After Liverpool managed an impressive 6-3 aggregate win over Hoffenheim all the important scores were in and UEFA could commence their Champions League Group Stage Draw, creating eight groups of four teams that will begin their group stage fixtures in the month or so, with specific dates to be confirmed.
The Group Stage set up is rather simple; each team plays each other team both home and away using the normal points system. The top two teams will continue onto the next round of the Champions League, third place will move into the Europa League knockout stage, and last place is removed from the competition. The groups for this season’s draw are pretty exciting, and can be seen below:
Group H is the standout group, with Real Madrid featuring alongside Borussia Dortmund from the Bundesliga and Tottenham Hotspur from the Premier League. Unfortunately for Spurs their return to Europe’s elite competition is going to be exceptionally difficult for them to manage, as both Real and Dortmund are likely favored to progress from the group – but Spurs are in with a shout.
The second toughest group is probably Chelsea’s, as they’ve been drawn alongside Atletico Madrid and Roma – two combative teams that are going to make Chelsea’s European travels exhausting, particularly in light of Chelsea’s failure to increase their squad depth significantly with only a week left in the transfer window.
The two Manchester clubs as well as Liverpool, have somewhat more manageable groups, with the toughest fixtures being visits to Moscow for both Manchester United and Liverpool. While the teams aren’t necessarily that tough the travel is a challenge as recovery time is minimal and poses selection difficulties for the managers.
With the Champions League kicking off not too long from now, and the transfer window closing shortly, which team has your vote as most likely winners? Real Madrid are still looking like the best side by a comfortable margin, but will PSG’s capture of Neymar be sufficient to put them in contention to win their first Champions League title? Let us know!