2021/2022 Champions League: Not the Super League

bosox4283

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Someone needs to think of a better title.

The draw was today. Atletico ends up in a group with Liverpool, Porto, and Milan. Yikes.
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
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Yep, that's gonna be some serious sphincter-clenching football to watch. Will be entertaining at least
 

67YAZ

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City-PSG is what the UCL is all about.

Groups C & G look very open and should be a ton of fun. Also up for Group F because Atalanta always makes things entertaining.
 

Kliq

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I know kind of the intent is to have two heavyweights in each group, but PSG/Man City, Liverpool/Atletico/Milan, Inter/Real, Bayern/Barca and Chelsea/Juventus is quite a collection. Going to be some tough Round of 16 draws.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I don't believe in conspiracy theories. But if I was UEFA and I wanted to form a bunch of groups that contained a lot of high profile ties so I could sell TV ads and show everybody that a Super League wasn't necessary, this is about how I'd draw it up. The smallest five clubs from Pots 1 and 2 (plus United) basically got bunched together in three groups, leaving 10 of the 11 biggest clubs for the other five groups.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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It was going to be an interesting draw with Lille and Atletico winning their leagues and traditional big names like PSG, Barca and Real Madrid in Pot 2.

Now if Man City can pull off a CR7 transfer by the end of the window, we'll treated to a pair of Messi/Ronaldo games in the group stage.
 

67YAZ

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Zlatan! is out for tomorrow's tilt. He's only played 30 minutes so far this season, but just his presence makes things more fun/annoying,
 

BaseballJones

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I don't know enough about this to have the answer for myself, which is why I'm asking you more knowledgeable soccer/football fans. Do these teams and players care more about their national league (i.e., Premier League, Serie A, etc.) or the Champions League? Which has more meaning to them and their clubs? Does Chelsea care more about winning the PL or the CL, for example? How about Ronaldo or Messi - which would they prefer to win?
 

teddykgb

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“Care” tends to ebb and flow based on a teams recent history. I think the Champions League is generally considered the biggest prize but teams generally care about winning the league a bit more as the Champions League is both hard to win and much more of a tournament that relies upon luck than the league which is a better test of who is actually good. That being said, the bar for teams tends to be how many times you win the Champions League, so while league titles are probably preferred by fans since they give a kind of bragging rights among other members of the league, many of the players and coaches probably want to win the CL more because of the affects on legacy and in the end bottom line. I think it is fair to say that players dream of playing in a CL and World Cup final and fans dream of winning the league first and then doing the double in the CL

Some fanbases probably prefer the CL and I think if you did an earnest poll the numbers would be close but most fans in England I know either personally or digitally have a preference for league above anything but I am obviously connected with more City fanswho have a much more negative relationship with UEFA and the CL.
 

Zososoxfan

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I don't know enough about this to have the answer for myself, which is why I'm asking you more knowledgeable soccer/football fans. Do these teams and players care more about their national league (i.e., Premier League, Serie A, etc.) or the Champions League? Which has more meaning to them and their clubs? Does Chelsea care more about winning the PL or the CL, for example? How about Ronaldo or Messi - which would they prefer to win?
Depends on who you ask. The most important thing to note is that UCL is a cup competition and the domestic leagues are table competitions. Many would argue that the best team is best determined by a table format. IOW, a table requires more consistency and gets rid of luck factors better. More matches = less noise. But, then you have the obvious issue of not facing the best clubs from other nations and also get into the argument of whether the 10th best UCL side is better/worse than the 10th best EPL side and the relative quality of domestic leagues for example.

Last year's City vs. Chelsea is pretty ideal for this argument. City smashed the EPL last year en route to an EPL title. Yet, Chelsea bested City in the UCL Final. Cup finals are even more subject to luck factors since there's no home-and-home. At the end of the day, both formats are valid forms of competition and there's something to be said for performing in the clutch.

