A Team-by-Team Guide to All 32 Champions League Sides

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer IAugust 27, 2010

A Team-by-Team Guide to All 32 Champions League Sides

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    NYON, SWITZERLAND - AUGUST 06:  The UEFA Champions League trophy is displayed after the UEFA Champions League play-off draw on August 6, 2010 in Nyon, Switzerland. The play-offs are played over two legs on 17/18 and 24/25 August. The ten play-off winners
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    The best club football competition in the world, the UEFA Champions League, is now finalized after the completion of the qualifying round.

    From seeing Werder Breman's incredible comeback against Sampdoria to Sevilla getting knocked out in the qualifying round, the Champions League this season appears to be extremely special.

    And now that we know where all 32 Champions League sides reside, here is a team-by-team guide to every side in the Champions League, plus who I believe will advance from each group.

Inter Milan (Group A)

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22:  Double goalscorer Diego Milito of Inter Milan celebrates victory after the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 22, 2010 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Won Champions League final by a 2-0 score over Bayern Munich.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Three (1964, 1965, and 2010).

    Key Players: Wesley Sneijder, Julio Cesar, and Samuel Eto'o.

    After breaking a 45 year streak of not winning the European Cup, Inter Milan were able to complete the Italian treble and were the best club in Europe last season.

    Now, manager Jose Mourinho has left for Real Madrid and former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has taken over at the San Siro as Inter look to repeat.

    Going forward this season, Inter will not be as strong as last season with Mourinho gone, but Inter are definitely a favorite to repeat again this season.

Werder Bremen (Group A)

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07: Marko Marin of Werder Bremen during a Friendly match between Fulham and Werder Bremen at Craven Cottage on August 7, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
    Phil Cole/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Marko Marin, Tim Wiese, and Torsten Frings.

    After making an unbelievable comeback against Sampdoria in the final qualifying round, Werner Bremen now find themselves in one of the toughest groups in the Champions League with the defending champion Inter Milan, Twente, and Tottenham.

    Overall, Breman might have gotten rid of some of their best players (most notably Mesut Ozil) during this summer, a feature that works against Bremen.

    Due to this reason, I feel that it will be extremely hard for Bremen to advance, but then again they did stun the world once and it wouldn't be surprising if they did it again.

Tottenham Hotspur (Group A)

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Peter Crouch of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates with team mates as he scores their thrid goal during the UEFA Champions League play-off second leg match between Tottenham Hotspur and BSC Young Boys at White Hart Lane on August 2
    Clive Rose/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Jermaine Defoe, Gareth Bale, and Niko Kranjcar.

    After a great comeback from being down to Young Boys in the final qualifying round, Spurs find themselves in the Champions League for the first time ever.

    Spurs have some great offensive power (which was apparent last season) but they can struggle at times against inferior opponents, a factor that could work against Spurs in the long run.

    But as long as Spurs can keep their heads up and play like they did at White Hart Lane several nights ago, they should have a spot clinched in the round of 16.

Twente (Group A)

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    KERKRADE, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 06:  Wout Brama of Enschede runs with the ball during the Eredivisie match between Roda and Twente at Parkstad Limburg stadium on August 6, 2010 in Kerkrade, Netherlands.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
    Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Sander Boschker, Bryan Luiz, and Bernard Parker.

    The reigning Eredivisie champions, Twente were able to show the world that they are ready for the big time as they compete in their first ever Champions League.

    Overall, Twente have been able to achieve success in large part due to a great goal differential and consistent play throughout the season.

    Twente can easily make a great run in the Champions League, but will need some luck to reach the round of 16 with the group they are in.

Final Breakdown of Group A

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    At the end of the group stage, Inter will finish first in Group A for the first time since 2007, as they will show why they are the champions throughout the group stage by just being dominant.

    Werner Bremen will finish third, as the loss of Mesut Ozil will cause Breman to finish lower than they probably should.

    Tottenham will finish second, as the White Hart Lane advantage will be invaluable as they will be able to play to their full ability at home.

    And Twente will finish fourth, as they will continue on the recent Dutch legacy of not producing to their best in the Champions League.

Lyon (Group B)

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Maxime Gonalons of Olympique Lyonnais celebrates after Lyonnais' scored their first goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 2nd leg match between  Real Madrid and Olympique Lyonnais at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Marc
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated by Bayern Munich 4-0 on aggregate in semifinals.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Hugo Lloris, Cris, and César Delgado.

