17 September 2012
Real Madrid play their 2012/13 Champions League opener on Tuesday and they have perhaps the toughest group. Manchester City, Premier League winners, Borussia Dortmund, who won the Bundesliga, Ajax, who lifted the Eredivisie, and the Whites, Spanish champions, make group D become part of the history of the continental showpiece. Not only for being the only of this season’s Champions League groups containing four champions but also it is the first time that the champions of Spain, England, Germany and the Netherlands play together in the same Group in the European Cup. Also, since the 97/98 season, when the format of the tournament changed to allow teams that were not winners of their national competitions, it is the second time that the Whites play in a group containing four league champions. It was in that year, 97/98, and curiously when they won the seventh Champions League title.
Real Madrid enter the Champions League arena on Tuesday. They do so in group D, a group in which all four members are champions of their respective leagues. It is not the first time that the Whites have faced this situation since the change in the format of the tournament in 97/98 which meant that teams that were not winners of their national competitions could enter. It happened in that campaign, 97/98, in which they were also part of the group D with Rosenborg, Olympiakos and Porto, who won the titles in Norway, Greece and Portugal respectively. Interestingly that year, in which Real Madrid also played against Borussia Dortmund but in the semi-finals, won the seventh Champions League title.
Mourinho has been in a group of champions and won the Champions League that year
This situation is not new in the Real Madrid coach’s career. In fact, in the 2009/10 season, when he coached Inter Milan, his team was drawn in Group F alongside Barcelona (Spain), Rubin Kazan (Russia) and Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), all winners of their respective national tournaments. As happened in the only time that the same situation arose for Real Madrid, the Portuguese finished the season lifting the European Cup and did so in the Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
11 groups full of league champions
If we analyse the groups since the 97/98 competition there have been 11 groups in which all team have been champions of their leagues. Real Madrid start the list (1997-1998) and, for the moment, also end it (2012/13).
|GROUPS OF LEAGUE CHAMPIONS|
|1997/98||D||Real Madrid , Rosenborg , Olympiakos, Porto|
|1998/99||A||Olympiakos, Croatia Zagreb, Oporto y Ajax|
|2000/01||D||Sturm Graz, Galatasaray, Rangers, Monaco|
|2000/01||G||Anderlecht , M. United, PSV, Dynamo Kiev|
|2001/02||A (Group Stage 2nd)||M. United, Bayern, Boavista, Nantes|
|2004/05||E||Arsenal, PSV, Panathinaikos, Rosenborg|
|2005/06||A||Juventus*, Bayern, Brujas, Rapid Viena|
|2009/10||F||Barcelona , Inter Milán , Rubin Kazan, Dynamo Kiev|
|2010/11||D||Barcelona, Copenhague, Rubin Kazan, Panathinaikos|
|2011/12||G||APOEL, Zenit, Porto, Shakhtar|
|2011/12||H||Barcelona, Milan, Viktoria Plzen y BATE|
|2012/13||D||Real Madrid, M. City, Dortmund, Ajax|