The Champions League is back this month and although it’s just been six weeks since the end of last season’s thrilling games, we cannot be happier. The draw was yesterday for the group stage and fans are left with some delicious matches to get them through the next three months.
A group that could potentially have more competition for the Europa League spot than the two Round of 16 spots. While Bayern seems indestructible with their attack, they face Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid that has gained fame going all-out defence and bein absolutely lethal in the counter-attack. With the high-line Bayern played last season, could Atletico be exactly the kind of team that could spoil Bayern’s party in the Champions League? The other two teams, on the other hand, would want to secure a Europa League spot and I would expect Salzburg to take it.
With Shakhtar, Inter and Monchengladbach to play against, this group could potentially be the Group of Death. Inter is in stunning form right now, Lukaku and Martinez are scoring, Hakimi seems to be adjusting well; things are really looking bright for them, as they missed out on a RO16 birth last season due to being in the Group Of Death. Both Shakhtar and Monchengladbach have history to be unpredictable. Real Madrid should definitely not take their games lightly. I predict Inter to top the group and Real to come second, with Monchengladbach qualifying for the Europa.
It has become a repetitive thing now that Manchester City will always get an easy group in the Champions League. The real question is who can really become the second-placed team here as Porto, Olympiacos and OM have seemed quite similar squads and playing styles. Watch this group only if you enjoy seeing who finishes second and third. I say OM qualify after City and Porto qualify for the Europa.
A group that is going to be a treat to watch and could even be called the Group of Death, Liverpool, Ajax and Atalanta, all score goals for the fun of it and I wouldn’t be surprised if the most goals come from this group. Liverpool would surely be tested by both teams and it would provide Van Dijk with a platform to answer his critics. Liverpool to finish first followed by Atalanta, and Ajax for the Europa League, who would, unfortunately, miss out on Champions League RO16 action for the second season in a row.
Another English team with an easy chance to go through, with Sevilla being the only competition in the group. I wouldn’t really expect Krasnodar to go anywhere since Stade Rennais easily has a better squad. Sevilla should be able to top the group with Chelsea coming in second and Rennais going for Europa.
Zenit could be a surprise package here, and with the ever-so inconsistent Borussia Dortmund in their group, they should definitely be hoping to compete for the top two spots. Lazio, too, has not been the best team defensively, but hopefully, their qualification of long will provide the players with an extra boost to perform on the big stage. Lucian Favre has work to do and would really look to work on the team’s consistency if they want to make it. Lazio should top the table, with Dortmund and Zenit following them, in that order.
The one group that all football fans all over the world are waiting for. After Cristiano left for Italy, money fans questioned whether we’ll ever see the two GOATs on the same pitch again. The time has come as we’ll see them play one another not once, but twice as both their respective teams have been drawn in Group G. Juventus to top the group, with Barcelona coming in second and Dynamo Kyiv for the Europa League spot.
Manchester United fans would have hoped for a kinder welcome back to the Champions League with an easier group, but both PSG and Leipzig have had recent success in the competition and compared to the two, United is relatively unsuccessful (in recent years, only). PSG and Manchester United has a history as a game when the two met in the RO16 two seasons back. PSG would look to top the group and I expect RB Leipzig to contest Manchester United for the second spot, with United going through. However good Leipzig was last season, I just don’t see them in the knockouts this year.