Some specific clubs (e.g. PSG) certainly care more about UCL over league. Certain world class players who have won several league titles probably care more about UCL over the domestic league too. Barca/Madrid of the last 15-20 years is also a fun sports debate. Since 2004-05, Barca have won La Liga 10X and UCL 4X. Madrid won La Liga 5X and UCL 4X. What's crazy about this is that Madrid's UCL titles have all come since the 2013-14 season (during which time they won 3 on the hop). Said another way, between 2013-14 and 2018-19, Barca won La Liga 4X and UCL 1X, and Madrid won La Liga 1X and UCL 4X. If you ask me, I'd rather have Madrid's trophy haul during that time. Most Barca and Madrid supporters can name every year where they won UCL off the top of their head but would have to think about the seasons they won La Liga. Still a huge accomplishment, but the trophy with the big ears is the grandaddy IMO.

TL;DR: I think UCL is the biggest trophy in world club football, but there's an argument to be made that winning the best domestic league is as much of an accomplishment.
 
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Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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A lot depends on the club but I think the number of fanbases for whom the league is more important is actually pretty small.

Just thinking about the contintental clubs that won or plausibly could have won the CL in recent history, the CL seems more important for Real, Barcelona, Atleti, Juve, Inter, Bayern, BvB, and PSG. Many of these clubs have won the domestic league so many times its lost a bit of its shine. Winning La Liga is huge for Atleti but they've never won CL so I think that would be bigger. I'm actually not completely sure about Inter and BvB at this point. Both have won CL in the past 25 years but not so many times for it not to be special to win again. But both also recently faced big domestic title draughts and frustrations going against wealthier competitors (Inter until last year, BvB ongoing).

In England, the picture is a bit more complicated. I think Liverpool (pre 2019-2020) and maybe Tottenham are probably the only fanbases for whom winning the league might have been a bigger deal in recent years, both because of very long term title draughts. United might be entering that territory just because they've won the CL three times already and their current domestic draught, while not really very long, contrasts so sharply with the domestic dominance of the Fergie years. Arsenal have a longer domestic draught but since we've never won CL, most fans I know would rather win the CL (not that we'll even be playing for it...). Chelsea have been madly after the CL and certainly care about it more than the league. Apologies to Teddy but I think many City fans just have a weird complex where they've talked themselves into pretending like they don't care about the CL but deep down they would trade a league win for a CL win in a cocaine heartbeat.
 
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teddykgb

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I think you captured well what I was trying to say that it depends a lot on what each club has achieved recently. I disagree with your analysis of a few clubs in that list but I think the essence is that the answer is probably variable by each club and on a continuum for each club from slight to severe preference for one or the other
 

OCST

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It’s hugely important to players, who will pick Club X over Club Y when making a move because X has CL football (or Y will have to pay a lot more).
 

Zososoxfan

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What started as a fun lil edit re Barca, predictably spiraled into a rabbit hole of 90s football nostalgia/history. See below if you're in your mid 30s and have time to kill...

[Edit:] Perhaps specific to Barca, but I think there's an important distinction to be made between supporters based in Catalunya vs. elsewhere. Catalans are notoriously provincial and until the '92 Olympics it would probably be fair to describe them as xenophobic (at least that's how my local teachers described it 10-15 years ago). If I had to guess older Catalan Barca fans probably care A LOT more about La Liga titles than UCL, but for younger fans and those based outside of Catalunya/Spain I'd guess most care about UCL > La Liga. Not sure if the same dynamic is true in Madrid, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Munich, etc. On that note, there's really only a handful of clubs that have won numerous domestic leagues AND some UCLs in the modern era who can even weigh such preferences. MANC and PSG don't have a UCL trophy in the case despite winning a lot of domestic leagues for example. To wit, since the UCL technically came into being in '92-'93, the title winners are as follows (year listed = year final played):

Madrid: 7 (98, 00, 02, 14, 16, 17, 18) [insert barf emoji]
Barca: 4 (06, 09, 11, 14)
Milan: 3 (94, 03, 07) - still weird that this club was considered football ROYALTY so recently
Bayern: 3 (01, 13, 20)
United: 2 (99, 08)
Pool: 2 (05, 19)
Chelsea: 2 (11, 21)
The Field: 6 (Marseille 93, Ajax 95, Juve 96, Dortmund 97, Porto 04, Inter 10)

A few other scattershot thoughts. The first final I can remember watching was the United stunner in 99. If you don't know what happened in that final, OGS's hire makes no sense to you and if you did, it shows you how strong nostalgia is (I kid, OGS has been a surprisingly good manager).

