Champions League Fixture Reveal
Riley Brettell & Will Taylor – AFL Europe
With just two sleeps until the first siren of the 2018 Champions League, fans travelling to Amsterdam can officially get their diary out and map out their day watching one of the premier international spectacles for Australian football, with the official Champions League fixture revealed below.
AFL Europe began the fixturing process by undertaking a process that ranked all 24 clubs using the most recent 3-year history of their league’s results, in order to create a draw that would best deliver a fair fixture for all competing sides.
The resultant draw saw the 17 teams competing in the men’s division divided into three groups of four teams and one group of five teams, while the 7 sides contesting the women’s division were separated into one group of four and another group of three teams.
Given the disparity between some group sizes, match length has been shortened slightly for matches in Men’s Group B (5 teams) and Women’s Group B (4 teams) teams to ensure that playing and rest time is ultimately even between all 24 clubs across the day.
Teams will play each other team in their pool once throughout the group stages, with the top side in each men’s pool, and top two sides in women’s pools progressing to semi-finals.
SEVEN MATCHES YOU WON’T WANT TO MISS
The Hosts Charge Begins
Amsterdam Devils vs North West Eagles – Men’s Pool A, Pitch 1, 10:05am
The locals won’t have to wait long before getting a glimpse of their hometown stars, with the Devils facing the North West Eagles of Italy in their opening match of the tournament on the big stage of Pitch 1, as they look to go one better in 2018 after falling to a strong West London side in the final of Champions League 2017.
While the weight of expectation will be on the Devils, North West will be looking to throw the cat amongst the pigeons early in a competitive pool where wins will be hard to come by, with these clubs joined by the Berlin Crocodile & Greater Glasgow Giants in Group A.
West-London Build Their Defence
West London Wildcats vs Bristol Dockers – Men’s Pool C, Pitch 2, 10:40am
Another Champions League title is on the agenda for the West London Wildcats in 2018 and they will begin their campaign with an all England match-up against the Bristol Dockers. The Wildcats will face some tough assignments right throughout the group stages after being drawn alongside the ALFA Lions, Zagreb Dockers & Bristol in Pool C, but should they progress out of the group, the possibility of a huge London Derby against the Wandsworth Demons looming in the semi-finals.
Hamburg Dockers A First For Germany
Hamburg Dockers vs Odense Lionesses – Women’s Pool A, Pitch 3, 11:15am
It will be a historic day for football in Germany as the nations first-ever women’s side kick off their Champions League with a huge matchup against the Odense Lionesses. Far from just a significant game from a symbolic perspective, the clash will have big ramifications in the makeup of the women’s division given the sides spot in the smaller Pool A, which will see two of the three sides progress to the Semi-Finals.
The girls from both sides will be determined to get a win on the board ahead of their second pool games against the Port Malmo Lynx, who shape as one of the leading contenders for the women’s title at this year’s tournament, meaning a win here will go a long way to solidifying a spot in the top four.
Pool B Movers and Shakers
Wandsworth Demons vs Bordeaux Bombers – Women’s Pool B, Pitch 2, 12:25pm
Not since the 2004 AFL Elimination Final has a Bombers v Demons game looked quite so enthralling, as the reigning AFL London Premiers Wandsworth come up against a Bordeaux lineup chocked full of talent and Champions League experience.
We will have a good indication of the potential final makeup of women’s Pool B already following the first round matches which should only add to the stakes ahead of this one, with the pool rounded out by debutants West Clare Waves & Nottingham Scorpions. Expect fireworks!
Bristol Dockers vs Zagreb Dockers – Men’s Pool C, Pitch 3, 2:1opm
The purple haze is set to descend on Amsterdam, with a huge match between the Dockers of Bristol and Zagreb set to have a huge bearing on the final makeup of Mens Pool C.
The Croatians of Zagreb bringing a young but powerful side to Amsterdam and hope to feature deep in the tournament, while the Bristol Dockers will fly the flag once again for Welsh league with the same objective. With the reigning champion West London Wildcats amongst their Pool C ranks, both sides will be desperately seeking a win to set them up for a progression into to the semi-finals.
ARFLI vs AFLCNE
Leeside Lions vs Manchester Mosquitoes – Men’s Pool D, Pitch 1, 02:45pm
As far as Pool D goes, this is a match that all teams will be keeping a close eye on. The final game in Pool D sees the Leeside Lions come up against the Manchester Mosquitoes in what will be a must-win clash for both sides. Both bring in strong recent form their respective competitions and this match shapes up as a potential pseudo knockout match ahead of the semi-finals. Both of these sides will be hoping to progress to the semi’s and open up a chance at a Grand Final birth.