Group C, the group of death as we look at the Draw of all 8 groups for Champions League 2022-23.
The wait is finally over as one of the most decorated tournaments of football, Champions League is around the corner. The group stage draw for Champions League 2022-23 has already taken place in the city of Istanbul last Thursday, and there are some interesting draws.
The Group stage matches will start on the 6th of September and will conclude on the 2nd of November. These dates are earlier than most years because of the World Cup, which will be played later this year in November and December. So, let’s look at how each group draw has fared, key clashes to watch, and which teams are likely to progress in the Round of 16 of Champions League 2022-23.
Group A: Ajax, Liverpool, Napoli, Rangers
It is undoubtedly one of the groups to look out for where none of the fixtures will be a cakewalk. The weakest team of the group is Rangers but the trip to Ibrox stadium will not be an easy one for visitors. Also, Ajax is not the same after the departure of key players and manager Erik Ten Hag.
It will be interesting to see how this new-looking Ajax under Alfred Schreuder performs at the highest level. Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli should be the strongest opponent to 2021-22 finalists Liverpool, and they can challenge for the top spot.
Top 2 Prediction: Liverpool and Napoli // Key Clash: Liverpool vs Napoli
Group B: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Club Brugge
This is certainly not one of the eye-catching groups, but still is an interesting one. After last year’s group stage drama, Porto and Atletico are placed one more time in the same group. Bayer Leverkusen have started this season poorly with 3 out of 3 losses in the Bundesliga and looking at the current form. We predict Porto to top the group and Atletico to be the second team to qualify.
Top 2 Prediction: Porto and Atletico Madrid // Key Clash: Porto vs Atletico Madrid
Group C: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Viktoria Plzen
Whoa! Undoubtedly, the Group of death. Three top teams with rich European history will fight for two qualifying spots. It also offers the famous reunion of Robert Lewandowski with his former teammates at Bayern, and we fans wait for such mouthwatering contests.
Though Barcelona is a mere shadow of their own stature in recent times, it would still be foolish to write them off. With some interesting signings in form of Lewandowski, Julias Kaundé, Raphinha, and Christensen, they are much better placed than last season. The infamous return of Lukaku on loan from Chelsea makes the already strong-looking lineup of Inter Milan more competitive.
Now, coming to the difficult part of picking the top two. Can we choose three? Unfortunately not. Our pick is Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. We picked Inter over Barca just because Inter Milan looks the more settled team among the two.
Top 2 Prediction: Bayern Munich and Inter Milan // Key clash: Bayern Munich vs Barcelona
Group D: Eintracht Frankfurt, Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting CP, Marseille
After missing out on the previous two seasons, Spurs are back in the Champions League. It looks like their road to the round of 16 will be comparatively easier than other English teams as they avoided major European teams in their group.
The next best team in the group is last season’s Europa League winners, Eintracht Frankfurt. Whereas Sporting CP will compete in the second consecutive season. Last year, they qualified for the round of 16 where they were defeated handsomely by Manchester City with a 0-5 aggregate scoreline.
Top 2 Prediction: Tottenham Hotspur and Eintracht Frankfurt // Key Clash: Frankfurt vs Spurs
Group E: AC Milan, Chelsea, FC Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb
AC Milan needs no introduction when it comes to European competitions. Current Italian champions will look to forget the group stage exit of last season. This champions League may also be the last one for the 40-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Two times winners Chelsea who were cruelly knocked out at the quarterfinal stage by Real Madrid last season will boast their chances with new signings in form of Koulibaly, Sterling, and Chukwuemeka to name a few. This will be the fourth consecutive group stage campaign for FC Salzburg where as Dinamo Zagreb qualified through playoffs.
Top 2 Prediction: AC Milan and Chelsea // Key Clash: AC Milan vs Chelsea
Group F: Real Madrid, RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic
Real Madrid, the most successful club in this competition with 14 titles didn’t get what they desired in the transfer market as they released Casemiro to Manchester United. But still, they are a formidable and experienced side who knows how to win important encounters. Striker Benzema is in form of life and will look to make his presence felt one more time in the competition.
Shakhtar Donetsk won’t be playing at their home ground due to the situation in Ukraine. They will play home encounters at Warsaw. RB Leipzig who drew with Manchester City and PSG last season will look to make the last 16 this time around. Celtic is making a comeback to the Champions League group stage after a noticeable omission for the last 4 years. It takes no guessing that the atmosphere at Celtic Park will be electric during European nights.
Top 2 Prediction: Real Madrid and Celtic // Key Clash: Real Madrid vs Celtic
Group G: Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, FC Copenhagen
One Trophy that is missing in Manchester City’s decorated trophy cabinet is this one. Manchester City have emerged as one of the best if not best teams of the last decade. Such are the expectations from them that final and semi-final appearances are considered failures. With the signing of the season in form of Haaland, they will not be looking at anything less than the coveted Champions League trophy.
One more reunion offered by group staging is Haaland with his former team Borussia Dortmund.
FC Copenhagen have qualified for the group stage after a long gap of 6 years, and ideally should not trouble other teams in the group. Sevilla are one team that always performs well in European competitions and the current drop in form of Borussia Dortmund makes Sevilla favorites to qualify along with City from group G.
Top 2 Prediction: Sevilla and Manchester City // Key Clash: Manchester City vs Borussia Dortmund
Group H: PSG, Juventus, Benfica, Maccabi Haifa
PSG are another high-profile team like Manchester City which is devoid of a Champions League trophy. With players like Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar in their line up anything less than the finals is considered an unsuccessful campaign.
Juventus will look to improve on their round of 16 exits which they are facing for the last three campaigns. Though Benfica reached the last 8 in the previous campaign with the most important player of last season Nunez moving to Liverpool they may not be the same threat this season.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Hail from Israel is a lesser-known name in European football and this will be their third overall appearance in the Champions League group stage.
Top 2 Prediction: Juventus and PSG // Key Clash: Juventus vs PSG
So, that’s how the Group stages draw fare for all the teams for Champions League 2022-23.
Thanks for reading! Which among the above-mentioned Groups is the Group of death? Please email your thoughts to email@example.com
Akshay is an author at Footbalytics. His love for football started way back in 1998 when Ronaldo (Not Cristiano) was his first football hero, and the list keeps getting longer ever since.
Though Akshay is a Teacher by profession, he firmly believes that there is no better classroom than the Sports field and no better Teacher than Sports.