The Champions League draw: international intrigue abounds.
Group A: Barcelona (Spain), Chelsea (England), Werder Bremen (Germany), Levski Sofia (Bulgaria).
—No free pass for either Chelsea or Barca: Bremen is 100-percent for reals.
Group B: Inter (Italy), Bayern Munich (Germany), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Spartak Moscow (Russia)
—What a sweet group! This batch wins the Old School award. How rad will it be if Spartak and Sporting dominate?
Group C: Liverpool (England), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Girondins Bordeaux (France), Galatasaray (Turkey)
—A chance for DaMarcus Beasley to polish his resume a bit after a weak World Cup.
Group D: Valencia (Spain), AS Roma (Italy), Olympiakos Piraeus (Greece), Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
—C’mon Roma and Shakhtar! The Ukrainian club has been on the rise for a decade and is due a breakthrough.
Group E: Real Madrid (Spain), Olympique Lyon (France), Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
—If Dynamo can humble the over-rated Galacticos, the vodka’s on me. Olympique Lyon seems to think it’s a world-class club. Well, mes amis, now’s your chance.
Group F Manchester United (England), Celtic (Scotland), Benfica (Portugal), FC Copenhagen (Denmark)
Group G Arsenal (England), Porto (Portugal), CSKA Moscow (Russia), Hamburg SV (Germany)
—Smooth sailing for The Arse. Who will be the second survivor? As with Dynamo, Spartak and Shakhtar, the Slavophile in me always wants to see ex-Soviet clubs do well.
Group H AC Milan (Italy), Lille (France), AEK Athens (Greece), Anderlecht (Belgium)
—Huh. Silvio Berlusconi’s club ended up with a dead-easy draw. Weird.