It’s here. Another year of awesome UEFA Champions League play. This week the first game of the group stage takes place.
There are some interesting groups, I’m looking at you Group C. Any of the four could win the group.
The group stage is home of upsets. Last year, Ajax beat Barcelona 2-1 at home, can they re-create that magic?
It’s also the place were big teams are grouped together. Last year, Bayern Munich and Manchester City beat one another on the other’s home pitch. These two teams were five of the best teams in Europe last year, so seeing who had a stronger side was interesting.
Plus, there was that group with Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, and Napoli. Each team beat one another, and all three ended up tied with six points . Napoli ended up with the Europa League as a consolation prize.
Enough of last year, let’s get to this upcoming season.
Here are my thoughts and predictions on the two teams who’ll advance to the Round of 16, and who will play in the Europa League.
In Group A, I have Atletico coming out as well as Juventus, who will redeem itself for last year debacle. Olympiacos ends up in third place and joins the Europa League.
Group B will be dominated by Real Madrid. Liverpool and Basel will compete for second with Liverpool securing the second spot and Basel going to the Europa League.
Group C will be the most competitive. Each team has a chance to advance. Monaco, who sold their pair of Colombian superstars in Falcao and James Rodriguez, will come in fourth. Benfica and Bayer advance while Zenit play in the Europa League.
Both Groups D and E will have the German and English clubs advance, Arsenal and Dortmund and Manchester City and Bayern Munich, respectively. These four teams are very strong that I don’t know who’ll top their respective groups.
Galatasaray from Group D and Roma from Group E will join the Europa League.
Barcelona and PSG should advance from Group F. APOEL will push Ajax but fail to secure third place. A long shot but APOEL is my upset pick to reach the Europa League. Let’s see if that happens.
Chelsea should win Group G. Schalke, lead by Julian Draxler, will end up second and Sporting goes to the Europa League.
In the final group, Porto will top the group with Bilbao as the runner-up. Shakhtar Donetsk ends up in third place.
Here’s to an exciting and interesting group stage.