8. Lots of little teams to patronise
Ludogorets Razgrad, Apoel Nicosia, Bate Borisov and Maribor are all in the group stages. Even the presence of Malmo harks back to the old European Cup.
It is rare to have a group stage with quite so many minnows and while the statistics would say that they are just there to make up the numbers, Apoel’s run to the quarter finals in 2011-12 offers some hope that they can do something other than aim for third spot and a place in the Europa League.
With their amazing route to the group stage, when defender Cosmin Moti was forced to go in goal and subsequently saved two penalties in the play-off shootout against Steaua Bucharest, Ludogorets have already claimed the crown as everyone’s second favourite team as well as the story of the season before the competition has fully begun.