Previous
Zenit St Petersburg
AS Monaco
0
0
FT
Game Details
Atletico Madrid
Juventus
1
0
FT
Game Details
Malmo FF
Olympiakos
2
0
FT
Game Details
FC Basel
Liverpool
1
0
FT
Game Details
Ludogorets Razgrad
Real Madrid
1
2
FT
Game Details
Bayer Leverkusen
Benfica
3
1
FT
Game Details
Anderlecht
Borussia Dortmund
0
3
FT
Game Details
Arsenal
Galatasaray
4
1
FT
Game Details
Leeds United
Reading
0
0
FT
Game Details
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Huddersfield Town
1
3
FT
Game Details
Fulham
Bolton Wanderers
4
0
FT
Game Details
Puebla
UNAM
1
2
FT
Game Details
America
Veracruz
2
0
FT
Game Details
Morelia
Pachuca
0
1
FT
Game Details
Chiapas
U. de G.
1
1
FT
Game Details
Tijuana
Cruz Azul
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ottawa Fury FC
Atlanta Silverbacks
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bahia
César Vallejo
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Atlético Nacional
EC Vitória
2
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Emelec
Goiás EC
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
San Lorenzo
Olimpo de Bahía Blanca
2
0
FT
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Independiente
2
0
LIVE 90' +3'
Game Details
Crucero del Norte
Sp. Belgrano
1
0
FT
Game Details
All Boys
Sarmiento de Junín
1
0
FT
Game Details
Santa Marina
Atlético Tucumán
1
0
FT
Game Details
Unión de Santa Fe
Patronato
0
0
FT
Game Details
Boca Unidos
Colón de Santa Fe
0
0
FT
Game Details
Instituto de Córdoba
Guaraní A. Franco
1
1
FT
Game Details
Independiente Rivadavia
Huracán
1
1
FT
Game Details
Gimnasia y Esgrima de Jujuy
Aldosivi
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cruzeiro
ABC
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Botafogo
Santos FC
2
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Corinthians
Atlético MG
2
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
América RN
Flamengo
0
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Atlético Bucaramanga
Deportivo Pereira
1
1
FT
Game Details
Los Caimanes
Inti Gas Deportes
0
0
FT
Game Details
Unión Comercio
Universitario de Deportes
2
0
FT
Game Details
Sporting Cristal
Real Garcilaso
1
1
FT
Game Details
León de Huánuco
César Vallejo
Postp
Game Details
Guaraní
3 de Febrero
2
3
FT
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Sportivo Luqueño
1
3
FT
Game Details
Libertad
Nacional
0
0
FT
Game Details
General Díaz
Olimpia
1
1
FT
Game Details
Mushuc Runa
U. Católica
2
0
FT
Game Details
Manta F.C.
Barcelona
2
4
FT
Game Details
Olmedo
Club Deportivo Cuenca
2
2
FT
Game Details
El Nacional
LDU Quito
0
0
FT
Game Details
Independiente del Valle
Deportivo Quito
2
0
FT
Game Details
Club Petrolero de Yacuiba
The Strongest
2
1
FT
Game Details
San José
Oriente Petrolero
3
0
FT
Game Details
Western Sydney Wanderers
FC Seoul
2
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Saprissa
Alajuelense
0
2
FT
Game Details
CD Dragon
Alianza FC
0
0
FT
Game Details
Pasaquina FC
Juventud Independiente
8:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Santa Tecla
Metapan
2
2
FT
Game Details
Atletico Marte
Aguila
0
0
FT
Game Details
CD FAS
Universidad de El Salvador
2
2
FT
Game Details
Valledupar F.C.
Atlético Junior
2
3
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Patriotas F.C.
Once Caldas
2
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Next
 Posted by Rob Train
Aug 28, 2014

A deceptive Champions League draw for Real

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop predicts the sleepers and biggest disappointments for this year's group stage.

The faintest flicker of a smile betrayed Emilio Butragueño at the Champions League draw in Monaco after Real Madrid narrowly avoided Juventus by drawing FC Basel out of Pot 2, one ball before the Italian giants were pulled out of the plastic bowl. The worst of the best had fallen elsewhere. Next to be drawn in Group B alongside the defending champions were Liverpool, followed by Champions League debutants Ludogorets Razgrad, who beat Steaua Bucharest on penalties in dramatic fashion -- defender Cosmin Moti was in goal for the shootout after the sending off of Vladislav Stoyanov, and saved two spot-kicks -- to reach the group stage.

On paper, it is an open invitation to the round of 16 stage for Real, who are the bookmakers' favourites to retain the title despite no team having done so since the current format was introduced in 1992. The last team to win back-to-back European Cups was Arrigo Sacchi's Milan in 1989 and 1990, a team that featured current Real manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Real Madrid received a kind draw in Monaco, albeit with some caveats.

