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Monday, November 26, 2001

Unashamedly Triumphalist

The all things footie awards are brought to you in association with Teflon Mits™, glove supplier to Fabien Barthez...

Performace of the week : Arsenal vs Man Utd
Players of the week : Patrick Vieira
Goal of the week : Freddie Ljungberg (Arsenal vs Man Utd)
Team of the week :
Shay Given
Sebastien Schemmel
West Ham
Gudni Bergsson
Ledley King
Wayne Bridge
Freddie Ljungberg
Patrick Vieira
Chris Marsden
David Dunn
  Thierry Henry
Benito Carbone

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Monday, November 26, 2001

Barthez is a Gooner

...and Gary Neville couldn't pass a parcel.

Well it's same old, same old for United. Keane belting the magnificent Patrick Vieira all afternoon because he's being out-played and out-fought, Beckham screaming blue murder at the ref and not even getting booked, Barthez kicking the ball away and not getting cautioned (ask Thierry Henry if that's fair) and I won't even mention the French 'keeper punching Matty Upson and only being shown a yellow (oops, I just did). Laurent Blanc looked like he was playing in slow motion (fair swap for Stam, hee hee) and did anyone know what happend to Ruuuuuud Van Nistelrooy?

Ferguson has to be unhappy, but then again he always is. For me Beckham's anonymity spoke volumes for the otherwise un-remarkable performances of Ashley Cole and  Pires and someone should really tell Lauren how to defend, schoolboy stuff.

Thank god there was a bit of excitement in a weekend otherwise bereft of anything else particularly interesting. Channel 4's Serie A show was good last night though, Lazio 'keeper Angelo Peruzzi played the last 25 minutes with a broken wrist (he made a copuple of decent stops in that time too).

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Friday, November 23, 2001

Happy Horses

Ipswich 1-0 Inter Milan

Who'd have thought it, the tractor-boy's taking a one goal lead to the San-Siro. A miserable start to the Premiership for George Burley's boys is balanced by a superb UEFA cup run which has seen them defeat Torpedo Moscow, Helsingborgs and now Inter Milan. It'll be a nervous Thursday in East Anglia next week, and all I can do is wish them luck in their travels.

Leeds stumbled to a last minute(s) 2-1 victory over Grasshopper Zurich, their two away goals surely making the climb insummountable for the watch-makers next week.

NEWSFLASH :: The impending player strike has apparently been averted, a deal has been struck between the PFA and the Premiership - there will be a press conference later today in Manchester.

Arsenal vs. Man Utd—Free Bets

A bit more shameless promotion for Sporting Odds but once again they're offering a tasty package, if you missed out on a free £20 on the United-Liverpool game then here's your chance to redeem yourselves. With Stuart Taylor in goal I wouldn't bet against a Beckham special!

Open an account with SportingOdds and place a 5 bet on the game, if Beckham scores from a free-kick, they will give you 20!* In addition, upon registering you will qualify for 2 10 free bets - one on the Liverpool v Roma match and one on the FA Cup. You can't say fairer than that can you?

Arsenal        11/8
Man Utd         8/5
Draw           11/5

Click here to open an account with SportingOdds:
you know you want to

* See site for details

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Thursday, November 22, 2001

Less Said...

... the better for the English in Europe this week, and—with Ipswich awaiting Inter Milan tonight coupled with Leeds leaving three subs places empty away to Grasshopper Zurich—things may not get better.

Liverpool looked pretty inept against Barcelona on Tuesday, the Spaniards totally out-classing, out-passing and out-thinking their opponents. The defensive counter-attacking tactic favoured by Liverpool right now does not work against teams like Barcelona, players like Rivaldo, Kluivert, Saviola the list goes on, can unpick any defensive lock on their night.

I only saw the highlights of the United game but from what I witnessed it was nothing surprising. Two teams playing for safety—I thought United may have snuck the victory but a draw in Munich is no disgrace to say the least.