    After exceeding all expectations last season as they went onto the Champions League semifinal by getting past the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid, Lyon look to once again make a fantastic run in the Champions League this year.

    Lyon have a squad that works fantastically with each other; a major key for success for any major European side in this competition.

    If Lyon once again play like they did last season, they could reach their first ever Champions League final as they continue to mesh together.

Benfica (Group B)

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    LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 08:  Oscar Cardozo of Benfica celebrates scoring his team's first goal with team mate Sidnei (L) during the UEFA Europa League Quarter Final second leg match between Liverpool and Benfica at Anfield on April 8, 2010 in Liverpool
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Two (1961 and 1962).

    Key Players: Nuno Gomes, David Luiz, and Oscar Cardozo.

    After an absolutely dominant season last season in the Portuguese Liga, Benfica will return to the Champions League this season looking to continue that domination.

    Overall, Benfica were able to do so well in large part due to their incredible goal total as they scored 78 times throughout the season, and had the golden boot winner in Óscar Cardozo with 26.

    In the Champions League, Benfica will be a contender to at least advance from the group stage, but they will need lots of luck to go into the round of 16 with Schalke and Lyon in their group.

Schalke 04 (Group B)

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    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Manuel Neuer, Raul, and Ivan Rakitić.

    After nearly winning their first Bundesliga since 1958, Schalke go into this season with high hopes and the addition of Raul Gonzalez from Real Madrid.

    Last season, Schalke were extremely unlucky to not win the Bundesliga, but they proved to us that they are close to becoming an elite side in Europe.

    Schalke truly could make a deep run in the Champions League this season with a solid squad, but they still will need to put together a fantastic effort if they are to go beyond the quarterfinals.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (Group B)

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    TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - OCTOBER 22:  Hapoel Tel Aviv's Zurab Menteshashvili (15), at right, celebrates his 2nd half goal during their UEFA Europa League group C match between Hapoel Tel Aviv FC and SK Rapid Vienna at Bloomfield stadium on October 22, 2009 in T
    David Silverman/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not compete

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Vincent Enyeama, Itay Shechter, and Walid Badir.

    After qualifying for the Champions League by winning all their matchups from the second qualifying round until now, Hapoel Tel Aviv now find themselves in the Champions League for the first time ever this season.

    Overall, Hapeol did a great job after winning the Israeli Premier League playoff last season, and they deserve to be here after a great year.

    However, Israeli teams have not had that much success in the Champions League before, and that will carry over to this year as they will not advance from the group stage.

Final Breakdown of Group B

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Miralem Pjanic of Olympique Lyon celebrates after scoring Lyonnais' first goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 2nd leg match between Real Madrid and Olympique Lyonnais at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 10, 2010
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Lyon will finish second in Group B, as they will start off inconsistently and that will cause the French side to ultimately finish where they do.

    Benfica will finish third in this group, as they will face some problems scoring without Angel di Maria that will ultimately cost them.

    Schalke will finish first in Group B, as they will be propelled as a hungry squad along with Raul that will want to prove that they are a side to be truly reckoned with.

    And Hapoel Tel Aviv will finish in last, as they are not at the same level as the other European clubs here, and will suffer mightily as a result.

Manchester United (Group C)

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03:  Michael Owen of Manchester United is congratulated by his team mates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Manchester United and CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on Novemb
    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated by Bayern Munich 4-4 on away goals in quarterfinal.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Three (1968,1999, and 2008).

    Key Players: Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, and Nemanja Vidic.

    After two consecutive appearances in the Champions League final, Manchester United found themselves eliminated in the quarterfinal to eventual finalist Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.

    United had some memorable matches such as the 3-2 win over AC Milan in the round of 16 and the 2-1 comeback win against Wolfsburg in the group stage.

    Manchester United did look at times like a side that could claim the Champions League title at Wembley Stadium this upcoming season, but they need the young players to show some more composure if they are to win the Champions League.

Valencia (Group C)

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    VALENCIA, SPAIN - MAY 09:  Ruben Baraja (#8) of Valencia celerbrates after scoring his team's third goal during the La Liga match between Valencia and Real Madrid at the Mestalla Stadium on May 9, 2009 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Imag
    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Cesar, Éver Banega, and Juan Mata.

