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By Sam Lyon
1815: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. Or as Uefa might say, that concludes the live text commentary for the Champions League 2011-12 group stage draw. Snappy. You have 15 minutes of rest before returning to join
for tonight's Europa League action - happy days, clearly - and I will be back with you on Saturday and Sunday for the return of your good ol' fashioned English Premier League. Cashback. Until then...
DavePayn on Twitter:
"Man Utd a better side than last season but still not in Barca's class. CL to return to the Nou Camp, in my view."
JacobWare95 on Twitter:
"Three La Liga Nominees for the Best Player In Europe Award. Proof that the Premier League has been eclipsed?"
1805: A reminder before I wrap this bad boy up, then, of the draw... Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, MAN CITY, Napoli Group B: Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, Lille, Trabzonspor Group C: MAN UTD, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb Group E: CHELSEA, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen,Genk Group F: ARSENAL, Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit, Apoel FC Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen
FeedingGoater on Twitter:
"Uefa thinking ahead, and giving Man City a trip to Munich to find their way around before they return for the final!"
Gary, Maidstone via text: "Re mrrgladwell, Charlton Athletic would love to be in Man City's group. Fact."
1759: For the record, I'd have voted for Ruud Boffin. Obviously. Imagine that name plastered all over that award. Hilarious.
1757: Whooda thunk it? Lionel Messi is crowned Best Player In Europe. And literally not a single person on the planet reels in shock. It was voted for, by the way, by the top journalists in Europe. My voting card must have got lost in the post. Strange.
1756: The Best Player In Europe Award is imminent...
Josh, Wales via text: "Arsenal face a whole group of Udineses! Could be a tricky one!"
MrRGladwell on Twitter:
"Nobody wanted Manchester City in their group. I challenge you to find me someone who did..."
1752: Your contenders for the award - which is a new award, created after France Football magazine combined its traditional European award with Fifa's world player prize, don't you know - are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi. All three are on stage right now, although one can only hope they're not kept up there too long - the amount of gel on show could lead to a disturbing hair-melt incident any minute now.
1750: By the way, don't go thinking that the Uefa draw spectacular is over just yet - we have the Best Player in Europe Award to come yet! Hello? Did I just feel a wave of complete and utter ambivalence? Whatever.
dharrison39 on Twitter:
"Looks like all that fuss over the udinese game was for nothing, Gunners will get blown away in that group!"
Greg, York via text: "Tricky draw for Arsenal - but Man City has to be the group of death though! Exciting times ahead!"
1732: Manchester City fans - worried for a second there weren't you? As it happens, you were never in danger of being placed in Group H purely because Uefa had to keep their Champions League match-day nights separate (Tuesday and Wednesday) from Manchester United, who were already in the 'red' half of the draw. Dare I say, already, all four English teams will be quite happy with this draw?
1730: Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov
1729: Group C: MANCHESTER UNITED, Benfica, Basel
1728: Group E: CHELSEA, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen
1727: Group A: Bayern Munich, Villarreal, MANCHESTER CITY
1726: Group F: ARSENAL, Marseille, Olympiakos
1725: Group D: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax
1725: Group G: FC Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit St Petersburg
1711: With all Pot One teams out, here comes Manchester United legend and European Cup winner in 1968 Sir Bobby Charlton. Will the pot two balls be heated? Of course not, you cheeky conspiracy theorists!
1702: While Uefa official Gianni Infantino explains the rules of the draw - yes, the draw has rules - this would appear as good a time as any to get involved, no? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Do it now, and predict the unpredictable! Hurrah.
1700: The Portuguese with the ever-so nice barnet is joined by Germany legend and ambassador for the 2012 final in Munich, Paul Breintner. We're so close. So very, very close.
1658: Here comes Luis Figo - the man charged with pulling the names out of Pot One - and, my word, his hair looks so very shiny and black.
1657: And with the draw getting ever closer... honest... here are those pots again... POT 1: MANCHESTER UNITED, Barcelona, CHELSEA, Bayern Munich, ARSENAL, Real Madrid, Porto and Inter Milan POT 2: AC Milan, Lyon, Shakthar Donetsk, Valencia, Benfica, Villarreal, CSKA Moscow and Marseille POT 3: Zenit St Petersburg, Ajax, Leverkusen, Olympiakos, Lille, Basle, BATE Borisov and MANCHESTER CITY POT 4: Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Dinamo Zagreb, APOEL Nicosia, Genk, Viktoria Plzen, Otelul Galati and Trabzonspor
1653: Here comes the Champions League trophy - presented by Barcelona skipper Carles Puyol - and the shaggy-haired Spaniard has cleared overlooked the dress code section of his invitation, adorned as he is in training top and beach shorts. When you're a Champions League winner, you laugh in the face of formal wear. Mwahaha. Like that.
Reaney1878 on Twitter:
"The sooner country protection goes the better! We want to see the so called best teams play each other, not avoid."
Andy from Wilmslow via text: "My boss just caught me reading the commentary! I hope Man Utd get a good draw otherwise that verbal warning would have been for nothing!"
