Chelsea players and owner Roman Abramovich (3rd R) celebrate during their Champions League victory parade in west London, May 20 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Olivia Harris (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
The 2012-13 Champions League Group Stage sees its first round of games take place on Tuesday. 32 club squads will compete to see which will prevail Europe's top club. Here is a look at Group E.
The champions begin their defense after a starling 0-0 draw against the Queens Park Rangers over the weekend. But a group with such talent as John Terry, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Lorent Malouda, Oriol Romeu, Daniel Sturridge, Juan Mata, and Fernando Torres should be able to make a strong defense of their championship last season. Juventus will present a formidable challenge in their first match, but will also indicate the decision of this squad moving forward.
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The Danish squad does not have a secure path to the knockout stages, but the squad has enough home grown talent to make a run and shock more than one team. The squad is off to a strong start in the SAS-Ligaen with 4 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses and currently find themselves in third place in the Danish League. Realistically, this team this squad can probably hope for third place as Chelsea and Juventus will make it very hard to make a move for second.
The champions of Italy return to the Champions League for the first time since 2008-09 and are in form to make a splash at the tournament. The ageless Gianluigi Buffon will lead them in goal while Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci tighten the backend. The squad is gifted with the presence of passing master Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal while the talents of Nicklas Bendthner and Fabio Quagliarelli fill out the attack. Juventus has a tough challenge to start against defending champion Chelsea, but if anyone can win this group aside from Chelsea, Juventus is that team.
The Ukrainian squad was at the Champions League last season but wound up in last place in a group that included Porto, Zenit St. Petersburg, and APOEL. They enter the group stage with little to no chances at first or second place but they can definitely win the consolation prize and book a ticket to the Europa League.
|WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Shakhtar Donetsk||v||FC Nordsjælland||Group E||Donbass Arena|
|2:45 ET||Chelsea||v||Juventus||Group E||Stamford Bridge|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Juventus||v||Shakhtar Donetsk||Group E||Juventus Stadium|
|2:45 ET||FC Nordsjælland||v||Chelsea||Group E||Farum Park|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012|
|2:45 ET||FC Nordsjælland||v||Juventus||Group E||Farum Park|
|2:45 ET||Shakhtar Donetsk||v||Chelsea||Group E||Donbass Arena|
|WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Juventus||v||FC Nordsjælland||Group E||Juventus Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Chelsea||v||Shakhtar Donetsk||Group E||Stamford Bridge|
|TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2012|
|2:45 ET||FC Nordsjælland||v||Shakhtar Donetsk||Group E||Farum Park|
|2:45 ET||Juventus||v||Chelsea||Group E||Juventus Stadium|
|WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Shakhtar Donetsk||v||Juventus||Group E||Donbass Arena|
|2:45 ET||Chelsea||v||FC Nordsjælland||Group E||Stamford Bridge|
Chelsea: 4 wins, 2 draws, 14 pts
Juventus: 4 wins, 2 draws, 14 pts
Nordsjaelland: 1 win, 5 losses, 3 pts
Shakhtar Donetsk: 1 win, 5 losses, 3 pts
This group is not as close as many may believe. Juventus and Chelsea are miles above the other two.
Read about other groups at the Champions League.
Group A Preview: ASG, FC Porto, Dyano Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B Preview: Olympiakos, Montpelier, Schalke 04, Arsenal
Group C Preview: AC Milan, Malaga, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht
Group D Preview: Real madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E Preview: Juventus, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Nordsjaelland
Group F Preview: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, Bate Borisov
Group G Preview: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H Preview : Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj-Napoca