It’s that time of year again, when the entire footballing world gathers around to watch grown men pull plastic balls out of glass bowls after hours of time-wasting award shows with uncharismatic athletes giving boring acceptance speeches. It might not be the average fan’s idea of a good time, but it’s all ultimately for a good end: finding out who BVB will face in their quest for European glory in the Champions League Group Stage.
The competition is going to be stacked this year, and the fact that Dortmund’s UEFA coefficient has landed the club in pot 3 means the club is virtually guaranteed to draw two very difficult opponents. Here is the entirety of the draw, including teams that BVB cannot draw in the group stage:
Dortmund cannot draw Bayern Munich or Eintracht Frankfurt, as two clubs from the same domestic competition cannot draw each other. The remaining clubs are:
- Real Madrid (UCL/La Liga Champions)
- Manchester City (EPL Champions)
- AC Milan (Serie A Champions)
- Paris Saint-Germain (Ligue 1 Champions)
- Porto (Primeira Liga Champions)
- Ajax (Eredivisie Champions)
None of these clubs would be easy per se, although Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain would probably be the three strongest opponents. Then again, given how Ajax ripped apart BVB last season, I wouldn’t want to draw them either!
Pot 2, on aggregate, looks almost as strong as Pot 1, maybe even more so. Pot 2 is filled exclusively with title challengers from the EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, and Serie A. There is not a single team in this group that BVB would easily beat.
Of the clubs in Pot 2, RB Leipzig is the only one that Dortmund can’t draw. The others are:
Liverpool (EPL, 2nd Place)
Chelsea (EPL, 3rd Place)
Barcelona (La Liga, 2nd Place)
Juventus (Serie A, 4th Place)
Atletico Madrid (La Liga, 3rd Place)
Sevilla (La Liga, 4th Place)
Tottenham (EPL, 4th Place)
That is a daunting list of opponents if I’ve ever seen one. It’s hard to say which of these clubs would be the “easiest.” I’m leaning towards Juventus, Tottenham, or Sevilla, the three fourth-place finishers, but I know each squad is more than capable of taking BVB head-on.
The hardest opponent of this group, in my opinion, will be Liverpool. I know they’re off to a slow start in the league, but they simply have so much talent and have been one of the best teams in Europe in recent years. Knowing our luck, though, Dortmund will draw Barcelona and we will have to face Robert Lewandowski once again.
I look at this pot, and I see a lot of clubs that are going to finish 0-6-0. That doesn’t mean that they can’t put up a tough fight; but with the quality on display in the other pots, I think it will be really tough for any off these clubs to make it out of the group stage.
Here are Dortmund’s potential opponents:
Celtic (Scottish Premiership Champions)
Club Brugge (Belgian Champions)
Dinamo Zagreb (Croatian Champions)
F.C. Copenhagen (Danish Champions)
Rangers (Scottish Premiership, 2nd Place)
Viktoria Plzen (Czech Champions)
Maccabi Haifa (Israeli Champions)
Olympique Marseille (Ligue 1, 2nd Place)
It’s always tough to judge how well these types of pot 4 clubs will perform. To be honest, I don’t know anything about Dinamo Zagreb or Maccabi Haifa. I assume that BVB should be able to beat all of them, but then again, BVB should have been able to beat Werder Bremen, and they didn’t.
If I had to pick one club not to pick, it would be Olympique Marseille. Ligue 1 is stronger than people think and they finished 2nd, and have some decent players.