Arsenal were poor, and that is being very kind. You have to feel sorry for Richard Wright, goalkeeping is not the easiest profession and when you make a couple of mistakes your team get much more harshly punished that if any other player fouls up. I thought the first Deportivo goal took a bit of a deflection and he didn't see it until very late but the second was clearly an error by the young stopper. Lauren really should have been further across to block the shot but Wright went down in installments, maybe it was the injury. Why Arsené Wenger insists on playing Sylvain Wiltord I don't know he was completely ineffectual last night and Kanu would surely have been a better option. At least Edu looked promising—in the ten minutes he was on he did more to break down Deportivo than Gio Van Bronkhorst managed over eighty. Young 'keeper Stuart Taylor made his second Champions League appearance, though he has yet to appear in the Premiership, and didn't put a foot wrong.

The award for best build up to goal this week is a joint award between Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid—Barca must have strung together 30 one touch passes before Marc Overmars rounded Dudek but anyone fortunate enough to see the highlights of Real Madrid vs. Sparta Prague last night witnessed some of the finest football I've seen for a long time. Their second goal against the Czechs was a joy to behold, after about 15 sublime exchanges—Zidane to Figo, Raul, Morientes, back to Zidane (they've got to be taking the ...)—the last three were wonderful one touch passes finishing with Fernando Morientes slipping the ball into the net. Fantastic.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2001

TV Help

This is some interesting information for anyone that wishes to watch Arsenal vs Deportivo tonight but...

The following information is taken from arseweb and neither I nor them take any responsibilty if you end up messing your channels up (follow the instructions properly and you won't though). This my friends, is how you get ITV1 London...

“On your Sky remote, press Services, then 4 (System Setup), then 4 (Add Channels). Type 10832 in the frequency box (the decimal point is automatic); set polarisation to H; set symbol rate to 22.0; and FEC to 5/6. Select find channels and wait a few seconds - you should see a range of ITV regions displayed, one of which will be ITV1 London. Highlight it, and press the yellow button - a tick should appear. Then press Select.

“The channel will be stored in your digibox's memory but will not appear in the programme guide. To get it, press Back Up a couple of times until you can see an option 6 (Other channels), then highlight ITV London and press select.”

Hope that helps at least someone, a full review of the midweek games will be up tomorrow (before or after the Ipswich-Inter game I haven't decided.

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Monday, November 19, 2001

Thugs, Hooligans and Idiots

The particular idiot I refer to is the guy in the photo on the front of today's Telegraph sport supplement. A huge A4 photo of a crowd of morons waving 'Judas' cards at White Hart Lane, in the top left corner there's one muppet with his card upside down. 'SADUJ!!' he screams in anger at the defenders superb display against his old club—it's about as sensible as calling him judas, see what I mean.

I won't (can't) say too much about the game but I will say I thought Sol Campbell and Ledley King were superb, as was Richard Wright who made a string of superb saves to keep Arsenal's skin intact all through the game. I don't blame him for the equaliser, it wasn't the strongest of attempted saves but he did well to get across in the first place. Thirty seconds before the goal, if Kanu was playing keepie uppie at the corner flag rather than playing silly beggars, Poyet wouldn't have even had the chance.

Congratulations to Sunderland for overcoming dirty Leeds, and for once I feel sorry for Robbie Keane, I thought he should have had a penalty rather than a yellow card to be honest. But then again, boys who cry wolf....

This week's awards were not easy to choose. Goal of the week? Louis Saha's superb long range beauty? Kevin Phillip's expertly timed and executed half-volley perhaps? For me though, it had to be—definite contender for young player of the season—Michael Ricketts' four fantastic touches over and under half the Ipswich defence.

Performace of the week : Sunderland vs Leeds
Players of the week : Sol Campbell and Ledley King
Goal of the week : Micheal Ricketts (Bolton vs Ipswich)
Team of the week :
Thomas Sorensen
  Gareth Southgate
Sol Campbell
Ledley King
David Beckham
Man Utd
George Boateng
Aston Villa
Robert Pires
Gavin McCann
Ryan Giggs
Man Utd
  Kevin Phillips
Louis Saha

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Saturday, November 17, 2001

That Friday Feeling

The tail end of the week has certainly been a busy one. Rivaldo is apparently off to United, and with an agent called Alejandro Mancuso, who is surprised? The former World Player of the Year is looking to leave Barca and their expensive flops, with the sunny shores of moss-side looking likely to replace the Catalonian monotony. Sir Alex will have to convince the board that anywhere between £22 and £40m is a worthwhile price for a 29 year old, although a swap with the-apparently bored-Juan Sebastien Veron looks more likely.

