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Thursday, 30 August 2012 10:32

FC Porto, Benfica and Braga await Champions League draw with bated breath

Weighty Portuguese presence in Europe’s foremost competition

ChampsLgLogo.jpgFootball fans throughout Europe will be glued to their televisions, Internet streams or radios this afternoon as the 2012/13 edition of the Champions League group stage draw takes place (beginning at 5.45 pm CET). Interest will be especially keen in Portugal, with three teams involved, not to mention over a score of Portuguese players and coaches plying their trade abroad.
 
Before a ball has been drawn, all three Portuguese representatives will feel they have a shot at making it to the knockout stages of the world’s greatest club competition. FC Porto are among the top seeds, while Benfica and Braga are in Pot 2.
 
Elsewhere other Portuguese protagonists who will be among the favourites to triumph in the Wembley final in May are Ronaldo, Pepe and Fábio Coentrão, playing under José Mourinho at Real Madrid, Manchester United’s Nani, and the Luso contingent at the reigning champions Chelsea: Raul Meireles, Paulo Ferreira and Hilário.
 
Other Portuguese players who will fancy their chances of making a splash in the competition include João Pereira and Ricardo Costa at Valencia, Bruno Alves and Danny at Zenit St. Petersburg and Miguel Veloso at Dynamo Kiev.
 
Greek club Olympiakos are always a difficult opponent, and ex Braga coach Leornardo Jardim will be looking to further his reputation on the biggest stage, as will new recruit, Paulo Machado, who has been on the fringes of the Portugal squad in recent years.
 
Tonel at Dynamo Zagreb and Eliseu and Duda at Malaga are at the party, as are no fewer than six Portuguese players at Romanian champions Cluj: Diogo Valente, Mário Felgueiras, Cadú, Ivo Pinto, Camora and Rui Pedro.
 
The Pots have been divided as follows:
 

Pot 1

Chelsea 
Barcelona
Manchester United
Bayern Munich
Real Madrid
Arsenal
FC PORTO
Milan

Pot 2

Valencia
BENFICA
Shakhtar Donetsk
Zenit
Schalke 04
Manchester City
BRAGA
Dynamo Kiev

Pot 3

Olympiakos
Ajax
Anderlecht
Juventus
Lille
Spartak Moscow
PSG
Galatasaray

Pot 4

Celtic 
Dortmund
BATE Borisov
Dynamo Zagreb
Cluj
Malaga
Montpellier
Nordsjaelland
 
Follow the fortunes of Portugal’s finest in the Champions League throughout the season at PortuGOAL.net.
 
Tom Kundert
 

Comments (3)
If....
3 Thursday, 30 August 2012 13:51
Porto draws Juventus that will be 2 fantastic games and i hope we avoid Man City in the group stage.
UCL
2 Thursday, 30 August 2012 12:42
It's absolutely brilliant to have all three Portuguese teams in the group stages - I think (providing the draw is kind) that maybe Porto and Benfica are better equipped to progress to the knock out stages, no disrespect to Braga at all. But who knows? Braga may surprise us and it would be massive for Portuguese football if all three teams progressed, however, that is a big ask as there is quality teams in each of the four pots and as we know, no game is easy in this competition.
Portuguese futebol well represented..
1 Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:01
It is great to have 3 teams in the CL for the first time. I mentioned in an earlier post how much the Liga has caught up with Serie A, and this week absolutely confirms it, as Braga deservedly knocked out Udinese to take the third spot in the CL from Serie A. In fact our top 3 or 4 can really match up to the top 3 or 4 of any league in Europe, even Spain (Real and Barca at the end of last season didn't turn out to be as invincible as some thought!) What makes our Liga weaker is that Portugal is a small country and doesn't have many big clubs. But i repeat our biggest clubs can compete with the very best.

All 3 clubs have a chance to make an impact on the CL this season, and it's great all 3 are in Pots 1 and 2. I was surprised to see Braga in Pot 2, and that could help them avoid some stronger teams in the draw. Porto will be desperate to improve on last season's disappointment, and really should do. While Benfica will be looking to at least match last season's quarter-final (as a Benfiquista and looking at the talented squad we have, I am aiming for the semi-finals this season). There are always teams you'd rather avoid in a draw. Teams that come to mind here in the different pots are the likes of Barca, Real, Juventus, PSG and Dortmund. But still i say again, I believe all 3 of our teams are more than capable of matching up to almost any team in Europe. Should be interesting!!

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