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Dec 9, 2012 8:57pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

The 2012-13 UEFA Champions League is set to take shape on Thursday in Monaco. Adrian Peterson Jersey . Just over three
months after Chelsea stunned the continent by beating favoured Bayern Munich on
home soil, Europes top competition is getting set to kick-off once more. With 32
teams now qualified for soccers most elite club tournament, the seeded teams
will be placed into eight pots of four, for the draw. The remaining teams have
been separated into four pots of eight based on the clubs performances
throughout UEFA competitions in 2012. The draw is weighted, however, ensuring
that a Euro-like “Group of Death” scenario is unlikely in the group stage. Clubs
from the same country can not be drawn together for the group stage and –
furthermore – teams from the same association are placed on opposing sides of
the draw. The seeding process usually ensures balance, but that does not
guarantee that a lower-seeded team cant upset the favourites, nor does it ensure
that the most popular clubs are at the top of the draw. The top seeds include:
Chelsea (given top-billing as defending Champs), fellow English sides Manchester
United and Arsenal, Spanish rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as Bayern
Munich, A.C. Milan and F.C. Porto. The biggest name in the second seeding pot
belongs to reigning English Premier League Champs Manchester City, who are
joined by the likes of Valencia, Ukrainian clubs Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo
Kyiv, Germanys Schalke, Russian club Zenit St. Petersburg and Portuguese sides
Benfica and Braga. Reigning Italian champs Juventus will be drawn as a third
seed and could offer a tougher ride for the top-seed drawn alongside them.
Theres also star-power amongst the third seeded teams, including Zlatan
Ibrahimovics Paris St-Germain. The fourth and lowest-seeded pot is not without
potential land-mines as well: including the Bundesligas best team from 2012-13,
Borussia Dortmund and Scottish favourites Celtic FC. While winning the European
crown offered redemption to Chelsea – winning its first Champions League title –
and moreover to high-spending owner Roman Abramovich, the campaign was one of
disappointment to a lot of the continents top teams. Spanish giants Real Madrid
and Barcelona will look to get favourable draws for the group stage after both
saw their championship dreams dashed on home soil in the semi-finals last
season. The two rivals will likely stay apart until the very end, but many
Spanish fans were stunned to see the dream of a Clasico for the top prize vanish
before their eyes. Three of the four English sides enter this years competition
facing huge questions. Cross-town rivals Manchester City and Manchester United
left their title fight to the final second of the EPL season, but both had the
luxury of having time on their side after flaming out in the group stage in last
years Champions competition. City lost a crucial match to eventual
knockout-qualifiers Napoli on the second-to-last Match Day of the group stage.
The Citizens pulled out a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich the following week, but
that result was rendered moot by Napolis 2-0 win over the winless Villarreal.
For United, the heartbreak was much swifter. Heading to Switzerland needing just
a draw with Basel to advance, the Red Devils were still in position to
potentially win the group heading into their final match. Instead, the Swiss
side emerged with a 2-1 victory and United headed home before the knockout stage
for the first time since 2006. Arsenal, meanwhile, enters the competition under
a black cloud. The team has parted ways with top players Robin van Persie
(transferred to Manchester United) and Alex Song (Barcelona) in the last two
weeks and had a contract extension rejected this week by Theo Walcott. Bayern
Munich looks to avenge the disappointment of losing the final on penalties at
home, while Juventus return to the competition after two years away looking for
its first run to the knockout stage since 2008-09. With league play having
kicked off over the past two weeks in most countries, European football fans
have already gotten a taste of how their clubs stack up against domestic
competition. After Thursday many fans will start mapping their clubs route
across the continent. Adrian Peterson Youth Jersey . The Rangers
are the top seed in the East for the first time since they won their last
Stanley Cup title in 1994, but New York was forced to stave off elimination in
Game 6. Paul Krause Jersey .” Drogba, who scored the
decisive penalty to defeat Bayern Munich in the shootout of the Champions League
final on Saturday, is out of contract next month. The 34-year-old Ivory Coast
international joined the west London club from Marseille in 2004. http://www.nflnikeminnesotavikings.com/christian-ponder-jerseys
. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Thursdays game against the Arizona
Diamondbacks that doctors expect Gordon to make a full recovery. Gordon, injured
Wednesday night sliding head-first into third base on a steal attempt against
Cincinnati, had an MRI earlier Thursday and arrived to the clubhouse with a cast
over his right hand. Chad Greenway Jersey . The sophomore running
back rushed for a career-best 172 yards and three touchdowns to power the
Toronto Argonauts past the Tiger-Cats 45-31 at Rogers Centre to sweep their
Labour Day series. Fran Tarkenton Jersey .J. —Let the other
Eastern Conference playoff teams body check, elbow, trip and rough each other up
for seven games.ROUEN, France—A director of Garmin-Sharp denied that any of
the cycling teams riders have been banned for six months by the U.S. Anti-Doping
Agency as part of its doping probe into seven-time Tour de France winner Lance
Armstrong. Jonathan Vaughters said on Thursday that a Dutch media report about
six-month bans is “completely untrue.” Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported
that Vaughters and four other former teammates of Armstrong have been given
six-month bans that are to begin in late September. De Telegraaf cited unnamed
“well-informed sources” in its report that Vaughters, George Hincapie, Levi
Leipheimer, David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde received the bans after
admitting to doping and agreeing to give evidence against Armstrong. Vande Velde
and Zabriskie are part of the Garmin team. Leipheimer, who rides for Omega
Pharma-QuickStep, declined to comment on the report. “Im just here to ride the
Tour de France, and so far Im still in the hunt for the general classification,”
he said. “I cant say anything.” Hincapie also declined to comment, the BMC rider
saying he just wanted to help Cadel Evans defend his Tour title. “Im hhere to
help Cadel win the Tour. Kyle Rudolph Womens Jersey. This has nothing
to do with BMC,” said Hincapie, who added that he hadnt spoken to Armstrong
recently. “Im sad he is going through this. Hes done so many things for the
sport. His accomplishments are incredible.” BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz also
denied knowledge of the bans. “Weve not received any information from any
authority about this issue at all,” he said. Armstrong has always strenuously
denied doping and a two-year federal probe ended in February with no criminal
charges being laid against the Texan. However, USADA has filed formal charges
against Armstrong, accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs throughout
the best years of his career. The agency notified Armstrong and his former team
manager, Johan Bruyneel, plus several of his team associates of the charges in a
letter last month. The charges came after a USADA review panel examined evidence
in the case, which now goes to an arbitration panel to decide. If found guilty,
Armstrong could be stripped of the Tour titles he won from 1999-2005. Armstrongs
attorney, Robert Luskin, called the charges “wrong and baseless.” ’ ’ ’ 

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