The UEFA Champions League group stage is set. The world spent an hour watching awkward officials talk about inane things, pretend they're best friends with some legends of the sport and then pick balls out of bowls all so they could know what the group stage will look like. Well know, we know. And what do we think about it?
Bongarts/Getty ImagesMatthias Hangst
There is no Group of Death
It's the UEFA Champions League so of course there are tough groups. Manchester City aren't happy about being in the same group as Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid certainly didn't want to get matched up with Bayern Munich, but neither of them are in impossibly hard groups. The best teams from Pot 3 didn't get put into groups with two superpowers from Pot 1 and Pot 2. Nothing is unfairly difficult. There's no guarantee that a great team will miss the knockout stages because the draw did them wrong. There is no Group of Death.
UEFA via Getty ImagesHarold Cunningham - UEFA
What did Manchester City do to anger the draw gods?
Manchester City should advance from Group C, but it won't be easy. Not with Barcelona there and even Borussia Monchengladbach. Normally, we'd dismiss a draw like this as bad luck, but City have been getting drawn with a world power every year. Last season, they got Juventus. Before that it was Bayern Munich in consecutive seasons and in the year prior, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Oh yeah, and before that there was Bayern Munich (yes, a third time). In each of City's Champions League campaigns, they've gotten one of the best teams in the world for the group stage. Part of that is they've never been in Pot 1, but seriously, they can't catch a break just once? Maybe get Benfica or CSKA from Pot 1? This is just cruel.
Getty ImagesCatherine Ivill - AMA
High profile rematches
Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid have been drawn into the same group, giving us a tantalizing rematch of last year's semifinal tie. Atleti got the best of the Bavarians then, only thanks to away goals, and they're still two of the best teams in the world. Meanwhile, Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund will get to replay their clashes from 2013 and 2014, when they met in the knockout stages. BVB reigned supreme in the first one, but Real Madrid got them back the next year. And like Bayern and Atleti, they too are a pair of the world's best. Thank you to the powers that be for both of these.
Getty ImagesBoris Streubel
Pep Guardiola is going back to Barcelona
This won't be Pep Guardiola's first return to Barcelona -- his Bayern Munich team took on the Catalans in the semifinals two years ago -- but it's still going to be a treat to see Guardiola back at the club where he won 10 trophies as a player and another nine as a manager. Guardiola's Manchester City team will probably be overmatched, but Lionel Messi & Co. taking on their former leader? Sign us up.
Getty ImagesChris Brunskill
Leicester City have a chance
It seems crazy to doubt the defending Premier League champions, but a lot of people were skeptical of Leicester's chances to make a run in the Champions League and for good reason. But their domestic title did earn them a spot in Pot 1 for the draw and it paid off with a pretty easy group. They have Porto, Brugge and Copenhagen, three teams they can all beat. There's no questioning that the Foxes are now favorites to advance from Group G. Leicester in the Champions League knockout stages? That might be even crazier than them winning the league. Plus, the more European nights at the King Power Stadium, the better.
The FA via Getty ImagesBarrington Coombs - The FA
Sevilla's Europa League will probably come to an end
Sevilla are the king of the Europa League, winning the competition three years in a row now. But they probably won't make it four. That's because the Champions League draw did them a solid, putting them with Juventus, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb. Sevilla are now favorites to finish second in the group and advance to the knockout stages. That would mean no dropping down to the Europa League, robbing them of a chance to make it four in a row from Europe's second-tier competition. Something tells us they'll get over it.
Getty ImagesDavid Ramos
England's coefficient should be safe
A few bad years in Europe have dealt England's UEFA league coefficient a major hit. Now they're only just ahead of Italy as Europe's third-best league, a standing they need to keep so they can continue to get four teams into the Champions League. If they drop below Italy, they'd only get three. But the draw has Manchester City, Leicester, Arsenal and Tottenham all in a position to run off some wins, which should boost the country's coefficient and keep them in third place. Of course, there are rumblings that UEFA will change the format in coming years to automatically put four teams from the top four leagues into the Champions League group stage, rendering the coefficient talk irrelevant. But just in case that doesn't happen, this draw should protect England's top three place.