Those early and mid 90s UCL finals are all remarkable for one reason or another. In the inaugural UCL Final in 93, a (presumably) underdog Marseille beat a mammoth Milan side. Marseille certainly had some names like Voller, Deschamps, Desailly, and Barthez (all WC winners), but that Milan side had won the European Cup in 88, 89, would win it next year in 94, and had names like Van Basten, Rijkaard, Albertini, Donadoni, and then the All-timer backline of Maldini-Baresi-Costacurta-Tassotti with Rossi in net to boot.

As aforementioned, Milan got their revenge the next year with many of the same players (and notably Desailly now in the Rossoneri) over a loaded Barca side featuring Romario, Stoitckov, Begiristain, Guardiola, and Koeman. The backline and MF other than Guardiola and Koeman was relatively weak though. I believe Cruyff was canned after this loss, and Laudrup (who didn't start for Barca in the final oddly) left for Madrid the next season, pulling a Figo well before Figo.

In 95, an alltimer Ajax side beat an alltimer Milan side. I bet I'm not the only one here that romanticizes this Ajax squad and considers them formative for their childhood fandom. It's also pretty wild how this final perfectly straddles 2 distinct eras for me, including players I associate with an older era like Blind (Danny not Daley), Rijkaard, Maldini, Baresi, Costacurta, Donadoni, Albertini (you really can't name any of those Milan guys without mentioning the whole lot, with the possible exception of Maldini because he played so. friggin. long.), and that mid-late 90s Dutch golden era I get super nostalgic about including Davids, Seedorf, Overmars, Kluivert, and the de Boers. All of this and I haven't mentioned EDWIN FRIGGIN VAN DER SAR started in net for Ajax (he'd start again for MAN U in 3 UCL finals 20 years later).

Super random tangent, but Van der Sar had a crazy career. He was part of that glorious Ajax golden era, got a move to Juve, got replaced by Buffon, played for 4 years at Fulham, then had a "swan song" of 6 years at United. What weird, long sequence.

I'll come back and finish my thoughts on 96, 97, and 98.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I mean, there's a larger sample size than 25 minutes v. Young boys that suggests they may not be the most compatable players, but it's early doors yet
 

Pesky Pole

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Meanwhile in Sevilla, it's PK-palooza. Salzburg is 1-for-3 on their PK's while Sevilla converts their single chance. 1-1 at the half.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Wow, I don't think I've ever seen a team get awarded three PKs in a single half.

Edit: Google suggests that a Brighton-Palace grudge match once featured five PKs awarded in the span of 27 minutes!
 

Pesky Pole

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Sevilla down to 10 men after a second yellow given for a dive. I guess they're all looking for PK's now.

edit - to be clear, the diver was given the second yellow....deservedly.
 

Zososoxfan

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Barca starting Roberto at wingback and Luuk de Jong at Bayern is a pretty good microcosm of the current club's state right now SMH. And really, there's not much hope on the horizon. Barca's best bet to be competitive and fun this year is the return of Ansu, Dembele, and the resurgence of Coutinho (please don't laugh too hard).
 

67YAZ

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Gomez and Origi in the lineup today. Hmmmm….

Liverpool: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita, Jota, Salah, Origi. Subs: Adrian, Kelleher, Van Dijk, Konate, Thiago, Milner, Mane, Tsimikas, Phillips, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minamino.

Milan: Maignan; Calabria, Kjær, Tomori, Hernandez; Kessie, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Diaz, Leao; Rebic. Subs: Jungdal, Tatarusanu; Ballo-Toure, Florenzi, Gabbia, Kalulu, Romagnoli; Tonali; Giroud, Maldini.
 

Kliq

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Moldovan club Sheriff shocked Shakhtar Donetsk earlier today, 2-0. Sheriff's first goal scorer is named Adama Traore.