The most interesting story for me is Jaap Stam's positive drug test which could lead to a lengthy ban. The third member of the Dutch national squad to test positive and the second Lazio player in the last year—something smells fishy. I've always believed Stam to have a certain degree of integrity and I believe him when he says...

“One thing I can say without hesitation or doubt, however, is that I have never knowingly taken nandrolone or any other illegal substance. I am not and have never been a cheat and would never do anything like this to jeopardise the happiness of my family or the future of my career. It is ridiculous to suggest I would, whatever the test says.”

Which can only mean that someone has been slipping it to the players, but who? call Holmes.

On a lighter note, it's going to be a fruity encounter at White Hart Lane this weekend, with Sulzeer making his first return since his cheerfully received move to the mighty Arsenal over the summer. Lets hope the intelligencia at WHL don't ruin the day by concentrating on anything other than getting stuffed.


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Friday, November 16, 2001

Strike a Light

I've already had a say on the impending strike action but I have to speak again or I'll explode.

Football (or more accurately the FA) is the only organisation that financially supports it's employers union, and it's not just a few pennies in a box either. The fact that football is a very unusual career path, with a shorter working lifetime is not in my opinion relevant. People play football primarily because they enjoy it; most professionals get paid well above the national average and (even lower league players) get treated like minor celebrities.

When a pro reaches 35 and the legs are going, the back's a bit creaky and there's a funny click coming from his knee every time he climbs some stairs, perhaps he should look back on his last 20 years and be thankful he hasn't been stocking shelves in ASDA. It sounds harsh, and to be fair it is—some ex-pros do have a hard time of it and thats what the PFA is there for. But if Gordon Taylor feels he needs £26m to pay for this then perhaps the likes of David Beckham should put a bit more than £75 a year into the kitty. And perhaps the greedy self-righteous toe-rag (Taylor not Beckham) should take a cut in his £450 000 a year salary.

I object to him taking the moral high ground when he's milking the situation for all it's worth, clubs and TV revenue rewards players enough as it is, wages are getting ridiculous and it's all about to spiral out of control. If Mr Taylor has a problem with third division centre-halves getting screwed then the only sensible option is to take a slightly larger cut of the very highly paid players wages.

There's no doubt at least some of you disagree with me, and some of you who are thinking ‘Why is he banging on about player strikes when he should be sorting out that bloody navigation problem’. To help with the former please feel free to direct abuse (or constructive comments if you're feeling adventurous) at me using the comments system. As for the latter, all I can say is I'm working on it and maybe it'll be sorted out soon. Maybe.

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Monday, November 12, 2001

Left Wanting

The way I see it, England's problem is two fold. Firstly there's the ominous left wing problem—I like Trevor Sinclair, and perhaps some of his uncharacteristically heavy touches and ineffective runs were down to nerves. This cannot be an excuse however, for someone who has done it for years in the Premiership there was something missing, that something that sets aside international performers from your better than average league player.

The second problem is England's lack of cover in key area's. If anything happened to Steven Gerrard (and let's face it, it's hardly unlikely) then we're left with a situation in which Nicky Butt will probably start. This will not do, for Mr. Butt has all the style, poise and panache of a wet weekend in Bognor Regis (no offence to Bognor Regis). Jamie Carragher makes Chris Powell look like Maldini and I've seen deserted cars in Belfast look safer than Nigel Martyn's hands.

It is probably no coincidence that of those three only one (Butt) was substituted before supporters were leaving the ground, Sven Goran Eriksson wanting to give their game a thorough assessment. It's not all bad. However much I dislike the dirty thug, Danny Mills certainly impressed in his half hour cameo. His directness and willingness to attack (and abandon all defensive duties) was entertaining if not a little cavalier.

It is also worth noting Rio Ferdinand's excellent performance and I thought Gareth Southgate was encouragingly steady if not spectacular. Danny Murphy was also a positive but if taken to Japan and South Korea-probably not likely tp be included on matchday.

