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Thursday Hoddle of Coffee, Soccer News and Notes, August 24, 2017

Brace yourself for a Group of Death

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League - Q1 and Q2 Qualifying Round Draw Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

The Champions League group stage draw is here. The Guardian has a rundown on who the six British sides in this year’s competition (the five EPL sides plus Brendan Rodgers’ Scottish champions Celtic) could face in their group.

Here are our possible opponents:

  • Seeds: Real Madrid, Bayern, Juventus, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow
  • Pot two: Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Porto
  • Pot four: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting, APOEL, Feyenoord, Maribor, Qarabag, RB Leipzig

If you look at that and think “well shit,” then you are basically on the same page as the masthead. We could easily draw something like Real Madrid, PSG, and RB Leipzig.

On the other hand, we could also get lucky—only three of the teams in Pot 1 are legit terrifying. Benfica, Shakhtar, Monaco, and Spartak are very manageable. Pot 2 is nastier, but even there Sevilla and Porto are less scary opposition. So while we could get a group of death, we could also get something like Benfica, Sevilla, and Maribor or, more difficult but still manageable, something like Monaco, Atletico, and Feyenoord.

Of course, I’m a Spurs fan so I have braced myself for the worst: Let’s get excited for Real Madrid, PSG, and a totally obnoxious trip to Azerbaijan for Qarabag!


Target is shifting its sponsorship money in American sports from NASCAR to soccer.

A lovely chipped goal from Darlington Nagbe:

Since Barcelona bought a crappy 29-year-old box-to-box midfielder that totally means they can sell a versatile home-grown player who is five years younger and far superior technically, right?

Speaking of our eventual group stage opponents Qarabag, here’s an article about them.

Apparently Barcelona is now taking transfer target recommendations from people who hack them on Twitter. The club is reportedly close to signing Angel Di Maria.