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!