A Goo'Dunn

I've thought it for some time, and anyone who saw Friday's match between the England U21's and their Dutch counterparts (1-1) must surely agree that David Dunn is ready for the seniors. After a blindingly impressive start to the season including a couple of match winning performances against top class opposition (Arsenal being one of them), he has impressed the right people and is definitely worth a call up. My only worry is that like so many talents before him (Joe Cole, Steve McManaman) he will be deployed out of position on the left wing, when I think he would be much more influential on the game. He can play out wide, as he did on Friday and as he has done on a number of occasions for Blackburn, but his tendency to cut in on his right foot coupled with his top class work rate and energy suggests that a place alongside Gerrard or Scholes would serve the country best.

Speaking of Scholes did anyone else notice that he wasn't passing to Beckham on Saturday? There were three or four occasions to my knowledge when the best, and sometimes easiest ball to play was to his United counterpart and captain. But each time the ginger dynamo swung a ball to someone else. It would be all to easy to dismiss these as just poor decisions from Scholes, and given his recent form not all that unlikely—but I suspect that after the row with Ferguson last week the two may have had a falling out.

P.S. anyone who is having serious problems with the design (i.e. if the nav has disappeared to underneath the main section) then please leave a note by clicking the ‘have your say’ link below (it may say ‘x comments’ if someone has already left one). Please let me know your browser name and version, e.g. Netscape 4.7. Thanks a lot.

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Friday, November 09, 2001

Bear With Me

My sincere apologies to any poor soul using IE5 or IE5.5 on PC as you are no doubt experiencing a rather odd looking all things footie experience. This is due to the inability of the worlds largest software company to conform to the simplest web standards, shame on you Bill Gates. I am working on a fix so please bear with me.

In the meantime...

The world of footie has been unusually busy for a week with no European action; after 10 weeks being undermined by Sir Alex Ferguson, England's best midfielder Paul Scholes has thrown a wobbler and may be leaving the sinking ship that is Old Trafford. Juve are said to be interested in swapping Edgar Davids and a fair bit of cash for the little dynamo after he refused to come to Highbury for the Worthlesston cup game.

Incidentally, I haven't mentioned that yet.... I'm sick and tired of hearing ‘Men Versus Boys’ and ‘Ferguson's young team’ this and that. In case no one watched the game, both sides fielded ludicrously understrength teams. Arsenal's back four consisted of Grimandi, Stepanovs, Tavlaridis and Luznihy, first team players? Pennant, Halls, Ricketts and Itonga? Just because our youngsters (or old reserve players) have a bit more experience and talent than United's second string there's no need to make excuses for them. The superb Sylvain Wiltord and Kanu were a joy to watch, my golden moment being Kanu's flick up and chip over John Roche's (?) head.

I'm not 100% sure why Chris Powell was recalled when I would have thought there was a great opportunity for Southampton's (only) bright light Wayne Bridge to break into the national team, perhaps even filling the left wing berth.

It is good to see Kevin Phillips given a proper chance (I hope) to show what he's capable of, I certainly think he's a more natural poacher than the ‘official best English finisher’ Robbie Fowler. Surely it's hopeful that Darren Anderton will be fit in 8 months time, it's nice to see Trevor Sinclair given a go, and I wonder if Frank Lampard will show what I think he might, possibly, maybe be capable of.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow, being one of the luck sixty odd thousand to get a ticket. Expect a full report over the weekend.

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Monday, November 05, 2001

What's Goin' On?

As Marvin Gaye would say.

Top of the table lose 3-0, United crumble like last weeks apple pie, Arsenal concede four goals at home for the first time since Norwich visited in 1992 (and who aren't doing to badly at the moment either), Middlesbrough score five to destroy Derby and Ade Akinbyi scores!!! At least normality is restored with Spurs throwing away a goal lead to be swept away in the last half an hour, and Chelsea pulling off an escape act in injury time.

On top of that I've found a temporary solution to my hosting problems as Grey Matter doesn't want to install on my server—you may therefore notice that all things footie is looking a bit different. If you want to comment on the design then you can fill in a form on the new and improved contact page. Thanks in advance.

