After witnessing three qualifying rounds and the play-offs for the group stage, the draws for the group stages of this year’s UEFA Champions League has finally been made.
For some clubs, this means more matches to be played, a stretched side and bids to strengthen the squad before the summer transfer window slams shut. For some others, it’s a good feeling to be returning to the big stage after such a long absence.
Since the draws were made till now, the jury is still out on which group is the toughest. Fans all over the world have found it hard to come to a conclusion as to which group to tag the “Group of Death.” While the arguments continue on every street corner, bar and on social media, we’ve decided to chip in our two cents.
In Group A, Benfica, Basel, Manchester United and CSKA Moscow have been drawn together in the same group. For most, the consensus is simple. Manchester United is already through to the next round of the competition. It’s a matter of who they will face.
The second spot is arguably up for grabs between all other three clubs. This is definitely not the UCL’s group of death!
Looking at Group B, there’s Bayern Munich, Anderlecht, Paris St-Germain and Celtic. The way the Scottish side makes use of their home advantage is what makes this group a bit dicey. Celtic Park has seen big names like Barcelona taste defeat.
Who finishes top of this group? It’s largely between Neymar’s PSG – a side looking to dominate Europe – and Carlo Ancelotti whose Bayern side is already very much uncomfortable with too much local success.
What about Group C? English champions Chelsea, alongside AS Roma, Atlético Madrid and Qarabag are drawn in the same group. The Azerbaijan side will need more than their long-serving manager, Gurban Gurbanov, who has been there since 2008, to get anything out of this group.
That leaves us with three sides all of whom have a great defense mentality. It will be interesting to see where a side like Chelsea will finish in the group and eyes will be on both games that Chelsea and Atletico Madrid will play, especially if the Diego Costa completes his desired move.
Group D sees teams like Juventus, Olympiakos, Barcelona, and Sporting Lisbon in the same group. The Catalan giants have lost Neymar to PSG and will have to find a way past Juventus and the other clubs in this group.
Names like Dybala and co will be looking forward to not only meeting Barca but finishing top of the group. Sounds like a two-way race for the top of this group.
In Group E, there is Liverpool, Sevilla, Maribor and Spartak Moscow. Sounds like a pretty even group with Liverpool slight favourites ahead of Sevilla no thanks to the speed up front. Sevilla, on the other hand, are on their third manager in three years.
And while they have signed Éver Banega, Jesús Navas and Nolito, what they will have going for them as always is the home advantage. Not many of these teams will be leaving with three points, a factor that can play a very important role in the long run.
In Group F, there is Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Manchester City and Feyenoord who won the Dutch title for the first time in 18 years last season. General conclusions? Pep’s side got a very comfortable draw which means they should make it out easily.
But there’s a certain Napoli side – who scored four unreplied goals against Nice in the play-offs – who can ruffle the Cityzens’ feathers. Trips to Holland and Ukraine could also prove tricky for City. Which teams will qualify? Maybe Manchester City and then the others can battle for the other spots.
In Group G, it’s all about Monaco, Besiktas, Porto, and Leipzig while in Group H, there is Real Madrid, Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, Apoel Nicosia. While Group G seems pretty balanced in its own way, Group H seems lopsided.
Monaco has lost a few key players but they’ve been going strong in the Ligue 1 so far. Porto can make the most of their new manager Sérgio Conceição, and stars like Tiquinho Soares. RB Leipzig will be making their Champions League debut while Besiktas will be looking to make the most of their home fans.
After making history by winning the UEFA Champions League trophy back-to-back last year, Real Madrid has not slowed down. They might as well be gunning for a hat-trick of Champions League trophies and they will be looking to do that by finishing top of Group H.
Dortmund has been able to keep Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, even though they lost Ousmane Dembélé to Barcelona. There’s also a new manager on board — after Thomas Tuchel was replaced by Peter Bosz. Their record against Real Madrid will be helpful as they journey through this group.
Like other teams in the other groups, Tottenham will have to make maximum use of Wembley, if they’re to make it out alive. Sadly, Apoel is likely to finish last in the group.
The group stages start on the 12th of September. Make sure to watch this space for everything you need to know about each game and how you can make money from placing bets on Champions League games.
Before you go,
Which group looks tough enough to be tagged The Group of Death?
Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment. We’d love to hear from you.Tags: ucl, UEFA, UEFA champions league, uefa group stage draw