The group stage draw for the European Champions League Group Stage has produced some mouth watering ties. Real Madrid vs Liverpool, Bayern Munich vs Manchester City and Arsenal vs Dortmund are just a few of the upcoming Euro blockbusters.
European Champions League 2015 Group Stage Draw:
Group A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiacos, Malmo.
Group B: Real Madrid, Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets.
Group C: Benfica, Zenit, Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco.
Group D: Arsenal, Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht.
Group E: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, Roma (the group of death?)
Group F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL.
Group G: Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting Lisbon, Maribor.
Group H: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Athletic Bilbao, BATE Borisov
After winning La Decima (10th European crown), can Real Madrid’s new Galacticios, led by World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez, win back to back titles? Premier Sports Memorabilia took a look back at their La Decima triumph in last season’s final;
Real Madrid ECL final review 2014
It was a long time between sangria’s but the Real Madrid fans were finally able to see their side crowned European Champions to achieve the La Decima. The 10th Champions League triumph for Real came after 12 years since their last title way back in 2002 where they beat Bayer Leverkusen and I don’t think many fans across Europe would’ve predicted it would be 12 years before they were crowned champions again.
It was nearly an utter disaster though as Atletico Madrid lead for the majority of the game and it wasn’t until the dying minutes that Sergio Ramos leapt highest from a Luka Modric corner to head past Thibaut Courtious in the Atletico goal and Real went onto emphatically beat their city rivals 4-1 after extra time. It was a rather flattering score line in all honesty for Carlo Ancelotti’s side but they will not have cared one bit about the score as long as they claimed La Decima.
All the talk prior to the final was the fitness levels regarding Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa. The best players from each side were facing their own battles before stepping out onto the pitch and it was evident from minute 1 who was fit and who was desperate to play through the pain barrier. Diego Costa limped off the pitch after just 9 minutes after the hamstring injury he sustained against Barcelona proved too be one step too far for the Spanish forward and he had to endure the agony of watching his side compete for another major honour without his presence on the pitch, as he had done at the Nou Camp.
Cristiano Ronaldo meanwhile was inflicting his damage on the pitch to the pain of the Atletico players as the Portuguese captain will fully believe his performances in this seasons Champions League merit another winners medal to his collection. His penalty in the remaining few minutes of extra time took his tally to 18 goals which is a new record.
Atletico took the lead when Diego Godin stooped in before half time with a header that looped over Iker Casillas and the usually reliable Spanish shot stopper desperately tried to race back and claw the ball away but Godin’s effort agonizingly trickled in. Real created more chances in the second half but were left frustrated by the stern defence they were up against which was so successful in the La Liga this term and ultimately contributed to their winning domestic campaign.
Sergio Ramos has been in prolific form in the past month or so, popping up with some crucial goals and none more so than his leveller in injury time to take the final to extra time. Real then went in cruise control as Gareth Bale headed in from Angel Di Maria’s saved effort before Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo put the final touches to the score.
Carlo Ancelotti was specifically brought in to go a step further than Jose Mourinho had achieved in the previous campaigns and he certainly did that by masterminding victories over Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the semis and final. Many will boast that isn’t such a hard task given the talent Real have at their disposal but Ancelotti has showed supreme man management skills in guiding Real to the La Decima and like Ronaldo, has added another Champions League winners medal to his haul.
So do you think that Real Madrid can go back to back in the Champions Leauge?
Sound off in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.