Earlier today, UEFA conducted the draw for the group stage of the 2020-21 Champions League. Matches begin October 20th with a double round robin, and the road to the Champions League final begins for 32 teams.
Eight United States Men’s National Team players will have their chance to play in the Champions League with their teams: Zack Steffen (Manchester City), Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Sergiño Dest (Barcelona), Tyler Adams (RB Leipzig), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), and Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge). Also, an American coach, Red Bull Salzburg’s Jesse Marsch, will hope to lead his team to Champions League glory.
The groups for the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League:
Group E - Sevilla, Chelsea, FC Krasnodar, Rennes
Group G - Juventus, Barcelona, Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencváros
Group H - Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig, İstanbul Başakşehir
The biggest group for American fans is Group G, which will have a big-time pair of matchups between Juventus and Barcelona, where Weston McKennie will face off against USMNT teammate Sergiño Dest. It’s also the first match between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since Cristiano Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juve in 2018. They are two matches that are perfect to be shown on CBS. Let’s see if the network boosts those matchups to network television for the country to see.
Tyler Adams and RB Leipzig may have the toughest group in the field, as they share Group H with PSG, Manchester United, and İstanbul Başakşehir, who won the Turkish SuperLïg this past season. It will be a remarkable test for Adams and Leipzig to get out of that group and advance to the knockout stage.
The team that looks to have the easiest road to the Round of 16 is Borussia Dortmund, who face Zenit, Lazio, and Club Brugge. Gio Reyna should be a major factor for the Black & Yellow during the group stage. For American fans of Manchester City, they hope that they can outlast Porto, Olympiacos, and Marseille so that backup goalkeeper Zack Steffen will get to see some matches.
Finally, Group A could be a tough test for Jesse Marsch and Red Bull Salzburg. To squeak past Atleti or Bayern to get to the knockout stage will be difficult to do, but Salzburg will not quit. Chris Richards, who’s just starting to work his way onto the field for Bayern’s first team, could see some action in Champions League. We can all hope Bayern gives Richards that much-needed experience in a few matches in the group stage.
Which matchups interest you? Which Americans do you think can make it out of the group to the knockout stage? Hit the comments and discuss.