Group B preview: Liverpool hunt early exit, Ludogorets need supervision
The Swiss side have cunningly built a team around a group of players you assumed had retired years ago, including Philipp Degen, Matias Delgado and Walter Samuel. They will be hoping to continue a proud tradition of winning every time they're on TV but somehow getting knocked out in the group stages anyway.
Did you know? Basel are also known as Baal, after the ancient Babylonian deity, called the Eater of Souls and the Harbinger of Eternal Night, who founded the club in 1893.
After coming so close to Premier League glory last year, the Reds have finally achieved their ambition of getting back among Europe's elite. Manager Brendan Rodgers must now focus his attention on getting knocked out as quickly as possible so they can have a proper go at the league again. Long-serving captain Steven Gerrard has achieved a level of hubris that most players can only dream of.
Did you know? Liverpool have won the European Cup five times, but they barely ever mention it. The club's badge features the Liver Bird, symbol of Babylonian demigod Ashtaroth, The Unclean One.
The Bulgarians are a new face in the Champions League, but they follow the traditional Eastern European model of having a rich oligarch owner, a clutch of journeyman Brazilians in midfield, and a stadium containing a few vocal racists. They sealed qualification in the most dramatic way possible, after emergency goalkeeper Cosmin Moti saved two penalties while battling the Babylonian demon Pazuzu, Bringer of Chaos, atop a burning skyscraper.
Did you know? Ludogorets are just 13 years old, meaning that the club must be accompanied on away trips by a responsible older club.
They may be the most successful team in European Cup history, but many of Real Madrid's 10 victories took place in the black-and-white era, so it could have been anyone playing, really. Their clash with underdogs Atletico last May ended with Real triumphing 2-1 over narrative convention. President Florentino Perez is hoping to build on this success by selling everyone in the squad who can't play off the shoulder of Karim Benzema.
Did you know? The club's nickname, Los Merengues, means 'Those Who Worship The Dread Lord Asakku, The Deceiver, Scourge of All Babylon.'
- Group A: Simeone the strangler, March of the Penguins and Nietzsche
- Group C: Peter Pan, second-best bridesmaids and unpopular billionaires
- Group D: Arsenal already winners, Klopp's secret vice and no Didier Drogba
- Group E: Crystal Palace in disguise, UEFA's new rule and struggling Cole
- Group F: European supervillains, kitty cannon fodder and Kaka's new face
- Group G: Mourinho's nemeses, Chelsea's surplus stars and smarting Sporting
- Group H: Homegrown goods, the little dentist and a geography lesson