UEFA Champion’s League: Group Stage predictions based on Week 1 results

By Kyle Caron

Week one of the UEFA Champions League group stage is behind us and with it, some not so surprising results. While there are still five games to be played per team before the tables are set, we’re looking at a very predictable round of sixteen if the first week of competition is any indication of how this year’s contest will go. Here is how I think the groups will finish based on week one results.

Group A

Manchester United beat FC Basel convincingly in their opening game. Sure, it was played at Old Trafford but from the day the groups were drawn it looked as though the Swiss side were out of their element. And while CSKA Moscow and Benfica are by no means European powerhouses, they have a pedigree that outweighs that of Basel without question. It will likely be Moscow and Benfica fighting for that second position behind Man U and after a key win at Benfica, I can’t help but lean towards the Russian side to secure a spot in the top half of the group.

Prediction:

  1. Manchester United
  2. CSKA Moscow
  3. Benfica
  4. FC Basel

Group B

The days where Celtic was considered a serious contender in European competition are gone. After a 5-0 defeat at home to Paris Saint-Germain, the Scottish side looks out of sorts already. Neymar seems to have settled in nicely at Paris, having netted the opening goal within 20 minutes. With Edison Cavani being in top form as well, I’m willing to bet PSG goes undefeated from here out except for a possible away loss at Bayern Munich. While Bayern did nothing to really assert their dominance in their opening 3-0 home win against Anderlecht, they too will find themselves sitting comfortable in the next round.

Prediction:

  1. Paris Saint-Germain
  2. Bayern Munich
  3. Anderlecht
  4. Celtic

Group C

Group C seems to be the most difficult group in the competition so far and thus it is also the most unpredictable. After missing out on the competition last season, Chelsea have returned with a bang by smashing FK Qarabag 6-0 at Stamford Bridge. Alvaro Morata is taking over as the striker this club needs and the result was actually impressive considering star Eden Hazard didn’t take the field for the Blues until well into the second half. qarabag

Atletico Madrid and AS Roma are what will keep this group so interesting. Both have had major success in their respective leagues last season and the 0-0 result from their first meeting shows how equally matched both teams are. The top three spots could go in any order but I feel like Atletico will be able to take at least one win from Chelsea to claim the first spot in the table.

Prediction:

  1. Atletico Madrid
  2. Chelsea FC
  3. AS Roma
  4. FK Qarabag

Group D

Barcelona may have easily topped Juventus 3-0 at Camp Nou this week but that doesn’t mean you should sleep on the Italian side. Juventus is currently tied for first in Serie A with this loss to Barca being their first of the season. Couple that with the fact the rest of the group is not all that threatening and it seems like Juve and Barcelona will take the top spots easily. I expect Juventus to take at least 3 of 4 out of their remaining fixtures against Olympiakos and Sporting CP and Barcelona could very well go the rest of the groups stage without a loss as well.

Prediction:

  1. FC Barcelona
  2. Juventus
  3. Olympiakos
  4. Sporting CP

Group E

Group E is really up in the air in terms of where each team will finish and week one’s results provided no additional insight. Both matches ended in draws and no one team seems to have the talent necessary to rise to the top. Sevilla has sparks of greatness every once and a while and Liverpool can hold their own although they are not nearly the quality squad they were ten years ago. That being said, I do expect both teams to make it to the next round if only for the fact that they come from more well-respected leagues than the likes of Spartak Moscow and NK Maribor.

Prediction:

  1. Sevilla FC
  2. Liverpool
  3. Spartak Moscow
  4. NK Maribor

Group F

Group F takes us back to a more predictable table setting. Manchester City is at the top of a very competitive Premier League beating out the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea. With their 4-0 away win at Feyenoord Rotterdam they absolutely have the results to show they are a frontrunner in the competition. Napoli may have suffered a tough blow with a 0-1 away loss to Shakhtar Donetsk but I have full confidence the Serie A leaders will bounce back and finish the group stage strong. I simply cannot see Shakhtar winning any away games at the Ethiad or at Napoli and I would also be surprised if Feyenoord won any games at all.

Prediction:

  1. Manchester City
  2. Napoli
  3. Shakhtar Donetsk
  4. Feyenoord Rotterdam

Group G

Besiktas had arguably the most surprising result of the competition so far with a 2-0 away win at FC Porto. AS Monaco also surprised having only been able to manage a draw at RB Leipzig. Behind Group E, this group will definitely be the most unpredictable. Unless Porto can manage to right the ship soon, I have a feeling that Besiktas will claim their spot in the round of sixteen with Monaco leading the way.

Prediction:

  1. AS Monaco
  2. Besiktas
  3. FC Porto
  4. RB Leipzig
real madrid
Real Madrid after winning their second consecutive Champions’ League victory after defeating Juventus 4-1 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, June 3, 2017.

Group H

Group H is a frontrunner alongside Group C for the title of “Group of Death”. Zidane’s Real Madrid squad has been dominant having won back to back Champion’s League titles with no signs of slowing down any time soon. Tottenham has also been on the come up the last couple years after just barely losing the Premier League title to Leicester City in 2015-16 and finishing second to an unstoppable Chelsea team last season. Both teams won their opening matches against Apoel Nicosia and Borussia Dortmund respectively and so there is a good chance that both advance to the next round. While Dortmund has started to come back after losing Jurgen Klopp a couple seasons ago, they still have a way to go before they return to being title contenders like in 2012-2013.

Prediction:

  1. Real Madrid
  2. Tottenham Hotspurs
  3. Borussia Dortmund
  4. Apoel Nicosia

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