2017/18 UEFA Champions League Draw: Reviewing the 8 groups
Here is how the 8 groups stack up and what one can expect from the 32 teams in the group stages of Europe's top tournament.
The much awaited Champions League group-stage draw was finally out on Thursday. As always, it threw up a plethora of interesting match-ups within the groups itself.
While most of the top teams would generally like to avoid tougher clashes in this phase, the rise of new footballing powers led to difficult groups.
The usual suspects are all in the 2017/18 Champions League, while a few new teams are making their first ever appearance. Without further ado, let's take a look at the different groups, the interesting match-ups and their chances of making it out of the group-stage.
Group A - Red is the most important colour
Benfica qualified as domestic champions of Portugal for the group stage. Rui Vitoria's side reached the round of 16 last year and will be looking to make it to the next round this year. The Portuguese side have won 4 league titles on the trot and look good despite losing Ederson and Victor Lindelof to Manchester while Nelson Semedo joined Barcelona.
Manchester United are clear favourites in this group. The Europa League winners are a well-balanced side and look set to compete for the Premier League crown as well under experienced gaffer Jose Mourinho. However, a point to note is that the Red Devils finished third in 2011/12 in a similar group consisting of Benfica and Basel after reaching the UCL final in 2011.
Basel come into this year's tournament winning seven league titles in a row. While their domestic superiority is undisputed, they have a tough ask to get out of the group stage. However, they will be nailed on to finish third and make it to the Europa League knockouts.
CSKA Moscow came through the qualifying route but have struggled to get out of the group stages in the past 5 seasons. The Russian side will be hoping to upset the apple cart and sneak into the Europa League at the very least.
- Manchester United
- CSKA Moscow