The 2018/2019 champions league draw was held Thursday with some eye-catching games to come up in the group stages. The group stage fixtures which begin on Tuesday 18th September and ends on Wednesday 12th December will see the best from Europe slug it out for a place in the knockout stages which goes to the top two of each group at the end of the group fixtures. The third placed team of each group falls down to the Europa League knock out stages while the fourth placed team is sent packing.
Below is our predictions of each group by the end matchday 6
GROUP A: Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, Club Brugge
Europa League holders Atletico Madrid will be looking to make a statement in the champions league by avoiding a repeat of last year’s demotion to the UEL after the losing qualification to Chelsea and Roma.
German side Borussia Dortmund will be looking to go at least one better than last year where they were also consigned to a place in the UEL knockout spot. Monaco will fight Dortmund and Atletico for a place in the knockouts as they possess champions league experience. Club Brugge make up the teams in group A, but third place would be the best the club from Belgium could stand to achieve.
PREDICTIONS: Atletico Madrid(1st), Borussia Dortmund(2nd), Monaco(3rd), Club Brugge(4th)
GROUP B: Barcelona, Tottenham, PSV, Internazionale
Group B sees European powerhouse Barcelona pitted with Tottenham, PSV and Inter Milan. Barcelona are clear favourites to top this group but second spot is up for grabs for the remaining three.
Tottenham would seem as the team likely to clinch second spot but after about half of their first team players took part in the World Cup third place playoffs and final with Belgium, England and France it is just a matter of time before they run out of steam which could see them kicked out of the UCL.
PSV has a young exciting squad who would love to prove a point in Europe while Inter Milan under coach Luciano Spaletti will want to mark their return to the champions league in a grand style.
PREDICTIONS: Barcelona(1st), Inter Milan(2nd), Tottenham(3rd), PSV(4th)
GROUP C: Paris Saint Germain, Napoli, Liverpool, Crvena Zvezda
One of the contenders for ‘Group Of Death’, Group C poses potentially mouth-watering ties as Liverpool, PSG and Napoli are set to go head-to-head.
After getting to touching distance of the champions league trophy last time out, Liverpool will be looking to go one better by lifting the trophy and would most certainly clinch at least second spot in this group.
Paris Saint Germain have exciting players blessed with European pedigree, but have found it difficult to make a name for themselves in Europe. Now under a new management they are set for another go at the champions league title but will need to fight of Liverpool and Napoli for one of the top two spots.
Napoli in recent times have been present at champions league group stage but they haven’t been able to go all the way in Europe. With Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti taking charge of the first team, the five-time champions league winner(two times as a player and three as a coach) could be the one to take Napoli all the way.
Now the last name on the log, Crvena Zvezda would more or less be a mere participant in this season’s UCL as fourth place stands to be all they get in a group of this nature.
PREDICTIONS: Paris Saint Germain(1st), Liverpool(2nd), Napoli(3rd), Crvena Zvezda(4th)
GROUP D: Locomotive Moscow, Porto, Schalke 04, Galatasaray
The four teams in this group could all be said to be average teams, but that not withstanding the fixtures stands to be exciting as there are really no clear favourites in this group.
Porto flattered to deceive last season when they were knocked out of their group so we will be hoping for a redemption on their part. Runners-up in the German Bundesliga last season, Schalke will see this as an easy group to meander through but Galatasaray could make things difficult for the aforementioned two while the club from Russia could spring up surprises of their own.
PREDICTIONS: Schalke(1st), FC Porto(2nd), Galatasaray(3rd), Locomotive Moscow(4th)
GROUP E: Bayern Munich, Benfica, Ajax, AEK Athens
German powerhouse Bayern Munich are back in the champions league and will want to clinch a third champions league trophy after losing out on eventual winners Real Madrid in the semifinals last season hence it is expected that they will clinch top spot in this group with Ajax and Portuguese side Benfica slugging it out for the second spot while Greek club AEK Athens will be looking to play the ‘banana skin’ role in the group.
PREDICTIONS: Bayern Munich(1st), Benfica(2nd), Ajax(3rd), AEK(4th)
GROUP F: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Lyon, Hoffenheim
Another contender for ‘Group Of Death’, Group F consists of four teams who realistically clinch top spot.
Manchester City and Shakhtar are no strangers to each other after being drawn in the same group for a consecutive season. Last season both teams got one over one another. This time around Pep Guardiola will try to take up maximum points and remind the world of his European credentials.
Lyon will be happy to have playmaker Nabil Fekir still on their books and they will need him to lead the team from France through to the second round. Hoffenheim has done wonders in Germany and under the guidance of young manager Nagelsmann will bring there good form to Europe.
PREDICTIONS: Manchester City(1st), Hoffenheim(2nd), Lyon(3rd), Shakhtar Donetsk(4th)
GROUP G: Real Madrid, Roma, CSKA Moscow, Viktoria Plzen
Group F has two of last season’s semifinalist in Real Madrid and Roma and both teams are most certain of qualification. Real Madrid have lost their talisman to Juventus but with the likes of Bale, Modric, Isco, Asensio and Ramos they still possess a lot of firepower to blow away their group opponents.
After making it to the semifinals last year, Roma will want to make it to the last four for a consecutive year and will see the second spot as their’s for the taking while Russians CSKA Moscow will be looking to cause an upset with Czech side Plzen just making up the numbers.
PREDICTIONS: Real Madrid(1st), Roma(2nd), CSKA Moscow(3rd), Viktoria Plzen(4th)
GROUP H: Juventus, Manchester United, Valencia, Young Boys
Yet another contender for ‘Group Of Death’. Group H will see two of Europe’s best players in Ronaldo and Pogba return to their old stomping grounds which are Manchester United and Juventus respectively.
Juventus bought CR7 from Madrid with a few objectives in mind, one of which is to pick up the champions league title, and the first step would be to qualify from this group which is expected of them. Jose Mourinho is in his third season at Manchester United and his now customary ‘third season curse’ has reared its ugly head and this could affect their chances in Europe, not to forget the fact that they have not fared well against Spanish opposition.
This brings us to Valencia who would use their good form against English opposition to topple United and clinch second spot while Swiss debutants Young Boys will want to show everyone that they are no pushovers.
PREDICTIONS: Juventus(1st), Valencia(2nd), Manchester United(3rd), Young Boys(4th)
Got predictions of your own?, please place them in the comment box below as we will love to know what you think of this year’s groupings.