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Champions League: Group predictions

Tuesday 13th September 2016
The Champions League gets underway tonight. Over the next ten months, Europe's top clubs will fight it out with the ultimate goal of reaching the final on 3 June. We predict the final group standings of this season's competition.

Group Predictions

Group A

Paris Saint-Germain have a strong squad once again this campaign, which will see the French champions comfortably progress to the next round. Arsenal have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League in the last six seasons, and Arsene Wenger's side should continue that tradition. Basel has an impressive recent record in European football and they will provide strong competition. While Ludogorets Razgrad have dominated Bulgarian football recently, but they will struggle against superior opposition.

1st Paris Saint-Germain, 2nd Arsenal, 3rd Basel, 4th Ludogorets Razgrad.

Group B

Benfica are Portugal's strongest side and they reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season, so they have a good chance of progressing. Napoli finished second in Serie A last season; they have a strong squad, but the side remains unproven in the Champions League. Dynamo Kyiv are a good side, the Ukrainian champions are capable of repeating last season by reaching the knockout stages. Besiktas possess a decent team and the Turkish champions will have a part to play in the group.

1st Benfica, 2nd Dynamo Kyiv, 3rd Napoli, 4th Besiktas.

Group C

Barcelona start as one of the favourites to lift the Champions League trophy and the Spanish champions will have no problems progressing from the group. Manchester City reached the semi-finals last season; Pep Guardiola's side will find it difficult to top the group, but they should qualify. Borussia Monchengladbach has established themselves as a top German side and they are capable of competing in the group. While Celtic will find it difficult, as the Scottish champions lack the resources to challenge Europe's top sides.

1st Barcelona, 2nd Manchester City, 3rd Borussia Monchengladbach, 4th Celtic.

Group D

Bayern Munich have reached the semi-finals in the last three consecutive seasons, so Carlo Ancelotti should have no trouble guiding his team past the group stages. Atletico Madrid are one of the most difficult sides to defeat in European football, which will see them safely through to the next round. PSV Eindhoven are the Eredivisie champions, but they find themselves in a difficult group, so progression is unlikely. Rostov have no Champions League experience, but they will provide a stern test when teams travel to Russia.

1st Atletico Madrid, 2nd Bayern Munich, 3rd PSV Eindhoven, 4th Rostov.

Group E

CSKA Moscow are the seeded team in the group as the Russian champions, but there's not much to separate all four sides. Bayer Leverkusen have a strong squad, they play in an intense league in the Bundesliga, so the German side is capable of finishing in the top two. Tottenham Hotspur return to the Champions League after a six-year absence; Mauricio Pochettino will expect his side to progress from this group. Monaco have re-emerged as one of the top French teams and they will be difficult to play against.

1st Bayer Leverkusen, 2nd Tottenham Hotspur, 3rd Monaco, 4th CSKA Moscow.

Group F

Real Madrid are the reigning European champions; Zinedine Zidane's side have what it takes to retain their title, and Madrid should comfortably progress from the group. Borussia Dortmund have signed eight new players this summer, so it could take time for them to gel, but they are an outstanding side. Sporting Lisbon  are one of three Portuguese sides in this season's competition and they are the side most likely to trouble the big two in this group. While Legia Warsaw are the reigning Polish champions, but they will start as huge underdogs.

1st Real Madrid, 2nd Borussia Dortmund, 3rd Sporting Lisbon, 4th Legia Warsaw.

Group G

Leicester City are in the Champions League for the first time in their history and Claudio Ranieri's side have an excellent chance of progressing. Porto are regular participants in Europe's top competition, the Portuguese side are always a threat, and that will remain the case this time around. Club Brugge are the Belgian champions, they have little Champions League experience, but the side could cause problems. While Danish champions Copenhagen will struggle to make the step-up, so it will be difficult for them to make it past the group stages.

1st Porto, 2nd Leicester City, 3rd Club Brugge, 4th Copenhagen.

Group H

Juventus are one of the superpowers in European football; Massimiliano Allegri has assembled an excellent squad and the Italian champions will reach the last 16. Sevilla have won the Europa League for the past three seasons, but they have tasted little success in the Champions League. Lyon  have been in decline over recent years; however, the French side are capable of making an impact in this season's Champions League. Dinamo Zagreb have won the Croatian title for the past 11 seasons, but it's unlikely they will progress from the group.

1st Juventus, 2nd Lyon, 3rd Sevilla, 4th Dinamo Zagreb.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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