Champions League Group Stage Predictions

Group A

Manchester United have the lowest points total of all the group leaders and although they still look favourites to top the group, their qualification is not yet certain. They have an away trip to Leverkusen coming up next and this game could decide the group winners. If United lose in Germany and Shaktar Donetsk beat Real Sociedad as expected, then the fate of the English champions could be decided at home to the team from Ukraine in December. If it does come down to a final round showdown at Old Trafford then United would be favourites to progress.

Group winner: Bayer Leverkusen

Runner-up: Manchester United

Group B

Real Madrid have dominated Group B and look certain to finish top by a considerable distance, but who will join them in the next phase? Although it looks close between the other three teams, bottom club Juventus have already played Real Madrid twice and have only suffered one defeat in the group so far. They have drawn their other three games but they will be favourites to beat Copenhagen at home next week, and with Galatasary facing a daunting trip to the Bernabeu, the Italians could be in second spot by the time they travel to Turkey in December. The final game at the Ali Sami Yen Sports Complex should be a thrilling decider but Juventus have the squad to go there and get a result, and they will just need a draw to progress.

Group winner: Real Madrid

Runner-up: Juventus

Group C

The French Champions are in a comfortable position in this group and remain unbeaten; they should be favourites to beat Olympiakos at home next week after they cruised to a 1-4 away victory when the teams met in Greece. Benfica will need to get a result away to Anderlecht to have a realistic chance of grabbing the second place spot. Even if they do win in Belgium, they will then have to face PSG at home in the final round while their qualification rivals host Anderlecht in Greece. Expect to see a Greek team in the knockout stages for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Group winner: PSG

Runner-up: Olympiakos

Group D

The final round of matches in this group will finalise the formality of qualification for Manchester City and reigning Champions Bayern Munich. Both teams will go through but City do still have a slim chance of winning the group. However, they still have a trip to Germany to face Guardiola’s team and with their current away record it would be hard to back them to get a positive result in Munich. There should be little change in this group and the teams were finish in their current standings.

Group winner: Bayern Munich

Runner-up: Manchester City

Group E

Basel started this group with a win at Stamford Bridge but it has not gone well for them since and they have slipped to third in the group behind Schalke. Back to back draws against Steaua Bucharest has made qualification look unlikely for the Swiss team and they have two difficult matches to finish. Schalke have a trip Bucharest and then a home game against Basel making them favourites to join Chelsea in the knockout stages.

Group winner: Chelsea

Runner-up: Schalke

Group F

Of all the groups, this is the one that has really grabbed the attention. The “group of death” has been reduced to a three way battle for the top two places and no one is safe. With Arsenal expected to win at home to Marseille in the next round, the game between Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in Germany could prove to be vital. If Rafa Benitez can lead his team to victory in the BVB Stadium, then we could be bidding farewell to last year’s finalists. If Dortmund prevail or the game ends in a draw then we could have a thrilling final round to decide who progresses.

Group winner: Arsenal

Runner-up: Napoli

Group G

Atletico Madrid have romped through the group stage under the guidance of Diego Simeone and they look to be a force to be reckoned with this year. Behind them, there is a real battle for second place between Zenit and Porto. Zenit currently have a one point advantage and both teams have got to play Atletico and Austria Wien. Zenit will face the Spanish team at home and this also gives them another slight advantage over their rivals from Portugal. Neither team has been convincing but the Russians can be expected to scrape through.

Group winner: Atletico Madrid

Runner-up: Zenit St Petersburg

Group H

Barcelona will once again play in the knockout stages of the Champions League but any of the other three teams could still join them in the last 16. AC Milan are in second spot and have already played the Spanish Champions twice giving them an advantage over Celtic and Ajax. However, Milan have been unconvincing this season and they still face a difficult trip to Scotland. A defeat against Celtic would be a setback for the Italian team but the Scots will still have to travel to Barcelona on the final day while Milan will welcome Ajax to the San Siro. The experience of the Rossoneri should see them through.

Group winner: Barcelona

Runner-up: AC Milan

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