Now the Champions League group stage draw has been made, the excitement ahead of the competition will become much more real. Due to the changes to the coefficients, meaning Italy, England, Spain and Germany each have four teams looking to become European champions at the final at Atlético Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano in May.
Current 9/2 favourites Manchester City have avoided any major challenges on paper and will face Shakhtar Donetsk, as they did last year, Lyon and Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim, which will be a superb game for the neutral. Real Madrid are surprisingly a long shot to retain their European crown for a fourth successive year, but Julen Lopetegui’s men will face Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen. They will certainly fancy their chances of progressing as group winners.
The Champions League group stage is set. pic.twitter.com/jZxcQXjc34— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 30, 2018
There are a number of groups that can profess to being the ‘Group of Death.’ Barcelona, joint second favourites at 13/2, will face Tottenham, PSV Eindhoven and Inter in Group B, while Group H will see Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba face their respective former clubs as Juventus, also 13/2, meet Manchester United, 25/1, as well as Valencia and Swiss side Young Boys.
Liverpool complete a rather miserable draw for the English clubs. The Reds, finalists last year and 12/1 bet to go all the way, meet fourth favourites Paris Saint-Germain, 7/1, Napoli and Red Star Belgrade.
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