The latest edition of the UEFA Champions League kicks off on 18 September 2018. The group-stages and the knockout phases over the period of the next seven months end with the final taking place at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano.
The official draw for the group stages took place in Monaco earlier today, as a result of which we came to know all the eight groups for this year's tournament.
Real Madrid will try to win their fourth consecutive UEFA Champions League this season. With the likes of Roma, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen in their group, their path to the knockout stages seem relatively simpler.
Barcelona and Juventus, two of Madrid's most likely contenders for the European crown have been drawn into relatively tougher groups with the likes of Tottenham, Manchester United, Inter Milan and Valencia to contend with.
Bayern and Manchester City, who are also likely to be the other closest challengers, have been drawn into straightforward groups while last year's finalists Liverpool have been arguably drawn into the 'group of death'.
Therefore, in this article, we look forward to three of the strongest groups, from which some of the big boys might miss out on the chance to qualify for the knockout stages:
#3 Group A (Atletico, Monaco, Dortmund, Club Brugge)
Atletico are the reigning Europa League champions while finishing 2nd in La Liga ahead of their city rivals, Real Madrid. In the recent UEFA Super Cup meeting versus Real Madrid, the Europa League champions dismantled the Champions League winners 4-2. They look likely to go deep into the tournament and most probably should top this group.
Dortmund qualified for this year's UCL by the skin of their teeth, pipping Bayer Leverkusen on the basis of a better goal difference. Led by the charismatic Marco Reus, Dortmund haven't have been at their vintage best since Klopp stepped down, but they always pose a threat. The 2013 Champions League finalists will look to provide a better performance after a disappointing campaign last season.
Monaco finished second behind champions PSG by a massive difference of 13 points. The 2016/17 Ligue Un winners had a disappointing European campaign last year, finishing bottom of their group, with a measly total of 2 points. Despite poor showings, the 2015/16 semi-finalists are capable of beating any side on their day.
Club Brugge are the current champions of the Belgian First Division A. They won the league last season by a whopping margin of 12 points. This team has the least experience of European football and will find it tough to cope with 3 big teams in their group. But their domestic champions status could help them produce a shock result.
Overall, this group is going to be very tough to predict. Atletico are favourites to top it, but in football nothing is certain.