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Roma Form Will Decide CL Group of Death


The UEFA Champions League returns Wednesday, and while opening day clashes like Real Madrid-Werder Bremen, Barcelona-Lyon and Arsenal-Sevilla will be stealing headlines, many pundits and neutrals have their eye firmly trained on Group D, the so-called Group of Death, which contains English champion Manchester United, Ukrainian champion Dynamo Kiev, Portuguese No. 2 Sporting Lisbon, and Coppa Italia champion AS Roma.

Roma could be the pivot on which the group turns. The Serie A leader is an enigmatic outfit, capable of running circles around the likes of AC Milan and Inter Milan on a good day or lying down and taking a 7-1 beating like it did against Manchester United in the quarterfinals last year. Which team will show up? So far, the Giallorossi have been perfect in the Italian league, but there are a couple of major tests on the horizon, starting with Wednesday's clash against Dynamo Kiev at the Stadio Olimpico and then Juventus four days later, also at home. A pair of wins could really set the tone for the Romans' season in both competitions.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, for one, understands the threat the Italians represent, calling Roma one of his dark horses to win the whole thing. "[Roma was] very disappointing against Manchester United last year but they were very, very surprising against Lyon. It was the first year they were in the competition and have learned a lot. They have the basic technical quality to do well."

Read the whole story at Football Italia »

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