Late this evening, we will know the last five teams to have qualified for the Champions League group stage. But it is already possible to outline Maccabi Haifa's possible rivals ahead of tomorrow's draw at 6 P.M. in Monaco.
Haifa, with 17.05 points, will, of course, be ranked in the fourth tier of clubs, alongside German champion Wolfsburg and Belgian champion Standard Liege. Needless to say, the top-ranked clubs include Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, AC Milan, Bayern Munich, Sevilla and Arsenal - assuming that the Gunners don't slip up this evening against Celtic.
The second-ranked teams include some big names that, although they have failed to bag major trophies in recent years, are still European powerhouses boasting outstanding players - such as Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Juventus and Lyon. Even the third-ranked teams include some particularly strong lineups, such as Bordeaux, Marseilles and Atletico Madrid.
No two teams from the same country may be drawn in the same four-team group, meaning Maccabi Haifa could theoretically end up in a dream group - at least in terms of attractiveness - that might include Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bordeaux; Barcelona, Inter Milan and Marseilles; or Liverpool, Juventus and Atletico Madrid. On the other hand, Elisha Levy's charges could draw relatively weak opposition such as Sevilla, AZ Alkmaar and Dynamo Kiev. If that happens, we can at least allow ourselves to dream about reaching the knockout stage.
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