UCL Draw: My Premature Predictions For The Group Stage
I always had a frisson when I heard the Champions League music. To play in that competition, to score a goal in it, is something special for me – Antoine Griezmann
It’s that time once again. The hype for the Champions League builds each year, and it just seems like the quality in the competition increases every time we sit down to watch. It is the ultimate stage to showcase your talents, and it is the one competition that everyone wants to be involved in.
- Atlético Madrid
- Club Brugge
Atléti are my pick to win the UCL, they have really improved the depth of their squad, meaning last season’s falters will not be repeated. Monaco are building something special down in the French Riviera, but their squad is not experienced enough to pick up a result at places like the Westfalenstadion. Dortmund to go through with Atléti top.
- Inter Milan
- PSV Eindhoven
The reason for this bold claim is due to the statement win at United recently. Something is different with Mauricio’s men this season. Trips to the Giuseppe Meazza and Camp Nou will be welcomed; don’t be surprised if they top the group. Even though I rate Inter’s squad, and particularly Icardi, the lack of CL experience in their squad will hurt them.
- Red Star Belgrade
Anfield. That is the reason Liverpool will top this group. I see them picking up maximum points at home, and then grinding results out in the away ties. Ancelotti and Napoli will become formidable in Europe, just not this year. PSG’s stardust will help bring them past Napoli and send the southern Italian side into the Europa League
- Lokomotiv Moscow
Porto’s squad is full of hidden gems, and they will run riot on this group. The fortress they have built at home means they should get through this group with ease, and give someone a headache in the R16. Signings such as Rudy and Uth have created a formidable squad, meaning Schalke could be the Cinderella story of this year’s UCL.
- Bayern Munich
This should be routine for Bayern. No real threats, but Benfica away won’t be nice. The real battle in this group is for that 2nd spot. Ajax, after a few years of mediocrity, are on their way back, and players like De Ligt, a born leader, and Neres, the next best thing out of Amsterdam really do excite me.
- Manchester City
- Shakhtar Donetsk
Like Group E, City should have no problem steaming through this group. The rest of the teams all could be in with a shout of getting that 2nd spot. Lyon, with Depay, Fekir, and baby-faced midfield they are breeding, should have too much quality but do not rule Nagelsmann’s team out, an unorthodox, dogged unit who will cause problems.
- Real Madrid
- CSKA Moscow
- Viktoria Plzeň
With Madrid and Roma, we get to experience what the CL final would have been like, if Roma had beaten Liverpool. I expect Roma to run Madrid close, as I really like Roma’s squad this season, and since my ‘In Depth’ on them, they have gotten better, even with the loss of Alisson. Expect that game at the Olimpico to be fiery.
- Manchester United
- Young Boys
Another shock for you here. Taking a look at Valencia’s squad and their additions in the summer, they strengthened across the board, and have added quality (Guedes,etc). I really feel they will oust United in the two fixtures they play, and ultimately edge them out for 2nd.