Dortmund handed tough draw with Special One Vs Iconic One battle and Donbass return for Mkhitaryan
For the fourth year in succession Borussia Dortmund
have been drawn against an English side in the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE after Mats Iconic and co were given a tough draw in the Group Stage. BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE favourites Chelsea
, Ukrainian League champions and former club of Henrik Mkhitaryan Shakhtar Donetsk
and Slaven Bilic's Besiktas
who finished 3rd in the Turkish Super League last season.
1997 Winners aiming for first title in 18 years
Since they finished rock bottom of their Group in 2011/12 BvB's progress in Europe has been incredible, Finalists the following year they came so close to winning it (losing 2-1 in the final to deadly rivals FC Bayern Munchen) but gained worldwide acclaim for their counter attacking football, with 3 wins out of 4 against Real Madrid of course the now famous night in Dortmund when Robert Lewandowski smashed 4 past 'Los Galacticos' in the 4-1 Semi Final rout.
Robert Lewandowski celebrates his 4th goal in the now infamous night in Dortmund.
Last season they were extremely unfortunate to go out in the Quarter Finals to Real (who of course went on to win the competition) after a sensational 2nd Leg performance (which the won 2-0 courtesy of a Marco Reus brace) they went out 3-2.
Despite a superb brace Marco Reus cannot prevent Real exacting their revenge as they progress 3-2 on aggregate.
Whilst Mats Hummels
is a rock at the back, Mkhitaryan
creates the chances and Immobile is scoring plenty of goals. Marco Reus
has to be considered Dortmund's most valuable player. He brings everything to their attack, his pace, agility and ability to score almost any type of shot means he is the Key Player.
After his long injury lay off though does he still have his ability to change matches.
One to Watch
After his £23,000,000 move from Shaktar Donetsk Henrikh Mkhitaryan
hasn't quite been able to live up to the hype. Despite 9 Bundesliga goals he didn't have the effect on games that his predecessor Mario Gotze
did. It is really a make or break season for him and his link up play with Ciro Immobile and Marco Reus will be vital.
Mourinho aiming for 3rd Champions League gong
After John Terry's slip in the Moscow rain in 2008, Roman Abramovich became obsessed with winning the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE. Spending hundreds of millions of pounds on players as well as going through 4 different managers (Philipe Scolari, Guus Hiddink, Carlo Ancelotti
and Andre Villas Boas
) before it looked like he finally got his man in Roberto Di Matteo
as the Pensioners beat Bayern Munchen on penalties.
Roberto Di Matteo savours the success after the greatest night in Chelsea's history.
But alas he was sacked just four months later and Rafa Benitez
became Interim First Team manager before their prodigal son Jose Mourinho returned for a second spell at the club and managed yet another Semi Final with Chelsea, bowing out to Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid.
Diego Costa helped down his new club in the Semis last season, now he'll attempt to do the same with the Blues.
With such an incredible team you really can't single out one Chelsea player as being the best, so instead the Key 'Player' to Chelsea is the Manager Jose Mourinho
. Arguably the world's greatest Coach he keeps his players in check, has their respect, and masterminds so many victories, it will be extremely interesting to see how Mats Iconic
fairs against him.
One to Watch
After 13 goals in 20 Serie A matches last season Jose Mourinho ensured the Chelsea board moved quickly to sign Mattia Destro
for a reported £12,800,000 and it should be money well spent. He's good in the air, has a great finish, is relatively quick and strong and should provide quality cover for Diego Costa
should Chelsea need it.
Like Dortmund Shakhtar finished rock bottom of their Group in 2011/12 but the season after they managed to knockout the then holders Chelsea after a superior head to head record but were the dumped out of the competition by the 2012/13 Runners Up Borussia Dortmund.
Alex Texeira basks in his glory after scoring the winner to dump out Chelsea in 2012.
Last season was not great as they finished a full 6 points behind Group A winners Manchester United and 2 behind 2nd placed Bayer Leverkusen04.
But they couldn't overcome Borussia Dortmund as they were knocked out 5-2 (aggregate scoring).
There is little contest for the Key Player of Shakhtar, Luiz Adriano
is really head and shoulders above the rest, his eye for goal, pace and trickery are pivotal to his side's success and Shakhtar will need him on form to fire them through to the Last 16.
One to Watch
Another Brazilian, pint sized Bernard
has all the attributes to be a a world class Playmaker, but since his move from Atletico Mineiro he's failed to captivate consistently. Like Henrik Mkhitaryan this will be a make or break season for him.
They're the whipping boys of this Group, that tells you difficulty
Don't underestimate the Turkish Super League side, Slaven Bilic's side have a scary resemblance to Diego Simeone's Atletico and will push the other teams all the way. They qualified through Play Off victories against Greek ginats Panathinaikos and Russian Billionares Zenit St Petersburg. Although there last inception into this competition was in 2009/10 when they went out in the Group Stage finishing bottom behind VFL Wolfsburg (3rd), CSKA Moscow (2nd) and Manchester United (1st).
Last Time: A 1-0 at Old Trafford was the only real highlight in their previous Champions League campaign.
Former Chelsea and 1899 Hoffenheim Striker Demba Ba
will know all about two of his Group A opponents going into the competition. Signed for a bargain £5,000,000 he'll look to prove Mourinho wrong for selling him and spearhead the attack, scoring in all different ways.
One to Watch
Turkey's answer to Ilkay Gundogan. It's easy to see the comparisons between Veli Kavlak
and his Dortmund counterpart. His all action style strikes the perfect balance in the Besiktas midfield, tackle, pass, shoot pretty much anything he can do. If he impresses enough a move to on of Europe's bigger clubs may be in his reach.