, Tottenham, Werder Bremen, and FC Twente in the "Group of Death."
While other European clubs have relatively easy groups and are favorites to make it to the next rounds, the league always throws up its handful of surprises and this year might be the same.
In the following slideshow we take a look at the potential minnows who can make a difference this season in the battle for Europe's top honors and spring some surprises. The relatively smaller teams who can stop the progress of their bigger and stronger counterparts.
The teams are personally chosen and may differ from person to person. So any other choices are sincerely appreciated.
Hope you have a nice read.
Cheers to Football !!! Cheers to You all !!!
The Dutch champions have been on a roll, earning fame and respect on their way to being crowned the winners of Eredivisie.
From the troubled days of 2002-03 when the clubs' mother corporation was declared bankrupt and the club was on the edge of being closed down, the Tukkers' (as they are called) have come a long way in becoming Netherland's top club.
During the previous edition of the Champions League, debutantes had been ousted in the third qualifying round and had impressed thereafter in the Europa League before losing out in the Round of 32 to German club Werder Bremen.
The previous season was their best season in recent memory when they cruised their way to being crowned Dutch champions. That sealed them an automatic place in the Champions League.
Grouped with defending champions Inter Milan, German side Werder Bremen, and debutant Tottenham Hotspurs, the Dutch club are effectively in the "Group of Death".
Though many may have already written them off as group-stage exits, FC Twente has ample potential to be the surprise element in the group.
With a relatively young squad, including the like of young sensation Bryan Ruiz, who is in great demand by top clubs, and plenty of promising players, the Eredivisie outfit can deliver a surprise or two and make it to the next round as the surprise element.
The Eredivisie outfit are one of most successful European clubs. They are only one of a few clubs who have been allowed to keep the European Cup.
The Dutch outfit's youth academy is regarded as the best in the world, ahead of numerous other successful clubs. It is associated with giving the world a number of former and present football superstars who have marveled every lover of the beautiful game with their football skills.
Of these numerous players the most notable are Johan Cruijff, Edwin Van Der Sar (Manchester United), Denis Bergkamp, Patrick Kluivert, Marco Van Basten, Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), and Rafael Van der Vaart (Real Madrid).
Although they have such a top flight youth system, the Dutch club has been unable to win much, both at domestic and international level during the past decade. Except a couple of Eredivisie trophies, they have not really been stupendous enough to be ranked as favorites.
The Dutch outfit has starred in various editions of the Champions League since its inception and have even been crowned European champions once.
But from that point on they have failed to achieve much success. Their failure is attributed to the fact that they always sell their star striker when he is at his prime.
This season they have a host of quality players in the squad which includes the in-form Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. The team also has some promising talents like Andre Ooijer and Gregory Van der Wiel.
After seeing off Greek side PAOK and Ukrainian Dynamo Kyiv in the third qualifying and play-off rounds respectively, the "de Godenzonen" have been grouped in a relatively tough group with European superpowers AC Milan and Real Madrid along with French club Auxerre.
Though the Italian and Spanish giants are seen as favorites to top the group, Ajax could spring a surprise or two and move on into the next rounds with their talented youngsters at the expense of one of the top clubs.
Sporting Clube De Braga, commonly known as Braga, has been the most exciting debutant so far in the Champions League.
The Portuguese outfit has been very impressive in their qualifying campaign, having beaten the likes of Sevilla and Celtic on their way to securing a group stage spot. The Os Arcebispos, as they are known by their fans, have been on a dream run ever since qualifying for the Champions League, finishing the previous season as runner-up in the Portuguese League.
With a squad full of promising players like Lima, Luis Aguiar, Moises, and Alan, the Portuguese outfit has shown of plenty of promise in the qualifying rounds. Braga have good wide playing options, a creative midfield, and plenty of players who have the ability to convert opportunities in front of the goal.
They have been grouped with Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Partizan Belgrade in Group H of the Champions League and it will be interesting to watch how these teams fare against the Champions League debutant.
They are the dark horses to qualify from this group. The team coached by the fomer F.C. Porto player Doingos Paciencia plays very organised and neat football. The players connect very well to each other and have a good sense of understanding amongst one another.
They are expected to make some surprises and only after the league starts can we tell if they will fulfill the huge expectations weighing heavy on their shoulders.
The Gers, as the Rangers are known, are this years representative from neighboring Scotland to the Champions League.
The Light Blues'' hold the record for winning the most number of league championships—53 times. But while being very successful at the domestic level, they have failed to achieve honors in the international stages. Especially in the Champions League, where they have never managed to go beyond the Round of 16.
The club was in severe financial troubles this past season and had to sell-off many players to balance their accounts. But they overcame all those problems and went on to win their record 53rd Scottish Premier League title, earning an automatic entry into the Champions League group stages.
With their fierce rivals Celtic already ousted from the qualifiers of the Champions League, the Rangers are the only ones representing Scotland at the competition to decide Europe's best.
They have a squad with plenty of talented players such as David Weir, Sasa Papac, and Kenny Miller amongst others. With the signing of prolific goalscorer Nikica Jelavic and experienced James Beattie during the recently closed summer window, Rangers have strengthened their squad further.
Having been drawn with the likes of Valencia F.C., Manchester United, and Bursaspor in the group stages of the Champions League, they have to overcome a relatively tough group to make it into the next rounds. But given the form that they are in and the talent in their squad, the Rangers can be a surprise entrant to the Round of 16 in this edition of the Champions League.
Peter Crouch,Assou Ekotto and Gareth Bale Celebrates
The Spurs' had one of their best seasons in recent memories during the 2009/10 season. After hovering around in the mid-table for more than a decade, the past season was the year of revival for the White Hart Lane outfit.
They broke the Top Four monopoly in the EPL and finished fourth, which earned them a place in this season's Champions League. The Spurs' made their Champions League debut in the qualification rounds, overcoming a nervy clash against BSC Young Boys to make it to the group stages of the tournament for the first time.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has a very talented and inspired squad, with a number of quality players who are widely respected for their skills with the ball.
The team has the likes of Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch, the exciting Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Nico Kranjcar, and plenty of others. They also signed the vastly experienced William Gallas from Arsenal and made a deadline day swoop of Real Madrid's want-away Dutch striker Rafael van der Vaart. The new signings bolstered their squad further, as the Spurs' prepare to make their debut Champions League worth remembering.
Although having been handed a tough group—with the likes of defending champions Inter Milan, Bundesliga giants Werder Bremen, and Dutch sensation FC Twente for company—the Spurs' have enough potential to emerge victorious from the group stages and make it to the next rounds.
With the chance of Champions League glory as the reward, Harry Redknapp's boys should be inspired to deliver a memorable performance.
Their group is the so-called "Group of Death" and we will be left to see if they are able to hand out the ouster to one of their more successful compatriots and make it past the group stages.
The Spurs' debut Champions League campaign has already started and it remains to be seen if they can go all the way to make it a dream debut.