The UEFA Champions League Draw has been, well, DRAWED!!!
Don’t say anything about that grammar, you get the point. The groups are set. And you know the rules. 1st and 2nd place teams advance to the Round of 16, while the third-place team gets dropped to the Europa League. Today, I’ll be running through each group and giving my general predictions for the upcoming 2021/22 Champions League campaign!
All set for the 2021/22 season! 🤩
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 26, 2021
Group A includes two of Europes most elite powerhouses, Manchester City and PSG. RB Leipzig of the German Bundesliga and Club Brugge of Belgium. On paper, you’d feel Man City and PSG advance to the Round of 16 with ease, but I’m just wondering if Leipzig can do the impossible and sneak into that 2nd spot. Imagine City or PSG competing in the Europa League, scenes @Germano.
You can argue all you want about “group of death”, but Group B takes the cake for me. Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, FC Porto, and AC Milan are all fighting for those top 2 spots. If Liverpool can get their attackers firing on all cylinders and keep their squad healthy (defense mostly), they top the group no questions asked… That’s not to say Atletico and Porto can’t either, but for me, I think Porto gets the boot and Milan drops to Europa League again. Time will tell.
Group C should be an easy dub for Erling Haaland and his club Borussia Dortmund. Ajax, Besiktas (of Turkey), and Sporting CP (of Portugal) are all gonna be fighting for 2nd place. Realistically either Ajax or Sporting should take 2nd, but in football, nothing is for certain so don’t be shocked if one of the big boys gets upset by Besiktas. Ajax could very easily get knocked out, but I can see them sitting comfortably in the Europa League.
Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk meet again and are joined by Italian champs Inter as well as, and I’m not gonna lie, some team I’ve never heard of in Sherrif Tiraspol. So with that being said, Madrid and Inter advance, Shakhtar drops to the Europa, and Sherrif gets binned. Short, sweet, and to the point.
Two of Europe’s elites, Bayern Munchen and FC Barcelona, will face off against Champions League regulars Benfica and Dynamo Kyiv. This is an interesting group. Bayern is my clear favorite here. If star striker Robert Lewandowski has any intention of staying at Bayern, it’s dependent on a Champions League win. Barca just lost arguably the best player of our generation in Leo Messi. Barca’s success this time round is dependent on guys like Memphis Depay, Pedri, and Frenkie De Jong. Dynamo Kyiv and Barca have met in the past more than 11 times, and last campaign only lost to the Catalan giants by 2 goals to 1. and that’s when Barca had Messi. Who knows. Benfica and Kyiv both have potential, and whoever makes it to the Europa League I anticipate will do just fine.
Yay, I know the alphabet! Group F sees a replay of last year’s Europa League Final Manchester United and Villareal. The 2 sides are joined by Atalanta and BSC Young Boys, 2 regulars in the competition. I can see Villareal dropping to the Europa League while Man U and Atalanta coast to 1st and 2nd. I can also picture some sort of variation of that. Definitely expect those 3 teams to battle it out, while Young Boys get the boot.
Group G features French title winners LOSC Lille, RB Salzburg of Austria, Sevilla and Wolfsburg. Sevilla and Lille place 1st and 2nd in no particular order, while Salzburg and Wolfsburg duke it out for 3rd. Salzburg has such a young squad, featuring none other than US International Brenden Aaronson. Wolfsburg came in 4th last season in the German Bundesliga, and Dutch striker Wout Weghorst looks to be the target man this time around.
The final group to be drawn today included defending champs Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit, and Malmo. All these teams should sound familiar as they all feature in this tournament what seems like every year for eternity. Chelsea lifted the cup last time around, while Juventus saw themselves knocked out in the Round of 16. Who cares about Zenit and Malmo, all I know is Zenit should at least place third.
MY MONEY IS ON _____ TO LIFT THE TROPHY
Chelsea. End of story. You just added Romelu Lukaku and granted your squad stays healthy during the campaign, you have all the makings of a side who can defend their trophy. Lukaku guarantees about 30+ goals. That’s all you really gotta know.
MY DARK HORSE PREDICTION
I want to say either Liverpool, PSG, or Man City make a decent attempt at winning this trophy. The pressure is REALLY on PSG, having just acquired the services of Leo Messi and are just about to sell Mbappe, but with a front 3 of Neymar, Messi, and Di Maria coupled with players like Wijnaldum, Verratti, Ramos, Hakimi, and Euro champion goalkeeper Donnarumma this team can and should win. If not, manager Mauricio Pochettino seriously shouldn’t be allowed to manage a football club ever again. So with that said, PSG is my dark horse to win. It’s weird calling a club like PSG a dark horse because it’s not like a tiny club that has zero chance. If that’s the case then my ACTUAL dark horse has to be Sevilla. They can do the unimaginable.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS.
Chelsea to win, PSG to challenge Chelsea, and Sevilla to win me millions of dollars. Am I an idiot? Yes-I-I mean let’s wait and see!