Big three set for opening night

Bayern Munich begin their Champions League title defence in a home game against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday—AP

Bayern Munich begin their Champions League title defence in a home game against CSKA Moscow on Tuesday—AP

Experienced as they are there will still be a few first-night nerves this week as Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Jose Mourinho set off on new Champions League journeys with plenty to prove and reputations to polish.

Each with two Champions League triumphs on their managerial CVs, two of them are attempting to work their European magic in new surroundings while the third has returned to the club at which the continent’s biggest club prize proved elusive.
After a year-long sabbatical, having twice taken Barcelona to European glory in a glittering reign, Guardiola has arrived at Bayern Munich tasked with retaining the trophy won in such style by Jupp Heynckes in May.
Ancelotti, after his brief stay at Paris St Germain, will be expected to deliver Real Madrid’s 10th European Cup without delay, having twice led Milan to the summit.
Mourinho, who Ancelotti has replaced in the Spanish capital, will seek to steer Chelsea all the way to the final in Lisbon having returned to London determined to win club football’s biggest prize with a third club.
Guardiola’s Bayern open the defence of their crown at home to CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid will unleash Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in Turkey against Galatasaray while Chelsea face Swiss side FC Basel at Stamford Bridge.
Rafa Benitez, another manager with a proven Champions League pedigree, will have to hit the ground running as his Napoli side host last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund in what looks like being a devilishly difficult Group F.
With so many Champions League masterminds among the 32 coaches setting off this week, Manchester United’s David Moyes and Barcelona’s new coach Gerardo Martino look like rookies in comparison as they prepare for their first ventures in the groups stages of the tournament.
Moyes will need all his steely calm and self belief as he plots United’s first Champions League campaign in the post-Alex Fergsuon era.
The Scot will have a tough baptism with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen first up on Tuesday in a group that also contains Real Sociedad and Ukraine champions Shakhtar Donetsk.
A good start in Europe will go a long way to helping Moyes establish himself but the Champions League, as even Fergsuon would testify to, can be an unforgiving place.
“(Ferguson) said he thinks this is one of the hardest draws United have had in the Champions League,” Moyes, whose only flirtation with the competition was a final qualifying round defeat while in charge at Everton, said.
“If that’s coming from him it must be tough.”
Martino has started life confidently at the Nou Camp and with Lionel Messi already having scored six league goals and with Brazilian Neymar about to make his Champions League bow, Barca will again start as one of the favourites.
The Catalans are in Group H - the only section comprised of all former winners - with Celtic, Milan and Ajax Amsterdam who they begin against on Wednesday in one of the ties of the week.
While Moyes may be a novice at this level, albeit with a team containing the likes of Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, rivals Manchester City have recruited a vastly-experienced European coach in Manuel Pellegrini.

Post new comment

<form action="/comment/reply/257345" accept-charset="UTF-8" method="post" id="comment-form"> <div><div class="form-item" id="edit-name-wrapper"> <label for="edit-name">Your name: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="60" name="name" id="edit-name" size="30" value="Reader" class="form-text required" /> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-mail-wrapper"> <label for="edit-mail">E-Mail Address: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <input type="text" maxlength="64" name="mail" id="edit-mail" size="30" value="" class="form-text required" /> <div class="description">The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.</div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-comment-wrapper"> <label for="edit-comment">Comment: <span class="form-required" title="This field is required.">*</span></label> <textarea cols="60" rows="15" name="comment" id="edit-comment" class="form-textarea resizable required"></textarea> </div> <fieldset class=" collapsible collapsed"><legend>Input format</legend><div class="form-item" id="edit-format-1-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-1"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-1" name="format" value="1" class="form-radio" /> Filtered HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Allowed HTML tags: &lt;a&gt; &lt;em&gt; &lt;strong&gt; &lt;cite&gt; &lt;code&gt; &lt;ul&gt; &lt;ol&gt; &lt;li&gt; &lt;dl&gt; &lt;dt&gt; &lt;dd&gt;</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> <div class="form-item" id="edit-format-2-wrapper"> <label class="option" for="edit-format-2"><input type="radio" id="edit-format-2" name="format" value="2" checked="checked" class="form-radio" /> Full HTML</label> <div class="description"><ul class="tips"><li>Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.</li><li>Lines and paragraphs break automatically.</li></ul></div> </div> </fieldset> <input type="hidden" name="form_build_id" id="form-6b50bdb674b449194a46df71db878bf6" value="form-6b50bdb674b449194a46df71db878bf6" /> <input type="hidden" name="form_id" id="edit-comment-form" value="comment_form" /> <fieldset class="captcha"><legend>CAPTCHA</legend><div class="description">This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.</div><input type="hidden" name="captcha_sid" id="edit-captcha-sid" value="61187468" /> <input type="hidden" name="captcha_response" id="edit-captcha-response" value="NLPCaptcha" /> <div class="form-item"> <div id="nlpcaptcha_ajax_api_container"><script type="text/javascript"> var NLPOptions = {key:'c4823cf77a2526b0fba265e2af75c1b5'};</script><script type="text/javascript" src="http://call.nlpcaptcha.in/js/captcha.js" ></script></div> </div> </fieldset> <span class="btn-left"><span class="btn-right"><input type="submit" name="op" id="edit-submit" value="Save" class="form-submit" /></span></span> </div></form>

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

No Articles Found

I want to begin with a little story that was told to me by a leading executive at Aptech. He was exercising in a gym with a lot of younger people.

Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen didn’t make the cut. Neither did Shaji Karun’s Piravi, which bagged 31 international awards.