    After failing to qualify for the Champions League the season before, Valencia returned to the Champions League but will do so without their two best players from last season in David Villa and David Silva over the summer.

    Despite the loss of their two stars, Valencia are still a strong opponent to any side that they may face in the Champions League this season.

    But they will not be able to do as well as they did at the beginning of the 2000s in the Champions League without their two former star players on their side.

Rangers (Group C)

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    EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - APRIL 25:  Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty (L)  celebrates his opening goal during the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League match between Hibernian and Rangers at Easter Road, on April 25, 2010 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Watt
    Wattie Cheung/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in group stage.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Allan McGregor, David Weir, and Rangers.

    After another dominant year in the Scottish Premier League last season, Rangers will now look to finally achieve some success in the Champions League after failing during the last couple of seasons.

    Last season, Rangers were humiliated in a below-average group in the Champions League, and should be extremely hungry to do better this year.

    Overall, this Rangers squad does have what it takes to be a challenger, but they will need to make it to the next level before they can advance onto the knockout stage.

Bursaspor (Group C)

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    BURSA, TURKEY - MAY 16:  Bursaspor players celebrate after winning the Turkish Super League soccer match against Besiktas at Ataturk Stadium  on May 16, 2010 in Bursa, Turkey.  (Photo by Mustafa Ozer/EuroFootball/Getty Images)
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Leonel Núñez, Volkan Şen, and Yavuz Özkan.

    After becoming only the second ever club outside the Istanbul Big Three to win the Turkish Super Lig, Bursaspor now find themselves in the Champions League for the first time.

    Bursaspor were able to succeed last year thanks to timely goals and were able to claim the league title thanks to Fenerbahçe's inability to win their final match against Trabzonspor.

    Last season, Bursaspor were a major upstart in Turkey, and right now it appears that they will have to put together a strong run if they are to reach the knockout stage.

Final Breakdown of Group C

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    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 4:  Ryan Giggs of Manchester United battles with Mikel Arteta of Rangers during the UEFA Champions League match between Manchester United and Rangers at Old Trafford on November 4, 2003 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laur
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Manchester United will win this group, as they will be able to dominate in what will be, for the most part, an easy group.

    Valencia will be able to scrape out a second place finish, as they will get that final spot in the final Champions League match.

    Rangers will finish fourth, as they will continue to show how weak the Scottish Premier League is throughout this Champions League season.

    And Bursaspor will finish third and get a Europa League spot, as they will continue to impress and barely miss out on finishing second.

Barcelona (Group D)

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 06:  Players of Barcelona celebrate their fourth goal scored by Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League quarter final second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal at Camp Nou on April 6, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo b
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated 3-2 on aggregate by Inter Milan in semifinal.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Three (1992, 2006, and 2009).

    Key Players: Lionel Messi, Xavi, and David Villa.

    One of the most entertaining clubs in the world, Barcelona go into this Champions League season as one of the strongest clubs in all of Europe thanks in large part to the best footballer in the world in Lionel Messi on their side.

    Barcelona did get unlucky that Inter got in their way in the semifinal, but Barcelona will not allow that to deter them this season as they look to reclaim their title.

    Barcelona have the best midfield in the world, and for that reason, the Catalan side is a heavy favorite to win the Champions League.

Panathinaikos (Group D)

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    ROME - FEBRUARY 25:  Djibril Cisse' (2ndR) with his teammates of Panathinaikos celebrates the third goal as Claudio Ranieri (L) the coach of AS Roma looks on during the UEFA Europa League Round of 32, 2nd leg match between AS Roma and Panathinaikos on Feb
    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Alexandros Tzorvas, Giorgos Karagounis, and Djibril Cissé.

    After winning the Greek Super League last season, Panathinaikos now head into this Champions League season looking to build on their success from last season.

    Panathinaikos were able to ride the scoring exploits of Djibril Cissé, whose goal total of 23 was twice the total of his closest competitor.

    This season, Panathiaikos will need Cissé to continue his scoring exploits, but they will also need to have  a strong defensive effort throughout the Champions League.