1650: And I have some timings for you now. The trophy will arrive on stage at 1651 BST. The first pot will be drawn at 1705, the second pot at 1716, the third pot at 1727 and the fourth pot at 1737. Be excited. There's also The Best Player in Europe Award at 1800 BST. Party time. Excellent.
1647: It's started! The draw ceremony has started! Not, you know the actual draw yet, but the ceremony! Oh ho yes. Michelle Winiger and Pedro Pinto are currently strutting their stuff. Fashion fans may be interested to know that black is the order of the day. Lovely.
BBC 5 Live's Nigel Adderley:
"Delegates in Champions League audience are currently being soothed with some acid jazz on the public address. Get on with it!"
FootballFormLab on Twitter:
"No English side lost a home group game in last season's Champions League. Man Utd drew 2/3 while the other three won 3/3."
1644: A perfect time, then, for you to all refresh this page, whereupon you find our audio commentary with
on our right-hand side. Jubbly.
1642: And congratulations to those who spotted the deliberate error at 1632 - Arsenal went out in the last 16, of course, while Chelsea lost in the quarters. Just checking you're awake. Which you are. Good.
1640: And a little insight into the finances involved - and one of many reasons why Arsenal will have been so relieved to
come through their qualifier against Udinese last night
- then. The 32 teams involved in this stage of the competition are expected to share £663m in prize money and bonuses from Uefa, with much, much more to come besides. Especially for those who go further in the competition. Paupers Man City will be loving them apples.
1636: A reminder on those pots, by the way, that there IS country protection. Meaning no two English clubs can be drawn in the same group, nor two Spanish sides and so on...
SlyLondon on Twitter:
"Yikes! I wouldn't like to get Pot 4 of the Champions League draw in a game of scrabble."
Mark, Scottish Gunner via text: "CSKA, Zenit and Trabzonspor would be a horrible draw. Good airmiles though!"
zedzdead on Twitter:
"I hope there's a free toy in each of the balls, might make it a bit more exciting for any kids watching."
1627: Oh - and the draw starts at 1645 BST. Which is nice. Though Uefa are going to stretch it out for an hour, apparently. Which is not.
MuseLuver on Twitter:
"I've never agreed more than with the tone on BBC Football. This has to be one of the toughest draws in Champions League history."
Mason in London via text: "Ooh I love a bit of football-cliché bingo. Uefa Co-Efficient....I had that one!"
1624: And a brief reminder for those of you who were expecting to see Fenerbahce's name in those groupings, the Turkish outfit have been
pulled out of this year's European campaign
on account of them currently being the subject of
a match-fixing investigation.
They have been replaced by Trabzonspor - though Fenerbahce, just to make things about as straightforward as a Christopher McQuarrie script, are appealing and hope to be reinstated. Yep. Clear as mud.
pixelgeist on Twitter:
"I'm staying at work late just to watch this, now that's dedication! Well, not to my job..."
1621: Right, first things first... your 'seeding' pots are as follows... POT 1: MANCHESTER UNITED, Barcelona, CHELSEA, Bayern Munich, ARSENAL, Real Madrid, Porto and Inter Milan POT 2: AC Milan, Lyon, Shakthar Donetsk, Valencia, Benfica, Villarreal, CSKA Moscow and Marseille POT 3: Zenit St Petersburg, Ajax, Leverkusen, Olympiakos, Lille, Basle, BATE Borisov and MANCHESTER CITY POT 4: Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Dinamo Zagreb, APOEL Nicosia, Genk, Viktoria Plzen, Otelul Galati and Trabzonspor
Ben, Cambridge via text: "Surely if Man City got Porto, Marseille and Oteuil Galeti they would be over the Blue Moon!"
bertieivoryp on Twitter:
"This has to be the toughest line up for some years? Dortmund and Napoli in pot 4. City, Ajax, B'Lev & Lille in 3. Tough."
1618: Now don't just sit there, watching the clock tick down before making the dash to your local for some Thursday-is-the-new-Friday warm-down drinks. Get involved, yeah? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag
or text in via 81111 (UK). Trust me, it will make the day go faster.
1615: So welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the draw for the 2011-12 Champions League group stages; 32 teams, eight groups of four, six matchdays. The footballing elite. Mouthwatering.
1612: Ooh, football-cliché bingo anyone?
1610: For the three other English teams in the hat, things could prove a little less daunting. Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United - courtesy of their
- are among the top seeds, meaning they will avoid the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. I mean, yes, Lyon, Valencia, Zenit St Petersburg, Dortmund and Napoli remain potential opponents, but you know what they also say - there are no easy games at this level.
1605: Now, no, I don't know who 'they' are either. But they have got a point. Manchester City may have waited a lifetime and more to feature in the Champions League but any notion they would be eased in quietly were dispelled when the pots for today's draw were unveiled. Roberto Mancini's boys are in pot three - meaning they are almost guaranteed a frightful group in this year's campaign. Barcelona, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund sound good City fans?
1600: You know what they say, right? "If you want to be the best, you've got to beat the best." Well, Manchester City fans, rarely will that ring more true than in this year's Champions League. Possibly.
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