2011/12 Champions League: Potential Group Opponents

May next year end in better fashion than this one did. Please.

It's time to look to the future. No, stop staring at Josh McEachran. Now that the Champions League is done, with Barcelona winning against an English team without any major refereeing controversies, we can look forward to next year. Who knows! We might win that one. After the jump are Chelsea's potential opponents, as best as I can guess.

Obviously there are some questions about this - I just took the best teams in the qualifying rounds and had them get through to the group stages, so if something strange happens like Arsenal failing to make it through, this whole thing gets tossed up and re-done. Anyway, above is the sort of table you've seen before if you've been around for a while. Mouseover to look at potential opponents for each team, and since this is a Chelsea blog (shock!) let's look at who Chelsea might face.

The only teams from pots two, three and four that they cannot be drawn against are Manchester City, as teams from the same FAs can't play each other in the group stages. Everyone else is fair game, although Chelsea's status as a pot one team mean they don't have to play against anyone really scary for a little while.

Pot two features, well, mostly teams I'd rather avoid. The most obvious threat here is AC Milan, but there aren't any bad teams here. I'd most like to face CSKA Moscow or Benfica, who seem intent on selling all of their good players before next year anyway. Plus it would be nice for David Luiz and Ramires to have a reunion with their old team.

Pot three, without Manchester City, doesn't look too bad. I think Chelsea would be pretty comfortable against any of the teams, although for some reason I think I'd like to play Ajax the least and Fenebahce the most. Make of that what you will, because it doesn't really make any sense to me. do I just really miss Miroslav Stoch?

Pot four, on the other hand, is terrifying. Chelsea could realistically be drawn against a legitimately good side here - Napoli, Udinese, Lille and Borussia Dortmund are all floating around, and all but Napoli will have been weakened to some extent by summer sales, they're still very impressive sides and I'd like to go nowhere near them. Napoli and Dortmund I'd especially like to avoid. Russian champions Otelul Galeti are a bit of an unknown to me, so I'm shy of labelling them a pushover, while BATE Borisov and Dinamo Zagreb shouldn't be a problem at all.

All in all, this is a much tougher set of potential Champions League opponents than I remember seeing in a long time. I'm not sure if it's just because I'm more familiar with the teams or what, but I have never been so impressed by the calibre of the number four seeded teams. We could be in for a real fight.

Dream group: CSKA Moscow, Fenebahce, BATE Borisov

Nightmare group: AC Milan, Ajax, Napoli* Borussia Dortmund.

*Since I also am a Napoli fan(ish), I'd rather not play them. I am an idiot.

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