Copenhagen (Group D)

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    COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - AUGUST 25:  Jesper Gronkjaer of FC Copenhagen during the Champions League Play-off match between FC Copenaghen and Rosenborg on August 25, 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Dame N'Doye, Hjalte Nørregaard, and Jesper Grønkjær.

    After winning the Danish SuperLiga for a second consecutive season, Copenhagen now find themselves in the easiest Champions League group, and they will have high hopes of winning the league.

    Last season, Copenhagen scored the most goals in the SuperLiga and also conceded the fewest goals in the SuperLiga, a major reason why they succeeded so much.

    Due to the group they are in, Copenhagen could have tons of success but the important thing here for them will be just to play like they do in their domestic league.

Rubin Kazan (Group D)

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    MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 17: Christian Noboa (C) of FC Rubin Kazan celebrates after scoring a goal during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Spartak Moscow and FC Rubin Kazan at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 17, 2010 in Moscow, Russia.
    Dmitry Korotayev/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in group stage

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Aleksandr Ryazantsev, MacBeth Sibaya, and Obafemi Martins.

    After surprising many with a fantastic performance in the Champions League last season which included a surprising 2-1 win at Barcelona, Rubin Kazan won their second straight Russian Premier League title and are once again in the Champions League group stage.

    Rubin have been weaker this season, but that still should not deter the Russian champions, as they proved last season that they are not afraid of anyone.

    Rubin can advance into the round of 16 with this group, but will need to play incredible to make it into the quarterfinal due to the Russian Premier League's season ending in December and restarting in March.

Final Breakdown of Group D

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 20:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) of FC Barcelona scores his sides equalizing goal past Roman Sharonov of FC Rubin Kazan during the UEFA Champions League group F match between FC Barcelona and FC Rubin Kazan at the Camp Nou Stadium on
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Barcelona will win this group, as they will prove to everyone that they are the strongest club in the world and Lionel Messi will once again show us his brilliance.

    Panathinaikos will get the Europa League spot as they will play solid football but will not be able to get into the round of 16.

    Copenhagen will finish last in this group, as they will find themselves struggling throughout the group stage.

    And defending Russian Premier League champion Rubin Kazan will finish second, as they will prove that last year was no fluke and they are a force to be reckoned with.

Bayern Munich (Group E)

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    LYON, FRANCE - APRIL 27:  Ivica Olic (2nd R) of Bayern Muenchen celebrates with Philipp Lahm and teammates after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League semi final second leg match between Olympique Lyonnais and Bayern Muenchen at t
    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Lost Champions League final 2-0 to Inter Milan.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Four (1974, 1975, 1976, and 2001).

    Key Players: Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, and Phillip Lahm.

    A young side that is filled with quality, Bayern Munich only showed us a glimpse of what they can do last season as they won the German Double and went all the way to the Champions League final.

    Bayern have a fantastic attack led by reigning World Cup Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller, and are truly one of the top sides in Europe.

    If Bayern's youth continues to develop at the rate it did last season, then it could easily win the Champions League final.

AS Roma (Group E)

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    MILAN, ITALY - AUGUST 21:  AS Roma players celebrate a goal during the Supercoppa Italiana match between Inter and Roma at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on August 21, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not compete last season

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Mirko Vučinić, Francesco Totti, and Daniele De Rossi.

    After a great season last season, Roma return to the Champions League after a year hiatus as they look to be a strong challenger in the Champions League this season.

    Roma proved last season that they are an extremely strong side after a great season in Serie A, and they do have what it takes to do well this season.

    If Roma can make the Champions League their number one priority, they easily could make a deep run this season.

Basel (Group E)

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    SWITZERLAND, ZURICH - APRIL 25:  Carlitos of FC Basel 1893 during the Swiss Super League match between Grasshopper Club and FC Basel at Letzigrund Stadium on April 25, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland.   (Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / EuroFootball / Getty Images
    EuroFootball/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Franco Costanzo, Gilles Yapi, and Aleander Frei.

    After winning the Swiss Super League last season, Basel will find themselves back in the Champions League following a year hiatus.

    Last season, Basel were able to get 90 goals in 36 matches, which was a major factor why Basel were able to win the league.

    In the Champions League this season, Basel could easily make it into the Europa League due to their group stage, but they could always cause a massive upset and manage their way into the round of 16 with some strong football.

