Champions League 2017/2018 group stage preview
Which group do you consider to be the "Group of Death"?
A disclaimer in the beginning, my thoughts and predictions are by no means accurate or right, I just enjoy talking about football so I'll give my opinions here. Feel free to let me know what you think in the poll and comments section down below.
With that out of the way, let's start with group A- Benfica, Manchester United, Basel and CSKA Moskva. In my opinion, MU are favorites to win this group. They should do so, anything less should be seen as a failure. We shouldn't underestimate any of the other teams here though, they're all good and will fight for that second place. However, I think Benfica will prove to be too good and will claim the spot in the last 16.
On to group B, where Bayern and Paris will almost certainly progress through, fighting for the first place. Mouth-watering two games here. I'll go with Bayern winning the group in the end. Other two teams will battle for Europa league place and might take a point or three of off "big" boys.
Group C is definitely an interesting one. Chelsea, Atletico and Roma are all very strong teams, hard to break down and it'll be very interesting to see who comes on top. Quarabag got some great opponents to test themselves against. Chelsea-Atletico will be an especially interesting match up, with Chelsea's Diego Costa wanting to return to his old club in January. I'd go with Atletico winning the group with Antonio Conte's side right behind them, and Roma just missing out on the last-16.
Moving on to group D, where two of the teams that participated in the 2014/2015 final (Barcelona and Juventus) are accompanied by Olympiacos and Sporting CP, it's clear that this won't be an easy group to get out of. Although the former two clubs are probably continuing their European journey in the last 16, the likes of Olympiacos and Sporting can cause them some problems. My prediction- Juve winning the group with Barcelona coming second.
Looking at group E, it's definitely an interesting one as teams like Liverpool and Sevilla will probably battle it out for that first place. Spartak are a good team, but I just don't see them overpowering either of the two mentioned earlier. Maribor are the underdogs here, and I just can't see them causing much trouble to anyone, nicking a point or two off of anyone else will be a success for them. Liverpool to win the group, with Sevilla finishing a close second.
Group F is a tough one. Pep's Manchester City invested so much money in the summer they have to be favorites, but all 3 of the remaining teams will cause the Spaniard some trouble. Napoli should have enough firepower to finish second, but, honestly, no one can be sure who will do that. Feyenoord are back in the Champions League for the first time since 2003, and Shakhtar are always a tough team to play against. This should be an interesting group, but I'll go with City finishing first and Napoli coming second.
Talking about tough groups to predict, look no further than group G. Monaco, Porto, Besiktas and Leipzig all have a chance of going through here. Monaco have lost quite a lot of players which helped them lift the Ligue 1 title last season, but they're still a strong team. Besiktas have strengthened with Pepe, Vida, Lens and Gary Medel, all solid players that will surely help them this upcoming season. Leipzig, although disliked in Germany, mounted a serious title challenge last season and will look to keep competing in domestic as well as continental competitions. Lastly, Porto are Porto- always a good and tricky team to play against, though not coming into this year's competition as champions of Portugal. I'll go with Monaco winning the group and Leipzig sneaking into the last 16.
Lastly, a group that is filled with big teams. Last year's champions won't have an easy task here but should come out on top. I don't see Astana doing much here, taking a point or two at most. That leaves us with Borussia Dortmund and Tottenham Hotspur fighting for the last place that leads into the knockout stages. I'll go with the latter advancing, simply because they are considered to be the underdogs here. Mauricio Pochettino is one of the best coaches in the world and I think he'll announce himself on the big stage this season. Borussia are not helped with their star players leaving (like Dembele going to Barcelona).
Who do YOU think will win this years Champions league?
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