Exciting matches are drawn as the biggest club competition in Europe returns.
By Emmanuel Mendez
The football season has started with clubs already taking part in their respective leagues. The Champions League is right around the corner and the teams qualified will look to make an impact this year.
Some of the groups look to be difficult for many teams and will be a very competitive group stage.
Group A includes Manchester City, PSG, RB Leipzig, and Club Brugge. The favorites of the group are Man City and PSG and are also the favorites to win the whole competition. Both squads are stacked with quality and it will be interesting to see these teams play each other at the start.
PSG has Messi now alongside Neymar and Mbappe.
Man City kept most of their team from last year and is still a very good team. With the addition of Jack Grealish, they look to continue their good form from last season, but the striker position is still questionable.
Club Brugge looks unlikely to qualify to the knockout stages, but RB Leipzig is a tricky team to play against. They could pull a surprise and take points from City and PSG and maybe sneak into the knockout stages.
Group B is considered the group of death because of the big club names in the group: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool FC, FC Porto, and the return of AC Milan. There isn’t a clear favorite in this group as all four of these teams have a chance to qualify.
On paper though, Atletico and Liverpool look more convincing to advance to the next round.
Atletico signed Griezmann on loan and has kept most of their squad. Liverpool signed Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig which will give more depth in the defensive department.
The return of Virgil Van Dijk and most of their injured players from last season will help them improve this season.
If FC Porto performs well in the Champions League, then they will make it hard for their opponents in this group. The return of the legendary AC Milan in this competition has many football fans excited.
With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović and Olivier Giroud on the attack, they look to stay in the competition past the group stages.
Group C incorporates the champions of Portugal, Sporting CP, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, and the champions of Turkey, Besiktas. Dortmund and Ajax are the favorites based on their squads filled with young players.
Erling Haaland will look forward to scoring more goals in the competition. Sporting won Liga Nos convincingly only lost one game and will look to keep that form in the Champions League.
Group D looks familiar to a group last year because this group contains Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and Shakhtar Donetsk. A new club in this year’s competition is FC Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova.
Inter and Madrid are the clear favorites, but Shakhtar has made it complicated for both Inter and Madrid in the past. Inter look strong with the addition of Edin Dzeko and Denzel Dumfries. Madrid signed David Alaba and wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga.
Group E will witness the encounter between Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona. Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv also take part in the group.
Bayern is the strongest in this group as Barca became less of a threat because of the departures of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. This will be the first Barca and Bayern match since the humiliating 8-2 win from Bayern.
Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero will look to help Barca compete in this year’s edition of the Champions League.
Group F includes the champions of the Europa League, Villareal, Manchester United, Atalanta BC, and Young Boys. Without a doubt, United are favorites to be first in the group because they signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane, and the return of Cristiano Ronaldo.
It will be a battle between Villareal and Atalanta for that second place as they seem too strong for Young Boys to compete.
Group G is very complicated for every team included. Lillie, champions of France, Sevilla, FC Salzburg, and Wolfsburg will clash against each other. Lillie dethroned PSG last season and wants to keep that form this season. Sevilla is a dangerous team that can complicate anyone.
FC Salzburg is the weakest on paper but is a team that likes to press a lot and complicates a lot of teams as well. Wolfsburg had a great season in the Bundesliga and their defensive stability could help them progress in the next round.
The last group of the draw includes the champions, Chelsea FC, Juventus, Zenit, and Malmo from Sweden. Chelsea are heavy favorites to top the group based on form and squad depth.
Juventus without Ronaldo will be interesting to see but still have more quality than Zenit and Malmo to complete. Chelsea and Juventus are the favorites to go past the next round.