Brave, Brave Sir Alex

For it is surely a courageous man that puts Fabien Barthez behind the increasingly shaky Wes Brown and Mikael ‘well... he's quick’ Silvestre. Michael Owen must have thought all his Christmas' had come at once. In his (slightly misplaced) words,

“Without mistakes I wouldn't score many goals,”
and with those three at the back that's one thing he'll be guaranteed of. I'm not jumping on any bandwagons here when I say that I feel vindicated in my judgement that M. Barthez is by no means the best goalkeeper in the world (are you listening Ron Atkinson). Liverpool's performance was professional, hard working and effective. Dietmar Hamann was superb, playing almost the Steven Gerrard role in front of the back four, and Michael Owen was his usual, deadly self. One particular performance of note was that of referee Graham Poll. Another Steven Gerrard horror tackle aside, no cards were warranted and none shown, he controlled the game superbly and let it flow as it should—there are more than one Premiership ref's that could learn a thing from England's number one (and I don't mean David Seaman.

Talking of the big lad, I don't blame him for holding his head in his hands at Highbury. After a couple of marvellous performances something seems to have happened to Richard Wright. I remember watching him a few times during Ipswich's promotion year and deciding that although talented, he lacked a certain clarity of thought so important to goalkeepers. A little Barthez-esque if you will.

It would be unfair to blame the disastrous result on him alone though, the target for most of the red tops has been effervescent forward Thierry Henry. His record of 61 goals in 113 games does say a little for the striker's ability, but if only he was a bit more hungry to get the ball in the net sometimes. It's sounds ludicrous to think that record could be 80 or 90 goals in 113 games but it's true. Of course some would say (probably including me at a push, but you've got to haven't you) that if you changed his game that way you'd lose other qualities; his selfless work for other players... and the part of his game that make people—who don't even like football—love to watch him perform.

Kudos to Charlton though, the two at the back and Dean Kiely worked incredibly hard to keep out the 25 shots on goal. I still think Claus Jensen's goal was a cross but you've got to give him credit for the work he did on other goals and the fact that he still scored a beauty.

Super Alan...

Shearer. I've slagged him off as much as anyone but you have to give him credit. There's probably only two English forwards that could claim to be able to finish like that, and he's one of them. Newcastles most accomplished performance under Bobby Robson (big Al's words not mine) was too much for high flying Villa. There was no one deserving of praise in the Villa team apart from the ever impressive Peter Schmeichel, but Newcastle were littered with fine performances. Craig Bellamy continues to defy his critics (including myself) and makes team of the week with ease. Laurent Robert and Nolberto Solano exploited Villa's lack of width and the back four dealt with the few problems that came their way comfortably, Shay Given just being edged out of team of the week contention by Charlton's more busy stopper.

Carlos Marado... Marinelli

At 17 Carlos Mainelli was described as the new and (behaviourally) improved version of everyone's favourite coke snorting midget and football genius. At 19 he is starting to show why. Two goals and one assist is a match record that would on any other day tell the story, but the full scale of Marinelli's influence was far greater.

It would be fair to say that had 'Boro not had the young Argentine it would have been a difficult game. As it happened they strolled and boo-boy target Fabrizio Ravanelli had to console himself with a late, albeit excellent, consolation goal.

It would be unfair on the poor guy—with the amount of stick he's taken—not to mention Ade Akinbyi's winning goal for Leicester. So what if Leicester, on the whole, were shocking (but no worse than Sunderland). And so what if the goal was his second bite at that particular cherry, and it was deflected. It means they can add another million on to the fee from Wolves (although whether they need him right now is another matter).

It must be hard being Peter Reid though. To see your team perform magnificently one game and then incomprehensibly awful the next. Maybe he should talk to Claudio Ranieri, after seeing his Chelsea side go out of the UEFA cup to Haipol Tel Aviv in the week, a strong performance at home in the Premiership would have followed form. Well, nearly. The contest between the two could not be summed up better than in the words of Daily Telegraph journalist David Miller,

“misfiring Maserati versus Skoda Turbo.”
There's not much else to say.

