Spain Soccer Champions League

Group(s) of death: 2015 UEFA Champions League pots promise more drama

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Two Spanish powers are preparing to sort out the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League title on Saturday in Portugal, but plenty of eyes in Europe are peeking at what awaits the clubs for next year’s tournament.

The end of many European campaigns have group stage coefficients set for the 2014/15 season of UCL play, with the final to be played in one year’s time in Berlin, and there are some very scary potential groups thanks to the return of Liverpool and AS Roma as “outsiders.” There’s also the potential nightmare of new big spenders AS Monaco and their tiny coefficient keeping them in Pot IV.

We know 22 of the teams for next year’s UCL, and the location of their temporary pots for the group stage. While it’s far too early to confidently predict whether Arsenal, Porto, Zenit, Napoli and Leverkusen will hold up their ends of the bargain and advance to hold their respect spots, let’s cheat a little and look at the potential nightmare for next season.

Pot I
Real Madrid
FC Barcelona
Bayern Munich
Chelsea
Benfica
Atletico Madrid
*Arsenal
*FC Porto

Pot II
Schalke
Borussia Dortmund
Juventus
Paris Saint-Germain
Shakhtar Donetsk
Basel
*Zenit St. Petersburg
Manchester City

Pot III
*Bayer Leverkusen
Olympiakos
CSKA Moscow
Ajax
*Napoli
Liverpool
Sporting Lisbon
Galatasaray

Pot IV
Anderlecht
*Salzburg
Roma
*Steaua Bucarest
*Celtic
*BATE Borisov
*TBA
AS Monaco

The biggest names that could barnstorm into the group stage to make it even tastier are Besiktas, Lille and Dnipro.

Last year’s toughest groups included a nightmare Dortmund, Arsenal, Napoli and Marseille bunch, as well as Real Madrid, Galatasaray, Juventus and Copenhagen.

As it stands, next year could see a loaded group like Roma, Liverpool, PSG and Bayern Munich, or Monaco, Juventus, Galatasaray and Real Madrid. The new climate of big spenders plus the reintroduction of teams with lower coefficients thanks to absences from previous tournaments will make for spicier groups stages than ever before.

You’re now free to go back to thinking about this year’s dandy final with Atletico and Real!

Follow Live: Chelsea vs. Liverpool at the Rose Bowl

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Firmino of Liverpool is closed down by Nemanja Matic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on May 11, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Premier League powers Chelsea and Liverpool tangle Wednesday in the Rose Bowl as both clubs prepare for their first full seasons under two coaches.

[ FOLLOW: Liverpool‘s Twitter | Chelsea ]

Sadio Mane, Loris Karius and Marko Grujic start for Liverpool, while Chelsea has a lot of familiar names in the fold for the International Champions Cup match.

Liverpool: Karius, Randall, Lovren, Klavan, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria, Grujic, Mane, Coutinho, Firmino.

Chelsea: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Aina; Fabregas, Matic; Willian, Traore, Loftus-Cheek, Moses. Subs:

Borja goal leads Atletico Nacional to Copa Libertadores title (video)

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Get into space and good things will happen.

That’s how Miguel Borja scored the goal that gave Atletico Nacional an edge that would stand up in the Copa Libertadores final on Wednesday in Medellin.

Borja’s goal gave Atletico Nacional a 1-0 win over Independiente del Valle in Wednesday’s second leg after a 1-1 first leg in Quito.

[ MORE: Wilshere likes Arsenal’s chances ]

Colombia’s Los Verdolagas hadn’t won a Copa Libertadores title since 1989, and the match was its first final since 1995. It was Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle’s first final.

Atletico Nacional’s Orlando Berrio traded goals with Independiente’s Arturo Mina in the first leg.

Two Newcastle players set for combined $60 million from Barca, Real Madrid?

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Newcastle player Jack Colback (r) celebrates his goal with Ayoze Perez (l) and Moussa Sissoko during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Everton at St James' Park on December 28, 2014 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United purchased Moussa Sissoko and Ayoze Perez from Toulose and Tenerife for combined fees of approximately $4 million.

They stand to make a whole lot more if Wednesday’s rumors are true.

Multiple reports say Real Madrid is set to bid $40 million to pry French international Sissoko from St. James Park, while Barcelona is ready to spend about $20 million to get Ayoze Perez as the fourth fiddle to its MSN attacking trio.

[ MORE: Wilshere likes Arsenal’s chances ]

Perez, 22, has scored 13 goals in two Premier League seasons with the Magpies after arriving from Segunda Division side Tenerfie in 2014, and was linked to Spurs amongst other locales.

But Barca has had trouble finding a player interested in being its fourth striker. Pedro left for Chelsea before last season, and players like Robin Van Persie and Luciano Vietto were tipped to join Barca earlier this summer.

Sissoko, meanwhile, was a feast or famine player at Newcastle this season but brought his A-game under the bright lights of EURO 2016 this summer. Real is reported to be giving up on Paul Pogba to focus on his French midfield mate.

As for Newcastle, Rafa Benitez probably planned on losing Sisssoko but Perez had worked well in preseason with new signing Dwight Gayle and was expected to be a factor this year. It could send Rafa back to the transfer mill, and he’d sure have some profit to spend.

PSG’s Meunier fires a laser versus Real Madrid in ICC match (video)

COLUMBUS, OH - JULY 27:  Thomas Meunier #12 of Paris Saint-Germain F.C is congratulated by Serge Aurier #19 of Paris Saint-Germain F.C after scoring a goal during the first half of the game against Real Madrid C.F. on July 27, 2016 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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Thomas Meunier is feeling it this summer.

The 6-foot-4 right back had a tremendous EURO for Belgium, and now is starting hot for Paris Saint-Germain after moving from Club Brugge.

[ MORE: Wilshere likes Arsenal’s chances ]

Facing Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup on Wednesday, Meunier scored a pair of first half goals including this absolute laser to beat Kiko Casilla.