Matches Begin on 17 September 2019
Live on BT Sport
Another season of Champions League football has reached the group stages. 32 clubs from around Europe will be battling it out for places in the last sixteen. The top two in each group qualify with those finishing third being transferred to the Europa League. The draw for the group stages has delivered some mouth-watering games including PSG v Real Madrid, Tottenham v Bayern Munich, Liverpool v Napoli and Chelsea v Ajax.
Draw for the Group Stages
Group A: PSG, Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray
Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos
Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo Zagreb and Atalanta
Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow
Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Red Bull Salzburg and Genk
Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan and Slavia Prague
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon and RB Leipzig
Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia and Lille
This looks like being dominated by Real Madrid and PSG. Both clubs will want to do better than they did last season when failing to make the quarter finals. Galatasaray are likely to fill the third spot and go into the Europa League ahead of Club Brugge. A bet on Real Madrid to win this group has odds of 5/6 (1.83) if placing your wager at SkyBet. Who will Neymar be playing for though? He’s 18/1 (19.0) at Betfair to be a Real Madrid player but 4/9 (1.44) at the same bookies to stay at PSG.
Tottenham reached the final last year but had a tough time in their group. They take on Bayern Munich, Olympiakos and Red Star Belgrade. Not the toughest of draws but the away games could be awkward and Spurs will need to make the most of their home matches. Spurs are 7/4 (1.75) at BetVictor to top the group.
Manchester City couldn’t have managed a better draw if they’d done it themselves. They should cruise past their three opponents and are 1/6 (1.16) at Bet365 to finish top of Group C. A better tussle is expected for the second qualifying place. Atalanta are in their first Champions League but are good at home and score a fair few goals. They are 4/6 (1.66) at Betway to qualify for the knock-out stages.
Juventus keep on winning Serie A but it’s the Champions League they want to win. They have spent big in the summer and will look to go deep in this competition. Atletico Madrid will join them in the last sixteen in another predictable looking group. Bayer Leverkusen can cause the odd surprise at home but look to be heading for the Europa League ahead of Lokomotiv Moscow. Juventus are 8/11 (1.72) to win Group D.
Liverpool are the reigning European champions and you can get odds of 7/1 (8.0) at William Hill on them retaining that title. That’s something only Real Madrid have been able to do since the new Champions League format was adopted.
They should have few problems in the group stages. The main focus will be on whether they can win the group ahead of Napoli. The two clubs met at the same stage last season with both games ending in home wins. Re Bull Salzburg reached the last sixteen of the Europa League last season. This is their first time in the Champions League group stages. Genk last got this far in the 2011/12 season. Liverpool and Napoli should dominate the group and the Reds are 4/7 (1.57) to win Group E.
Barcelona have won La Liga for the past two seasons but not made anywhere near enough impact in Europe. They probably still have nightmares about their loss at Anfield last season. They won’t have many problems winning this group and are 4/11 (1.36) at Paddy Power to do so. More interest is in the battle for second place. Borussia Dortmund and Inter both lost to Spurs last season. Inter look a good bet to grab second and are 21/20 (2.05) to reach the knock-out stages after last year’s near miss.
This is likely to be the least watched group. It contains the clubs that the other qualifiers won’t mind being drawn against in the last sixteen. RB Leipzig lost out in the group stages of the Europa League last season. Lyon could be worth a bet here. They made it to the last 16 in this competition last season and are 23/10 (3.3) at Unibet to win the group.
Chelsea won the Europa League last season. They won’t want to finish third so they can defend it this season. It’s not an easy group though and Chelsea aren’t yet in the best of form. Ajax so nearly made the final last season but had to qualify this time. They’re not quite the team they were earlier this year after major departures. Valencia could be the surprise package and are 1/1 (2.0) at Coral to qualify.
The problem with the group stages is they can be a bit predictable. You could probably sit down now and correctly predict at least 12 or 13 of the qualifiers. The top teams are likely to progress, if there is a surprise perhaps Chelsea being eliminated could be the one. It could still be a big year for the other English entrants. You can get 6/4 (2.5) at Bet365 on a team from England winning the Champions League.