For the very first time UEFA is running a youth version of its flagship club competition the Champions League. It is dubbed the UEFA Youth League and all the youth teams of the senior teams participating in the competition will participate. It was confirmed that the youth teams will also be placed in the exact same groups as per the senior draw that took place on August 29th. The dates and grounds of the games have also been confirmed. Much more after the jump.
Jordi Vinyals’ young men will play their first few games at home at the Miniestadi with free entry (if you manage to be in Barcelona at the specified times and are curious to have a glance at the future, this would be a great opportunity). The games will take place on the day before the senior teams play their match. This is a great promotion for the first edition of the UEFA Youth League.
Home debut, Glasgow first voyage
Tuesday the 17th of September will mark the debut date against Ajax de Amsterdam at 20:00 local time at the Miniestadi, which happens to be one day before the first team’s debut in the 2013-14 Champions League at the Camp Nou against former Barça star Frank de Boer’s Ajax. This won’t be the first time the youth teams have faced each other as they have been doing so in the past couple of seasons as part of the NextGen Series tournament. But thus far their meetings have had unhappy endings for the azulgrana, as they always ended up knocked out of the tournament at the hands of Ajax, who have managed to get crowned once.
In the second game week of the competition, the youngsters will face Celtic on Tuesday the 1st of October at 15:00h at Cappielow Park at Greenlock which holds up to 11,000 spectators. Coincidently, the squad had faced Celtic two years ago as part of the NextGen, though that match was at Celtic Park.
Closing first leg against Milan
To end the first leg of the group stages, Barça’s youth will visit the Ernesto Breda de Milán to face AC Milan, on Tuesday the 22nd of October at 15:00h, with the first team playing on that same day at the San Siro at 20.45h. Two weeks later, on Tuesday the 5th of November, the Italians will visit the Miniestadi with the time yet to be decided, a day before the big guys face off at the Camp Nou.
The final game away from home as part of the group stages will be against Ajax at 19:00h on the grounds of De Toekomst, which holds up to 5,000 spectators. This comes a day after Gerardo Martino’s men play their game in Amsterdam.
Finally, the last game of the group stages will be played at the Miniestadi on the 10th of December with that time yet to be announced. It will be against Glasgow Celtics a day before the first teams face off.
Interestingly, the knockout stage will be like the Champions League once was with a second group stage made up of the top two teams from each group. Then a draw will be done for the next round. However the knockout stages will only be one legged affairs with draws going straight to penalties. Semifinals and the final will be at neutral venues.
Source/Image: FC Barcelona
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