There have been several myths and legends surrounding the draws for the European soccer cup competitions, and in the past they have always been given new food. Legend has it that Real Madrid’s former vice-president Raimundo Saporta often knew beforehand who his team would be playing against. He should let his relationships play with the European football union Uefa and always make sure that the ball with the opponent of the Madrilenians was first in the freezer for hours before it went into the draw pot. Which, of course, could never prove itself.
But what were such stories compared to the embarrassment that the Uefa nun afforded on Monday lunchtime: They had to repeat the draw for the last sixteen of the Champions League because they had to admit that it was not clean. However, for reasons that had nothing to do with freezers and nothing to do with ovens (the other version of the Saporta saga says that the right ball was always “preheated”). It was simply because of the complicated draw system that things got out of hand on Monday.
When the child fell into the well, this was already made clear by the introduction to the announcement that Uefa had distributed: “Because of a technical problem with the software of an external service provider who instructs the officials which teams can be drawn against each other, it is at the round of 16 draw resulted in a significant mistake, “wrote Uefa.
According to SZ information, said “external service provider” is Deltatre, a globally operating company that is resident in London and, among others, with Fifa, other world associations such as the ATP Tour (tennis), the German Football League and various media collaborates. The company could not be reached for a comment at first. But did the war happen?
Andrei Arshavin, a former Russian national striker and a representative of the 2022 final Saint Petersburg as the lottery ticket, had pulled the pairing of Villarreal FC against Manchester United out of the pot as the second game. Only: The two had played in the same group of the preliminary round and therefore don’t smell of being eaten towards each other again. Arshavin also had to stir the pot again and pull another opponent. This time came, good for quick bookers from Villarreal and to the fun of Arshavin: Manchester City. The ball with ManUnited had previously been mistakenly placed manually in the pot of possible Villarreal opponents. That might have been legally bearable – but after that there was an even more serious consequential error.
Because when the opponents of Atlético Madrid were pulled, something happened that the scriptwriters of the Marx Brothers shouldn’t think better of. The external service providers prompted the German Uefa master of ceremonies Michael Heselschwerdt that Manchester United should no longer be among the possible opponents – a clear mistake. For this, Heselschwerdt put Liverpool FC in the pot of possible Atlético opponents, but Atlético had played in the group against Liverpool, which is an exclusion criterion in addition to the same country affiliation. It was drawn for Atlético: FC Bayern.
Then the lights went on at Madrid: Since Georg “Katsche” Schwarzenbeck snatched the cup from the Madrilenians believed to be safe from the hands of the Madrilenians in stoppage time of the premier class finals in 1974, they have had a problem with Bayern. Atlético is demanding “an explanation” from UEFA. The consequence: Uefa decided to repeat the completely ended 12 noon draw at 3 p.m. – much to the annoyance of Atlético neighbors Real Madrid.
Because before everything was mixed up, Real got Benfica Lisbon drawn with the drawing of the first duel – which from a sporting point of view could hardly have been done better with the use of freezers. The Uefa argued, however, that the ominous “software bug” must have existed at the beginning of the draw. Therefore, the entire draw must be repeated – and not, as Real wanted, just a new drawing from the second pairing.
In the room there is now even a complaint against the draw, according to Spanish media reports. Real and Uefa have been fighting a bitter antitrust economic war for months because of the Super League plans of club president Florentino Pérez, which has made it to the European Court of Justice. A small side battle, in which the seriousness of Uefa is questioned, is not bad for Perez – quite apart from the fact that the result of the repeat draw was not acceptable to the Madrilenians.
Because instead of Lisbon, Real should now go to Paris – to the hardest possible duel with Lionel Messi, Neymar, the former Real winners Keylor Navas and Sergio Ramos as well as Kylian Mbappé, who is swarmed by Madrid. Originally, PSG was supposed to play against Manchester United – this would have been the first Champions League showdown between Messi and Ronaldo. He’s failing.
The Bavarians, who had adjusted to the robust and uncomfortable Atlético at noon, should have smiled in the afternoon. You now have to compete with RB Salzburg. Austria’s series champions have never been in a knockout phase, but with the new German coach Matthias Jaissle and the coveted DFB young striker Karim Adeyemi, 19, qualified for the first time for the round of 16 in Dortmund.
Atlético received a task in the new draw that should be as demanding as a duel with FC Bayern. The Spaniards have to compete with Manchester United – with Ronaldo and the new German United coach Ralf Rangnick. A single pairing, however, was pulled out of the pots again exactly as it was three hours before: Thomas Tuchel’s FC Chelsea is playing against OSC Lille. At the end of the confusion about the game with the balls, one was inclined to say what is always added in the daily news when the lottery numbers are read: All information is without guarantee.