Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Copa Libertadores - Group Stage Draw

Not only the first round of the Copa Libertadores was drawn yesterday, we also get an idea of who plays who in the group stage. There are quite some great groups to look forward to. 

(photo from

Group 1 contains the title holders: Argentina's River Plate want to defend their title and start that mission against The Strongest, Trujillanos and the winner of Universidad César Vallejo vs São Paulo. It should make for a good group as at least three clubs are going to have a realistic chance to advance (sorry, Trujillanos). São Paulo will get by the first round and compete for the round of 16 along with the Argentines and Bolivians.

This leads us to Group 2, which looks like a really strong one on paper. Uruguay's champion Nacional are meeting Brazil's cup winner Palmeiras and Argentina's Rosario Central. The group is filled up by the winner of River Plate (URU) vs Universidad de Chile. Assuming U de Chile makes it through their qualification round, all four teams look strong enough to advance to the round of 16. They're all big teams in their respective countries and you cannot ask for much more atmospherically either. 

Group 3 is likely going to have a massive Argentinian clash. Boca Juniors are seeded and expect Racing Club to join them after the first stage. Bolívar and Deportivo Cali are going to be the outsiders and would heavily surprise should they advance. 

The other big Uruguayan club, Peñarol, were drawn into Group 4. Colombia's Atlético Nacional, Peru's Sporting Cristal and the winner of Huracán vs Caracas pose the threats to advancing. This could be another relatively even group, in which you cannot write off anyone, even though Peruvian clubs never get much done on the international stage. 

Group 5 contains Atlético Mineiro, Colo-Colo, Melgar and the winner of Independiente del Valle vs Guaraní. The two first named teams should be the clear-cut favourites, even if Guaraní went very far last season. Melgar will be happy to collect a point every here and there and has no realistic chance against some of South America's heavyweights. 

Another good one is Group 6. The 2014 Libertadores champion San Lorenzo that got eliminated early last season is meeting Grêmio, LDU Quito and Toluca. In order to advance, the Argentines have to be more stable or else they could find their dreams ended early yet again. Grêmio looks like the favourite along with San Lorenzo though.

Olimpia, Emelec, Deportivo Táchira and Mexican side Pumas UNAM are facing off in Group 7. All three first named teams have recently been crowned champions of their respective countries and look to excite their fans along with Mexico's club that is known around the world. Take a look at this group if you can!

Last but not least, Group 8. Brazilian champion Corinthians meets Cerro Porteño, Cobresal and the winner of Oriente Petrolero vs Santa Fe. Since Copa Sudamericana winner Santa Fe is clearly the better team and expected to go through, the group should be a nice one. For me personally, they will be favourites to go through with Corinthians but you really cannot count out the other two either. 

Whatever happens, it will be good to finally have the Copa Libertadores back again in early 2016.


Post a Comment