CFR Cluj (Group E)

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    CLUJ-NAPOCA, ROMANIA - AUGUST 13:  Dani of CFR 1907 Cluj in action during the Liga 1 match between CFR 1907 Cluj and Astra Ploiesti at Constantin Radulescu Stadium on August 13, 2010 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Cadu, Nuno Claro, and Cristian Bud.

    The winners of Romania's Liga I last season, Cluj will look to have more success in the Champions League than in 2008, when they finished last in their group.

    Overall, Cluj were able to achieve success in Romania last season thanks to a strong defensive effort that led Cluj to winning the league by one point over Unirea Urziceni.

    If Cluj can do this in the Champions League, they could have success in the Champions League this season, but it will be hard to see Cluj advance from the group stage.

Final Breakdown of Group E

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 22: Arjen Robben of Bayern Muenchen is comforted by UEFA president Michel Platini after their defeat at the end of the UEFA Champions League Final match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Inter Milan at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Bayern Munich will dominate in this group, finishing first and will show us the form that was a major reason why they went onto the Champions League final last year.

    Roma will also advance, being in the second spot, as they will show consistency that could help them make a deep run in the Champions League.

    Basel will play solid but they do not have the quality of Bayern or Roma, and that will be huge as they go onto the Europa League.

    And Cluj will show glimpses of promise, but will fail to advance onto anything.

Chelsea (Group F)

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    LONDON - OCTOBER 21:  Salomon Kalou of Chelsea (2R)celebrates with Frank Lampard (8), Nicolas Anelka (39) and Juliano Belletti  (35) as he scores their first goal during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid at Stamfo
    Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in Round of 16 to Inter Milan by 3-1 score on aggregate.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Didier Drogba, John Terry, and Petr Cech.

    After winning the English double last season, Chelsea will try to return back to at least the Champions League semifinals, where they finished for the last three seasons before falling in the round of 16 to eventual champion Inter Milan.

    Chelsea of course are one of the top squads in all of football, and will be looking to become the first ever club to win the European Cup from London this season.

    If Chelsea can show us that they will not allow some extraordinary event to happen to them, they certainly will be a heavy favorite to win the Champions League.

Marseille (Group F)

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    MARSEILLE, FRANCE - MARCH 12: Benoit Cheyrou (L) celebrates scoring the first goal with Ismaila Taiwo Taye (r) during the Uefa Cup last sixteen first leg match between Olympique Marseille and Ajax at the Stade Velodrome on March 12, 2009 in Marseille,Fran
    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in group stage

    Champions League/European Cups Won: One (1993)

    Key Players: Steve Mandanda, Gabriel Heinze, and Loic Remy.

    After a disappointing run in the Champions League last season, Marseille were able to complete the French double of Ligue 1 and Coupe de la Ligue last season. Marseille go into this season with their eyes on Champions League success after a premature knockout last season.

    Of course, Marseille did compete in the Europa League last season, where they were eliminated by Benfica in the round of 32, and they look to perform better this season.

    This season, Marseille certainly can make a good run in the Champions League, but they will need complete dedication if they are to live up to their full ability.

Spartak Moscow (Group F)

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    MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 21: Ari (L) and Zhano Ananidze of FC Spartak Moscow celebrate after scoring a goal during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Spartak and FC Sibir at the Luzhniki Stadium on July 21, 2010 in Moscow, Russia.  (Ph
    Epsilon/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Martin Jiránek, Welliton, and Soslan Dzhanayev

    After a solid season in the Russian Premier League last year, Spartak Moscow now head into the Champions League looking to help Russia continue its great play in Europe's top league.

    Last season, Spartak Moscow were able to finish second in the RPL thanks in large part to a strong offensive effort from golden boot winner Welliton's 21 goals.

    Spartak Moscow can really succeed in the Champions League if they continue that offensive effort, but they will need their defense to play to their full ability if they are to succeed in the Champions League.

MSK Žilina (Group F)

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    PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - AUGUST 17:  Tomas Oravec of MSK Zilina during the Champions League Play-off match between Sparta Prague and Zilina at Generali Arena on August 17, 2010 in Prague, Czech Republic.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Róbert Jež, Martin Dúbravka, and Tomáš Majtán.

    After winning the Slovak SuperLiga last season, MSK Žilina go into this Champions League season with the expectation that this first Champions League campaign will be as great as they can make it.