Here's a look at the opponents the Italian who masterminded the Decima will have to get the better of to reach the knock-out stages this season.

FC Basel
Coach: Paolo Sousa
Last Season: Group Stage
Qualified: Swiss champions
Last meeting: N/A

Basel narrowly missed out on a first Champions League knockout phase appearance last season, finishing third in Group E behind Chelsea and Schalke 04. However, six of their eight points were gained by beating Chelsea home and away, so this is not a side cowed by the name of the team on the other side of the halfway line. Jose Mourinho responded to that defeat exactly as he did in losing to Atletico Madrid last season: by buying Basel's best player, Mohamed Salah, who scored in both matches.

Basel has an excellent youth system, which has churned out players such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Alexander Frei, Fabian Frei and Ivan Rakitic. Star striker and captain Marco Streller, who bagged the winner at Stamford Bridge, remains at the St. Jakob Park stadium while there's plenty of European experience in the boots of Fabian Frei, Philipp Degen and former Real defender Walter Samuel.

Basel boast dangerous quality in the Champions League, even since striker Alex Frei left the club.

However, with a market value of less than 50 million euros and just 7.9 million spent on new arrivals -- goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik from Sparta Prague was the biggest splash at three million this summer -- there will be serious questions asked of Ancelotti if anything less than six points is gleaned from the Swiss champions. Was Mourinho guilty of underestimating his opponent? Unlikely, but in any case Ancelotti will have learned from his predecessor's experience.

Liverpool
Manager: Brendan Rodgers
Last season: N/A
Qualified: Premier League runners-up
Last meeting: Round of 16, 2008-09, Liverpool won 5-0 on aggregate

The draw giveth, and the draw taketh away: Real might have dodged a couple of sizeable bullets from Pot 2 but perhaps the most dangerous team in Pot 3, Liverpool, balanced things out a tad. The five-time European champions haven't featured in the Champions League since 2009-10 and this summer lost their best player, Luis Suarez -- arguably one of the finest in the world -- only to replace him with Mario Balotelli.

Liverpool finished runners-up to Manchester City on the final day of the 2013-14 Premier League season, having blown their best chance of a first title in 19 years on the turf at Selhurst Park and Stamford Bridge. A first Champions League campaign in five years is scant reward when third or even fourth would have sufficed, but expect Brendan Rodgers to treat this as Liverpool's main competition this season. City ruthlessly exposed Liverpool's shortcomings in the league last weekend and sans Suárez, they lack a touch of the world-class. Qualification for the Champions League next season would represent a good campaign, despite the outlay of some 110 million pounds on players this summer.

Despite looking less potent so far this season, Liverpool have matched up well with Real in the past.

Liverpool are England's answer to Atletico this season -- a fairly new line-up stripped of its previous cutting edge and therefore an unknown quantity. But as Atletico proved in the Spanish Supercopa, the personnel may change but the ethos doesn't: Diego Simeone's side will press and harry in Europe; Liverpool's best form of defence is attack and with Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho in their front line, any opponent will be on the back foot.

Now for Balotelli. While he may be expected go AWOL at the Hawthorns or Upton Park, European nights against the likes of Real are what he thrives on; the Italian is also world-class, when he can be bothered. This is arguably the match-up of the entire group stage. Who could forget the last time these two met in Europe?

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad
Manager: Georgi Dermendzhiev
Last season: N/A
Qualified: Bulgarian A Group champions
Last meeting: N/A

The worst of scenarios from Pot 4 from Real's point of view would have been AS Roma or Monaco, but Ancelotti's side will instead have to travel to the 8,000-seater Ludogorets Arena to play the Bulgarian champions, who have never before featured in Europe's elite competition. It's an away game that could at least be considered to be just as difficult; Ludogorets beat Dinamo Zagreb and PSV Eindhoven there in last season's Europa League by a 5-0 aggregate and most of Real's players will not have witnessed the intimacy of such a stadium since their youth team days.

Ludogorets parted company with the coach that got them to the Champions League, Stoycho Stoev, less than a month ago and the squad is hardly full of household names -- a smattering of second- or third-tier Brazilians, the wonderfully named Wanderson among them -- former Celta winger Dani Abalo and Brayan Angulo, of Granada and Depor fame respectively, are about the only faces Real may find vaguely familiar.

Still, in last season's Europa League Dermendzhiev oversaw an unbeaten group stage, amassing 16 points and a goal difference of plus-nine. Perhaps the best gauge of Ludogorets' European pedigree is the last-16 defeat inflicted by Valencia -- 4-0 on aggregate -- or the fact that Basel thumped them 6-2 over two legs in the Champions League playoffs, relegating the Bulgarian outfit to the consolation competition in the first place.

Rob Train

Rob Train is a freelance football writer who lives in the Spanish capital, covers Real Madrid for ESPN and contributes to a number of other publications.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.