The group stage draws for the 2015-2016 UEFA Champions League draw has been carried out and all qualified teams are now familiar with who they’ll face in their various groups.
Defending Champions Barcelona and English got rather easy draws while Manchester United face a tricky run of fixtures in group B. Real Madrid are in the same group with PSG and another interesting pairing is the inclusion of Arsenal in Bayern Munich’s group. Of all these, Group D seems to be the group of death as it features Italian champions Juventus, Man City, Europa league holders Sevilla and German powerhouse Borussia Moenchengladbach.
As anticipation for these amazing fixtures, SoccerNet gives our verdict for each UCL group. Who will top? Who will qualify? Who will drop to Europa? And who will crash out?
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE VERDICT
GROUP A: PSG; Real Madrid; Shakhtar Donetsk; Malmo FF.
This group is very interesting. Los Blancos are gunning for La UnDecima but PSG have a great squad, Di Maria will return to the Bernabeu one more time. However, it is very easy to choose from this group.
Table Toppers: Real Madrid
Second Spot: PSG
Europa League: Shakhtar Donetsk
GROUP B: PSV; Manchester United; CSKA Moscow; Wolfsburg.
For me, Man United won’t find it easy as the whole world expect. The other three teams will give them a run for their money. Picking the top two from here is more difficult than beating Hercules. Wolfsburg have shown their quality, finishing second behind Bayern in the Bundesliga and beating the Bavarians to win the German Super Cup. They’ll put up a show.
Table Toppers: Manchester United
Second Spot: Wolfsburg
Europa: CSKA Moscow
GROUP C: Benfica; Atletico Madrid; Galatasaray; Astana.
I call it the “group of gentlemen” as you rarely find people talking about it. Atletico are no doubt favourite while Astana are underdogs. The battle is on Second spot between Benfica and Gala. I give it to the Portuguese.
Table Toppers: Atletico Madrid
Second Spot: Benfica
GROUP D: Juventus; Man City; Sevilla; Borussia Monchengladbach.
One might add EATH after the ‘D’ because this is the group of death. Anyone can top this group in my opinion. Sevilla will give a fight. Man City are big boys. Monchengladbach are well-known giant-killers. In my opinion, only Juve’s qualification can be bet on.
Table Toppers: Juventus
Second Spot: Manchester City
GROUP E: FC Barcelona; Leverkusen; AS Roma; BATE Borisov.
Barcelona will top this group for sure. Second spot? A tight fight between the Germans and the Italians.
Table Toppers: Barcelona
Second Spot: Bayer Leverkusen
Europa: AS Roma
GROUP F: Bayern Munich; Arsenal; Olympiacos; Dinamo Zagreb.
A handsome group but one of the easiest to predict. Bayern will top this with the Gunners in 2nd spot.
Table Toppers: Bayern
Second Spot: Arsenal
GROUP G: Chelsea; FC Porto; Dynamo Kyiv; Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Jose Mourinho returns to the club where he won his first UCL title and surely won’t find it easy there. Porto will battle Chelsea for top stop but the Blues are likely to come out tops.
Table Toppers: Chelsea
Second Spot: FC Porto
Europa: Dynamo Kiev
GROUP H: Zenit st. Petersburg; Valencia; Lyon; Gent.
This group will go down the wire even though all members there will be happy with the draw. I tip Valencia to top it given their huge transfer spending spree, but Lyon and Zenit are great powerhouses.
Table Toppers: Valencia
Second Spot: Lyon
The first games will be played on September 15th and 16th 2015.
NOTE: The predictions in this article are solely the opinion of the writer, not the entire SoccerNet crew.