    Last season, Žilina relied not only on scoring 59 goals to win the league, but by only conceding 17 goals, they also proved that there is a strong defensive emphasis on this side.

    Even though the odds are completely against them, Žilina can always be a surprise side and could make it into the round of 16 if they are as good as their league record implies

Final Breakdown of Group F

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    8 Mar 2000:  Frank Leboeuf of Chelsea holds off Yannick Fischer of Marseille during the UEFA Champions League group D match at Stamford Bridge in London. Chelsea won 1-0. \ Mandatory Credit: Graham Chadwick /Allsport
    Graham Chadwick/Getty Images

    Chelsea will be able to be dominant in this group, and should win the group with ease.

    Marseille will finish second, but will be challenging with Spartak Moscow until the ending for that second spot.

    Spartak Moscow will make it into the Europa League as they will barely miss out on getting that final round of 16 spot.

    And Žilina will finish in last place, but will be able to impress with their heart.

AC Milan (Group G)

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    MILAN, ITALY - MAY 15:  Players of AC Milan celebrate  their team's third goal scored by Ronaldinho during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Juventus FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 15, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Imag
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in round of 16 to Manchester United on aggregate by 7-2 score.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Seven (1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, and 2007).

    Key Players: Ronaldinho, Alexandre Pato, and Andrea Pirlo.

    After a solid season last year, Milan saw the departure of Leonardo as their manager and now have Massimiliano Allegri as their new manager for this season.

    Milan did get stronger as the season went on, but they still need more development as they still are not a unified squad.

    Milan do have what it takes to do well in the Champions League, but will need lots of luck if they are to do as well as the Milan sides of last decade did in the Champions League.

Real Madrid (Group G)

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    MADRID, SPAIN - MARCH 10:  Gonzalo Higuain (L) of Real Madrid trudges back to the half way line with his team mates Kaka (R) and Jose Maria Gutierrez after conceding a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Real Madrid
    Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated in round of 16 2-1 on aggregate to Lyon.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Nine (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, and 2002).

    Key Players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, and Gonzalo Higuain.

    After another disappointing season in which they failed to reach the Champions League quarterfinal despite the start of the new Galaticos era, Real Madrid will look for their tenth European title this season.

    Real Madrid of course have a new manager in Jose Mourinho, who is replacing lame duck manager Manuel Pellegrini after a major disappointment last season.

    Now, Real Madrid are certainly a major contender to win the Champions League with this side, but they first must make sure to play up to their potential throughout the entire Champions League season.

Ajax (Group G)

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    THESSALONIKI, GREECE - AUGUST 04:  Oleguer Presas of Ajax during the Uefa Champions League qualifying match between Paok and Ajax at Toumba Stadium on August 4, 2010 in Thessaloniki, Greece.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
    Getty Images/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: Four (1971, 1972, 1973, and 1995).

    Key Players: Luis Suarez, Maarten Stekelenburg, and Gregory van der Wiel.

    After a fantastic goal scoring streak last season, Ajax will move into this Champions League campaign looking to keep up their scoring record in Europe's premier competition.

    Overall, Ajax nearly won the Eredivisie but with the scoring exploits of Luis Suarez, Ajax can really compete with anyone.

    Overall, Ajax can advance if Suarez continues his scoring exploits and Maarten Stekelenburg plays like he did in the World Cup for the Netherlands.

Auxerre (Group G)

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    AUXERRE, FRANCE - AUGUST 07:  Delvin Ndinga of Auxerre in action during  the Ligue 1 match between Auxerre and Lorient at Abbe-Deschamp Stadium on August 7, 2010 in Auxerre, France.  (Photo by Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images)
    Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Olivier Sorin, Benoît Pedretti, and Ireneusz Jeleń.

    After a great season last year, Auxerre now find themselves in the Champions League looking to succeed in Group G (the group of death).

    Auxerre were able to be great in large part by allowing only 29 goals, the least amount in Ligue 1.

    Even though the odds are against them, Auxerre will look to prove everyone wrong by pulling an incredible run into the knockout stage against two of Europe's superpowers.

