Monday, April 24, 2017

My Revamped Champions League Group Stage

 Pot 1
Spain Real Madrid[TH]176.142
Spain Barcelona159.142
England Leicester City15.256
Germany Bayern Munich163.035
Italy Juventus107.087
Portugal Benfica116.616
France Paris Saint-Germain112.549
Russia CSKA Moscow48.71

Spain Atlético Madrid144.142
Germany Borussia Dortmund110.035
England Arsenal105.256
England Manchester City[LR]99.256
Spain Sevilla95.642
Portugal Porto[LR]92.616
Italy Napoli90.087
Germany Bayer Leverkusen89.035

Pot 2
Switzerland Basel87.755
England Tottenham Hotspur74.256
Ukraine Dynamo Kyiv65.976
France Lyon63.049
Netherlands PSV Eindhoven57.112
Portugal Sporting CP51.616
Belgium Club Brugge43.000
Germany Borussia Mönchengladbach[LR]42.035
Scotland Celtic[CR]40.460
France Monaco[LR]36.549
Turkey Beşiktaş34.920
Poland Legia Warsaw[CR]28.000
Croatia Dinamo Zagreb[CR]25.775
Bulgaria Ludogorets Razgrad[CR]25.625
Denmark Copenhagen[CR]24.720
Russia Rostov[LR]11.716

Pot 3
Spain Villarreal60.142
   Italy Roma41.587
Greece Olympiacos70.940
Romania Astra Giurgiu11.076League Route
Netherlands Ajax58.112
Belgium Anderlecht54.000
Turkey Fenerbahçe40.920
Greece PAOK37.440
France Monaco36.549
Switzerland Young Boys24.755
Russia Rostov11.716

Pot 4 
Cyprus APOEL35.935
Belarus BATE Borisov34.000
Azerbaijan Qarabağ13.475
Norway Rosenborg12.850
Kazakhstan Astana12.575
Moldova Sheriff Tiraspol10.575
Serbia Red Star Belgrade7.175
Georgia (country) Dinamo Tbilisi5.875
Iceland FH5.750
Slovakia Trenčín5.400
Luxembourg F91 Dudelange5.050
Lithuania Žalgiris Vilnius4.925
Israel Hapoel Be'er Sheva4.725
Slovenia Olimpija Ljubljana4.625
Republic of Macedonia Vardar4.200
Sweden IFK Norrköping3.975

So in this new format, the easiest group possible would be CSKA Moscow, Copenhagen, Young Boys  and IFK Norrkoping. To think that one of those teams would have to win the group would be exciting for all four teams. I will admit, last years Swedish Champions might struggle a bit but not to the extent that Malmo struggled the past few years. 

The easiest group possible in the current format this year would have been CSKA Moscow, Bayern Leverkusen, Club Brugge and Legia Warsaw. The odds of that group coming to fruition was slim to none and at the end of the day, I doubt that group would have been competitive anyway. 

A larger group stage opens up the door for more competitive matches. The Champions League Group Stage isn't competitive right now not because the lower teams are bad, but more so because their are too many strong teams with only 8 groups. 

Creating a 64 team group stage isn't ideal but it gives the lower level teams a way bigger chance at avoiding strong teams. 

Lets face it, Ludogorets Razgrad had no chance at getting out of Group A this year which featured Arsenal, PSG and Basel. Placed in Pot 4 and drew two strong teams and to be honest fared decently all things considered. 

Not saying at all that every group would be competitive but the chances are higher. A tough group in the new format would be Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Roma and Red Bull Salzburg. Based on the numbers that would be the hardest group possible. 

If you still don't believe me, simulate a draw yourself. The 32 team group stage is horrid for UEFA right now because the Top 16 are so much better than the next 16 teams in UEFA. This format would make European nights fun again in smaller countries. As of now, too many countries have long droughts of not competing in the group stage. That needs to change, UEFA needs to grow soccer in their 55 countries. Not just the three cities that are named Barcelona, Madrid and Munich. 

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