The Rest?

Fulham strolled to a 2-0 away victory over a poor West Ham side, once again the emphatic Steed Malbranque ran the show. Bolton held on to draw 2-2 against an Everton side inspired by the rejuvenated Paul Gascoigne, looking fitter and healthier than he has done in years—good on him.

Blackburn continued a good season with a 2-1 victory at Southampton's talismanic (for the visiting team) St. Mary's stadium. Finally Leeds strolled past a Spurs side lacking in invention and class, White Hart Lane import Gus Poyet providing the only moment of inspiration for a side that even at 1-0 up you'd have put your mortgage on losing.

Talking of wagers, anyone who took up Sporting Odds' offer of 20 for a goal outside the box in the United-Liverpool game, well done and don't say I don't give you any tips.

Now for the silverware...

Performace of the week : Newcastle vs Aston Villa
Player of the week : Carlos Marinelli (Middlesbrough)
Goal of the week : Alan Shearer (Newcastle vs Aston Villa)
Team of the week :
Dean Kiely
Bruno N'Gotty
Mark Fish
Steve Brown
John Arne Riise

Steed Malbranque
Claus Jensen
Dietmar Hamann

Carlos Marinelli
Michael Owen
Craig Bellamy

Definitely a difficult one to choose this week. Perhaps, with 4 player in the team of the week Charlton deserved the .. well, team of the week accolade. I think Newcastle edged it as they actually played well as opposed to held out. No doubt some geordies won't be happy at the non inclusion of Alan Shearer but could you argue against Owen or Bellamy? If you think you could, then just click the link below and have your say.

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Friday, November 02, 2001


Today was meant to be the launch of the new, improved All Things Footie but Blogger and UKLinux being weird have set me back, and really annoyed me. I've finished the design and finished converting the whole site to my new format but I can't get the weblog to work - meaning that I will now be trying to get grey matter to work so I can keep the site updated that way.

Lets forget all that rubbish for now though and have a look at the Champions League second stage groups....

group A

  • Bayern Munich
  • Nantes
  • Boavista
  • Man Utd

group C

  • Real Madrid
  • Panathinaikos
  • FC Porto
  • Sparta Prague

group B

  • Barcelona
  • Liverpool
  • Galatasaray
  • Roma

group D

  • Juventus
  • Deportivo La Coruna
  • Arsenal
  • Bayer Leverkusen

So who's got the hardest group? Arsenal stuck with rampant Deportivo and dangerous (though they did let in 4 goals against Celtic) Juventus? Liverpool with Barca (who I thought were the easiest team out of the top seeds), Galatasaray and Roma? or United stuck with the dreaded Bayern Munich (again). Have your say below or on the forum.

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Thursday, November 01, 2001


...and I really am not just saying this because they do my betting section...

Sporting Odds have just informed me of a quality promotion they're running for this weekend's big game (Manchester United vs. Liverpool in case you didn't know). If anyone scores from outside the box they'll give you 20, so long as you register and place a 5 bet on the game before kick off—they'll also give you a free 10 bet on the first player to get booked. I think you'll understand I'm not just pushing this because they sponsor All Things Footie—it's practically buying money with players like Scholes, Gerrard, Murphy, Owen, Beckham etc.... on the pitch.

To open an account, practically buy 20 and support All Things Footie just click here to open an account or go to the betting page for more information.

A quick note about the weeks' games as well; not a lot to say really, United and Arsenal were playng for the sake of it and neither particularly impressed. Liverpool made it difficult for thereselves but dominated the game against a really poor Dortmund side and deservedly won it 2-0. The question is... who's uglier—Luke Chadwick or Steven Wright?

It's your lucky day today, you even get the Champions League ‘pots’ for the next group stage...

pot 1 (highest seeds)

  • Bayern Munich
  • Real Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Juventus

pot 3

  • Manchester United
  • Arsenal
  • Galatasaray
  • FC Porto

pot 2

  • Liverpool
  • Deportivo La Coruna
  • Nantes
  • Panathinaikos

pot 4

  • Roma
  • Bayer Leverkusen
  • Sparta Prague
  • Boavista

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