The balls were drawn, the groups were made, some teams praised their luck, and some cursed it, especially those in the Group of the Death. It took some time but in the end, the UEFA Champions League draw was completed with all 32 teams finding out about which group they will play.
The draw was conducted by former Bayern Munich player Hamit Altintop and former Manchester City and Barcelona player Yaya Toure. The UEFA Champions League draw has thrown some mouth-watering clashes such as Bayern Munich vs Barcelona.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 25, 2022
It is also the second last season where UEFA will use the current format. From the 2024 cycle, UEFA will follow a new format which will include 36 teams instead of 32. Due to the FIFA World Cup being held in winter, the schedule of the Champions League was also affected. According to the schedule, the first two matches will be held in September. The next three match days will be held in October, with the final matchday on November 1-2.
Here’s a look at the eight groups.
Group A Predictions
Group A includes Dutch champions Ajax, who will have to battle with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, Napoli, and Rangers. Liverpool lost the Champions League final to Real Madrid with the impressive Vinicius Jr scoring the only goal.
Klopp’s side has far from a perfect start this year while Ajax are still learning to live after selling Lisandro Martinez, Sebastian Haller, Ryan Gravenberch, and Noussair Mazraoui. And they will face not only a brilliant Liverpool side but also a Napoli side currently on top of Serie A.
Rangers won the Scottish league and returned to Champions League in style but the trio of opponents will be too powerful for them to handle.
While Ajax are a strong team the loss of their key players will be hard to immediately replace. Liverpool will be expected to top the group followed by Napoli.
Teams to go through: Liverpool (Group Winners), Napoli
Group B Predictions
Group B features Portuguese champions Porto along with Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, and Club Brugge. Porto saw off competition from Sporting to win their league but now have two big opponents in Atletico Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen. While Atletico Madrid have always been one of the top performers in the tournament, Bayer Leverkusen have an incredibly talented young squad with superstars such as Florian Wirtz in their ranks.
Anderlecht are coming from a season where they struggled against their domestic rivals. And thus may not present many challenges to other teams.
While Porto have more Champions League than Atletico and Bayer Leverkusen, based on current form we expect the Portuguese side to come up short.
Teams to go through: Atletico Madrid (Group Winners), Bayer Leverkusen
Group C Predictions
Ten-time Bundesliga champions and 2019-20 Champions League winners Bayern Munich are in Group C and will face Barcelona, Inter Milan, and FC Viktoria Plzen. The UCL draw always throws up one group that is called ‘Group of Death’ which in this season is this group
Barcelona will be looking for revenge especially after being humiliated by Bayern in their last three meetings. The aggregate score of those three matches stands at 14-2. It will also be an emotional return for Robert Lewandowski to Allianz Arena where he won loads of trophies.
Inter Milan also will face Barcelona again after the 2019-20 season where coincidentally they were also in the ‘Group of Death’. For the Czech side, it is their worst nightmare come true as they were drawn in the hardest group possible. However, with their signings, Barcelona will follow group winners Bayern Munich to the round of 16.
Teams to go through: Bayern Munich (Group Winners), Barcelona
Group D Predictions
Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt are in Group D and are joined by Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur, Sporting Lisbon, and Marseille. Frankfurt have shown their class by winning the Europa League but now must repeat their heroics in Europe’s premier competition.
Antonio Conte who has signed a plethora of players now has a far superior squad to what he inherited when he took the job. Harry Kane who has never won the trophy will be itching to finally bring some silverware to White Hart Lane. While Sporting Lisbon and Marseille are coming off incredible campaigns, they were too inconsistent last season which led to the downfall of their league title bid.
FootTheBall predicts Frankfurt and Tottenham to go through.
Teams to go through: Tottenham Hotspur(Group Winners), Eintracht Frankfurt
Group E Predictions
Group E consists of Italian champions AC Milan, 2020-21 Champions League winners Chelsea, Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg, and Dinamo Zagreb. AC Milan completed a historic season in style by winning Serie A and announcing their return to the pinnacle of football. Now they must do it all against 2020-21 champions Chelsea, and an impressive Salzburg side.
Dinamo Zagreb have been brilliant but just don’t possess the quality of Milan, or Chelsea. Meanwhile, Salzburg can surprise any team on their day, Chelsea and Milan are a level or two above the Austrians and will go through.
Teams to go through: AC Milan (Group Winners), Chelsea
Group F Predictions
Defending champions Real Madrid are in Group F and are joined by Red Bull Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Celtic after the UCL draw. Madrid produced comebacks after comebacks to win their 14th trophy and will be as hungry to win their next one. Leipzig who have turned around their last season in style under Domenico Tedesco will be a tough opponent.
Shakhtar who have been a steady presence in the league will be the dark horses and can spring surprises as they have often done in the past. However, for them and Celtic it is a bridge too far as Madrid and Leipzig have further bolstered their squad to increase the gulf.
Real Madrid will take the group and will be followed by Leipzig.
Teams to go through: Real Madrid (Group Winners), Red Bull Leipzig
Group G Predictions
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are in Group E with Sevilla, Borussia Dortmund, and Copenhagen. It will be the return for Erling Halaand to Dortmund, a club he left this summer to join City. Despite landing a truckload of domestic trophies, City are yet to taste success on the continental stage and Guardiola will look to go all the way this season.
However, they will face tough competition from Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund who have kept their best for the Champions League.
Teams to go through: Manchester City (Group Winners), Borussia Dortmund
Group H Predictions
2020 finalist Paris Saint Germain are in Group E and will fight it out with Juventus, SL Benfica, and Israeli side Maccabi Haifa. PSG like City have also failed to land the European trophy and will be looking to make it their year. The team have an impressive trio in Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar. They face Italian side Juventus who would want to establish themselves on the domestic as well as the continental stage.
And with the quality they have, Benfica and Maccabi will be no match for them
Teams to go through: PSG (Group Winners), Juventus