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City draw Juve in group stage

27 August 2010

City were drawn into Group A, along with Juventus, Red Bull Salzburg, and Lech Poznań.

Somehow I missed the draw this morning. I guess I thought it was at noon ET like the Champions League draw. In any case, initially I was surprised that City would be paired with another of the favorites to win the competition.

It turns out City were in Pot 2 for the draw — and nearly in Pot 3. This is because the seeding is done using UEFA’s club coefficients, and City rank 55th in Europe right now. In fact, the only thing keeping City from dopping to a lower pot is making the UEFA Cup quarterfinal two seasons ago.

(Interestingly, a nice run in the Europa League this season could see City positioned much better when they hopefully make their Champions League debut next season. Had they taken care of business at home against Spurs last May, City would have been found themselves near the bottom of Pot 3 for the Champions League draw. Making the Europa League final might give them enough points to make it into Pot 2 of next season’s Champions League draw.)

City were drawn into Group A of the Europa League group stage, along with Italian giants Juventus, failed Champions League qualifiers Red Bull Salzburg of Austria, and Polish champions Lech Poznań. They’ll play the group stage games in the following order (remember, home side listed first):

16 September – Red Bull Salzburg v. City
30 September – City v. Juventus
21 October – City v. Lech Poznań
4 November – Lech Poznań v. City
1 December – City v. Red Bull Salzburg
16 December – Juventus v. City

With both Juve and City in the group, it’s definitely the glamour group, if such a thing is possible in the Europa League. Then again, it honestly might be a better group than Group H of the Champions League this season: Arsenal, Shakhtar Donestk, Braga, and Partizan.

Like the Champions League group stage, the top two sides in each group progress. Unlike the Champions League, however, where you know the winner of one group will face second place from another group in the knockout stages, the Europa League does a fresh draw for the beginning of the knockout stage. The reason for this is simple: eight third-place sides from the Champions League group stages (Spurs, this means you.) will be joining the Europa League at that point.

It should be a great atmosphere at Eastlands when the Old Lady comes to town on September 30. Then Mario Balotelli gets to enjoy another round of racial abuse from those enlightened Juventus supporters on the final match day on December 16. Playing in Poland isn’t going to be a picnic, but with Juve a shell of their former selves, this is a group City should win. Hopefully DirecTV has the same excellent Europa League package they did last season.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Andy Glockner permalink
    27 August 2010 6.13pm

    City now joins Bayern Munich in the “see if they can do as well as Fulham” Cup fun. I’ll bet Wayne Rooney’s jealous that the other Manc side gets the Old Lady.

  2. 27 August 2010 6.20pm

    I’m pretty sure trumpeting a club’s success in a cup competition they failed to win would be filed under “Massive Underhanded Compliment.”

    • Andy Glockner permalink
      27 August 2010 7.08pm

      I meant that City is facing a Fulham opponent from last year, much like Bayern drew Roma and Basel in group play, but when your mercenaries make it to the Cup final after knocking out four major sides, you can scoff at Fulham’s accomplishments.

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