Final Breakdown of Group G

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    MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 03:  Kaka of Real Madrid is tackled by Massimo Ambrosini of AC Milan during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between AC Milan and Real Madrid at the San Siro on November 3, 2009 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty
    Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    AC Milan will finish second in this group, as they continue to get the right mix of players to get the Rossoneri back to their standing as a European superpower.

    For Real Madrid, they will coast onto the top spot in this group, with Jose Mourinho inspiring Los Blancos to be their best.

    Ajax will clinch a Europa League spot and will show that they are going to be a great squad for years to come if they can stay together.

    Sadly for Auxerre, they will fail to do anything special as they will finish in last place.

Arsenal (Group H)

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Samir Nasri (R) of Arsenal celebrates with teammate Nicklas Bendtner after scoring his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 match between Arsenal and FC Porto at the Emirates Stadium on March 9, 2010
    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Eliminated 6-3 on aggregate to Barcelona in quarterfinals.

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, and Theo Walcott

    A young squad that is just bursting at the seams with potential, Arsenal found themselves eliminated to a great Barcelona squad (and Lionel Messi) in the round of 16.

    Now, Arsenal will look to their always strong attacking style of football to produce the results that they desire as they have a vulnerable defense.

    If Arsenal's young guns flex their muscles enough, Arsenal could easily go to the quarterfinals and beyond.

Shakhtar Donetsk (Group H)

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    PARMA, ITALY - AUGUST 10: Players of FC Shakhtar Donetsk celebrate their first goal scored by Marcelo Moreno during preseason friendly match between Parma and Shakhtar Donetsk at Ennio Tardini Stadium on August 10, 2010 in Parma, Italy.  (Photo by Massimo
    Massimo Cebrelli/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Eduardo, Darijo Srna, and Luiz Adriano.

    The winners of the Europa League in 2009, Shakhtar Donetsk are now back in the Champions League after a two year hiatus as they look to succeed in Europe's top competition.

    Overall, Donetsk are a side that do have some great offensive firepower and they have already proven that they can compete with the best sides in Europe with that Europa Cup title.

    If Donetsk can show us that they are a club that can have success outside of the Europa League, then they could be the surprise side of the tournament.

Braga (Group H)

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    BRAGA, PORTUGAL - AUGUST 18:  SC Braga Team line up prior to the UEFA Champions League Play-offs match between SC Braga and Sevilla FC at Estadio Municipal de Braga on August 18, 2010 in Braga, Portugal.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
    Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Albert Meyong, José Márcio da Costa, and Artur Moraes.

    A club that did not have high expectations going into the Champions League playoff rounds, Braga were able to beat Celtic and stun Sevilla to get into the Champions League group stage.

    Overall, Braga have shown that they are ready to take it to any side in the Champions League (which was extremely apparent against Sevilla), and will not be afraid of Arsenal in this group stage.

    As long as Braga keep up their hunger, they will have some incredible success in the Champions League.

Partizan Belgrade (Group H)

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    BELGRADE, SERBIA - AUGUST 18:  Sasa Ilic of FK Partizan during the Champions League Play-off match between Partizan and Anderlecht at Partizan Stadium on August 18, 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Result in Champions League last season: Did not qualify

    Champions League/European Cups Won: None

    Key Players: Saša Ilić, Almami Moreira, and Mladen Krstajić.

    After making it into the Champions League group stage following winning their way from the second qualifying round, Partizan Belgrade will look to advance from Group H to the round of 16 here.

    Overall, Partizan were able to win the Serbian SuperLiga last season in large part due to their great goalscoring and allowing the fewest goals in the league with 14.

    Even though they are in a tough group, Belgrade can certainly make a major upset and have some real success, but they will need a lot of luck to advance.

Final Breakdown of Group H

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    20 Sep 2000:  Dainius Gleveckas (#3) of Shakhtar Donetsk is challenged by Sylvain Wiltord of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League match at Highbury in London.  Arsenal won the match 3-2. \ Mandatory Credit: Dave Cannon /Allsport
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Arsenal will finish in first, as they will completely dominate this group and will show us exactly how dominant they can be at times.

    Shakhtar Donetsk will land in the Europa League again as they will find themselves not up to par to compete in the Champions League.

    Braga will finish second, as they will continue their great run here and will prove to the world that they are no fluke side; they are the real deal.

    And with Belgrade, they will finish last in this group, as they will find themselves not up to the quality of these sides and will suffer as a result.