It’s never too early to fantasize and hypothesize about next season. The Champions League did end in a rather disappointing way for many, not approving of Chelsea’s tactics on their way to a first Champions League title. Hope for a better season, with better football winning the big prize, is always on the horizon.
The seeding and the new crop of champions brings forth an interesting option. The best group of death, which annually happens or declared because there always has to be one, might just happen in 2012-2013, although the chances are rather slim.
Having a group of four champions from the four top leagues is a rarity. Having a group of four champions from the top 4 leagues with three of them previously crowned as European champions is even rarer. But there’s a chance it might happen.
Real Madrid, who have fallen at the Semi Final stage these last two seasons, have finally won back the La Liga title in a record breaking season in terms of both points and goals scored. Obviously, they’ll have a number one seeding, playing in the Champions League since, well, forever.
The second seed is where this becomes interesting. Manchester City are undoubtedly one of the best teams in Europe, but their European seeding is still quite low, playing in the Champions League next year for the second time. Their rise creates a situation of group of deaths, just like this passing season, placed together with Villarreal, Napoli and Bayern Munich. None of them champions.
Third seed? Juventus, the Serie A champions for the first time since 2003, and back in the Champions League after two disappointing seasons. Their defense was one of the best in Europe during 2011-2012, and there’s an overall feeling that the ‘old lady’ is on its way back, not just in Italy.
The fourth seed might be the best team out there. We’ve already talked about the option of Dortmund being the best European side. One of the most enjoyable to watch at least. The way they dominated their matches and especially their recent clashes with Bayern Munich gets us all hoping to see them playing a dominant side like Barcelona or Real Madrid, seeing which style of possession – counter attacking prevails.
Again, it’s quite too soon, and the chances aren’t promising. But dreaming is allowed, even under Platini’s new rules which make the group stage as dull as it can get on most nights.