Champions League: Analysis of Expectations Group by Group
This Thursday the full draw of the group stage of the 2020/21 edition of the Champions League took place and there is a long way to decline critical thinking and judgment. On the way to FC Porto, the only Portuguese representative in the competition, were Manchester City, Olympiakos and Marseille. But there is much more to tell since the reunion between Messi and Ronaldo.
MANCHESTER CITY, OLYMPIAKOS AND MARSEILLE ON THE WAY OF THE “DRAGON”
Fate wanted, from pot 2, to be one of the main candidates to get far in this edition of the Champions League to stay in the path of the national champion.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, which has the Portuguese Bernardo Silva, João Cancelo and Rúben Dias in their ranks, will, it seems, be the most difficult opponent to overcome by Sérgio Conceição’s team.
As for pot 3, the draw was slightly more sympathetic, although Olympiakos, trained by the Portuguese Pedro Martins (in addition to having Rúben Semedo and José Sá in their ranks), has already proved its quality on the major stages of European football and be an opponent to take into account, especially for its collective value.
Finally, in pot 4, the French from Marseille came out in the raffle, curiously trained by André Villas-Boas, a former FC Porto coach and a confessed Porto fan, who even confessed a mixture of joy and sadness for facing his team at the stage. Champions League groups.
RONALDO AND MESSI CONFRONTED IN GROUP G
Among the batch of candidates to appear in a hypothetical European final, Barcelona and Juventus stood side by side in Group G, where they will have a huge dose of favouritism in the face of the competition that Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros are expected to offer.
In addition to the confrontation between the Spanish and Italian giants, one of the great attractions will be the reunion between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have not faced each other since the days when the Portuguese defended the Real Madrid shirt for Spanish lands.
DIFFERENT SORTS FOR PORTUGUESE
If, in Group A, Atletico Madrid by João Félix clearly brings together favouritism, alongside the European title champion Bayern Munich, to go on to the round of 16 (without ceasing to be curious to understand what Lokomotiv Moscow and, mainly, RB Salzburg will be able to do), what about Luís Castro’s bad luck?
In Group B, Ukrainians from Shakhtar Donetsk will not have an easy life to fight for 3rd place against Borussia Mönchengladbach. This considering that Real Madrid and Inter Milan have fulfilled the role of favourites and will move on to the round of 16.
ANALYSIS OF EXPECTATIONS GROUP BY GROUP
GROUP A (Atlético Madrid, Bayern Munich, Lokomotiv Moscow and RB Salzburg). Germans and Spaniards, in that order, with expectations of a free path for the “eighth”. I am very curious, of course, to see the clashes between Atlético and Bayern, but also how the offensive Salzburg will beat against the two “sharks”.
GROUP B (Real Madrid, Inter, M’Gladbach and Shakhtar). Due to the quality available to Zidane and Conte, Spaniards and Italians should have no problems fighting each other for the first two positions, and the third-place between Germans and Ukrainians should remain – with the great balance expected in both games.
GROUP C (FC Porto, Manchester City, Olympiakos and Marseille). First of all, the presence of three Portuguese coaches (Sérgio Conceição, Pedro Martins and Villas-Boas) in the same group. The “dragons” should not have an easy life with Pep’s gang, but they are able to fight for qualification with Greeks and French, which may surprise.
GROUP D (Liverpool, Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland). For the level presented in the last seasons, the “reds” should not have difficulty to win the group, but it will be interesting to see who, between Ajax and Atalanta, will take advantage for the 2nd place – in the antechamber, I believe it will be the Italians. Complicated life for the Danish champion, in a group where many goals are expected, given the offensive character of the teams.
GROUP E (Sevilla, Chelsea, Krasnodar and Rennes). For the investment made in this season, the blues will be the favourites to win the group but pay close attention to what Sevilla de Lopetegui can do. Russians and French should fight for 3rd place, even though this is a group where I think there is a good deal of potential for surprises.
GROUP F (Lazio, Borussia Dortmund, Club Brugge and Zenit). In theory, the Germans of Lucien Favre are in the “pole position” to finish in 1st and stamp the qualification without problems. A lot of curiosity to see what Lazio will do in this return to the European elite, with Russians and Belgians predictably fighting for 3rd place.
GROUP G (Barcelona, Juventus, Dynamo Kyiv and Ferencváros). It is impossible to speak of “culés” and “Vecchia Signora” without remembering the duel between Messi and Ronaldo, in addition to the reunion of Pjanic and Arthur with their former teams. A huge dose of favouritism for the two “sharks”, with the Ukrainians of Mircea Lucescu holding some theoretical advantage to finish ahead of the Hungarians, who return to the “Champions” 25 years later.
GROUP H (Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, RB Leipzig and Basaksehir). Case to say “last but not least”. This is what will come closest to the so-called death group, with only two places for three favourites (French, English and German). It is no less valid to mention that the bean, this, came to the unprecedented Turkish champion, who must suffer to score points in this group.