Champions League takes on less predictable look

Thu Aug 27, 2015 5:03pm EDT
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By Brian Homewood

MONACO (Reuters) - The Champions League group stages took on a less predictable look after Thursday's draw, helped by UEFA's decision to tweak the seeding system.

Only Group A, where Paris St Germain and Real Madrid should steam through, and Group F, set to be dominated by Bayern Munich and Arsenal, appeared to be foregone conclusions after the hour-long ceremony in Monaco.

Other sections looked far more difficult to call, particularly Group D where anything could happen between Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

In past years UEFA have based their seeding system for the draw on club coefficients, a complex ranking based on results in European competition.

This time European soccer's governing body brought in a change, the top seeds were the champions of the eight most successful nations in club competition.

Real Madrid, who lead the club coefficients but were not La Liga winners last season, were one of the eight second seeds while Dutch league champions PSV Eindhoven, 37th in the coefficients, were one of the eight top seeds.

Whether by accident or design, the draw could pump a little more excitement into a competition that, recently in the group stages, has been short on romance and shock results.

Last season all but five places in the round of 16 were taken before the final round of matches in the group stages.   Continued...

A general view of the screens shows the draw for the 2015/2016 UEFA Champions League Cup soccer competition at Monaco's Grimaldi Forum in Monte Carlo August 27, 2015.   REUTERS/Eric Gaillard