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Don’t mourn the Champions League group stage, even if the Swiss model isn’t any better

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Having been a feature of every European campaign since 1992-93, this year’s group stage will be the last. It’s a bold, complex and almost certainly confusing approach, which might make us yearn for the very simple concept we’ve become accustomed to: eight four-team groups, six matches, no real explanation needed. But that would be partially forgetting the sense that the group stage has become a little tired, predictable and increasingly lacking in excitement. Granted, there are routinely one or two upsets a year and a couple of groups that go down to the wire. By and large, though, the Champions League group stage is less thrilling than in its heyday.

(Between 1999-00 and 2002-03 there was a second group stage — this article focuses solely on the first group stage)..

Maybe the Champions League group stage needed a slight revamp, but this Swiss system will surely make things worse.

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