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UEFA Champions League Special: Predictions


UEFA Champions League Special: Predictions

After the Champions League group stage was drawn today in Monaco, eyefootball will be predicting the odds for each team, and the winners & second place for each group as well as the third placed team who will drop down to the Europa League's knockout rounds. We will also predict the winner.

Group A: Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociedad


Group A features Real Sociedad, who are making their comeback in the competition they last played in in the 2003/2004 season, when they reached the last 16, they have lost their main midfield man, Asier Illaramendi to Real Madrid, though they have signed Esteban Granero on loan from QPR to offset the effect of Illaramendi's loss. Bayer Leverkusen, the 2002 finalists, go into the group stage without their star striker Andre Schurrle who moved to Chelsea, and without young right back Daniel Carvajal who moved back to Real Madrid after putting in a string of magnificent performances for the Germans last season. Shakhtar Donetsk, the only team representing Ukraine this season, have done well in the transfer market this summer following the loss of Henrik Mkhitaryan to Dortmund and Fernandinho to Manchester City, with signing one of Brazil's brightest prospects, Bernard, from Atletico Mineiro. They have also done well keeping Dmytro Chygrynskiy. Manchester United have yet to make a big name signing for the first team, but have done well to deal with the Wayne Rooney saga and appear to have kept him. David Moyes has made a good start as boss since replacing Sir Alex Ferguson. Prediction: 1- Manchester United, 2- Bayer Leverkusen, 3- Shakhtar Donetsk, 4-Real Sociedad


Group B: Real Madrid, Juventus, Galatasaray, FC Copenhagen


One of the stronger groups this year, it pits the Turkish, Danish and Italian champions together, along with the Spanish runners up. Real Madrid go in with Carlo Ancelotti as manager, who won the competition last time round with AC Milan in 2007. He strengthened his squad with Illaramendi from Real Sociedad and Isco from Malaga, who has made an instant impact at his new club, and Brazilian wonderkid Casemiro. Juventus have strengthened their attack with Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente, while Angelo Ogbonna came in from FC Turin to strengthen their defence. Juventus have also won their first trophy of the season with the Italian Supercopa, beating Lazio. Turkish champions Galatasaray have signed Felipe Melo though they lost Colin Kazim-Richards to Blackburn as well. The Turks have also opened their season with the Turkish Supercup trophy. Prediction: 1-Real Madrid, 2-Juventus, 3-Galatasaray, 4-FC Copenhagen


Group C: Benfica, Paris St-Germaine, Olympiakos, Anderlecht


Portugal's runners up Benfica go into this group stage strengthened by the signings of Miralem Sulejmani from Ajax, Lazar Markovic from Partizan Belgrade, Filip Djuricic from Heerenveen and Pizzi from Atletico Madrid, as well as 8 other signings. French champions Paris St-Germaine go into this season stronger than last season, with £55m striker Edinson Cavani added to bolster their already destructive frontline which also features Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Argentinean Ezequiel Lavezzi. They have also picked up France's Trophée des Champions (Super Cup) to start their season on a high. Greek Champions Olympiakos have strengthened with former Barcelona and Real Madrid player Javier Saviola, as well as Vladimir Weiss and Argentinean Alejandro Dominguez, amongst others. Anderlecht have lost their two biggest performers from last season, midfielder Lucas Biglia and striker Dieumerci Mbokani to Lazio and Dynamo Kyiv respectively, and have replaced them properly. Prediction: 1- Paris St-Germaine, 2- Benfica, 3- Olympiakos, 4- Anderlecht


Group D: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Manchester City, Viktoria Plzen


Bayern Munich go into this games as defending champions, as well as league and cup double champions in Germany. They have a new manager in Pep Guardiola, who strengthened his squad with Mario Gotze, Thiago Alcantara and Jan Kirchhoff. They have had a 100 percent start to the season under their new manager and will be looking to keep their title with their current squad and apparent dominance on all fronts. Bayern will go up against Manchester City for the second time in a row in the group stages. This time Manchester City have ploughed around £90m in the summer transfer market, with the arrivals of Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic and Fernandinho. Captain Vincent Kompany is out of contention for at least a month and will miss their first Champions League fixture. CSKA Moscow have lost Vagner Love and Tomas Necid, and have not replaced them accordingly. Viktoria Plzen are currently top of their the Czech league. Prediction: 1- Bayern Munich, 2- Manchester City, 3- CSKA Moskow, 4- Viktoria Plzen.


Group E: Chelsea, Schalke, FC Basel, Steaua Bucharest


Europa League holders Chelsea have a relatively easy group, with Schalke, Basel and Steaua Bucharest to provide them competition. Chelsea have been strengthened by the return of their most successful manager, Jose Mourinho, as well as players Andre Schurrle, Willian, Samuel Eto'o and Marko Van Ginkel. Van Ginkel and Kevin De Bruyne have been on fire for Chelsea in their pre-season as well as their opening English Premier League games, and the signing of Samuel Eto'o is sure to bring even more danger to their already packed frontline. FC Schalke have signed Hungarian striker Adam Szalai and Dennis Aogo on loan amongst others, and generally seem like the same team they were last season. They have made a worrying start to the season though, collecting one point from a possible 9. FC Basel will be looking for their Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah to reproduce the kind of performances he's been producing for club and country over the past year. Steaua Bucharest have lost captain Vlad Chiriches and Raul Rusescu to Tottenham Hotspurs and Sevilla respectively. Prediction: 1- Chelsea, 2- Schalke, 3- FC Basel, 4- Steaua Bucharest


Group F: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli


Group F has been branded as the "Group of death" for this season's Champions League group stages. Featuring 4 top clubs from 4 top leagues, it also includes last year's beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund. Arsenal have endured a frustrating summer, with Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo their only signings, though Aaron Ramsey has been in superb form for them. Marseille are top of the Ligue 1 after a fiery start to their domestic season, and have strengthened with Dimitri Payet from Lille and Saber Khalifa from Evian Thonon Gaillard. Last year's finalists, Borussia Dortmund, have lost arguably their best player and most promising prospect Mario Gotze to their closes rivals, Bayern Munich. They have spent wisely though, bringing in Armenian playmaker Henrik Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk and Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Werder Bremen, as well as Pierre Aubameyang from French club St Etienne. They have kept their 100 percent domestic record this season, winning all 3 league games to date. Napoli, with their new manager Rafael Benitez, have strengthened all over the squad after selling Edinson Cavani to PSG. Amongst the players coming in were Belgian Dries Mertens, Real Madrid trio Jose Callejon, Gonzalo Higuain, and Raul Albiol, as well as Pepe Reina on loan from Liverpool. Benitez will be looking to replicate his first season at Liverpool when he won the Champions League, and he has a squad very capable of that. Prediction: 1- Borussia Dortmund, 2- Napoli, 3- Arsenal, 4- Marseille


Group G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg, Austria Vienna Porto come in as Portuguese champions and have last won the Champions League in 2004 under the guidance of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Having lost both Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez to Monaco at the beginning of the summer, they haven't strengthened with big names and have opted for young players from South and Central America, such as Hector Herrara and Diego Reyes. Atletico Madrid have been weakened by the loss of Colombian striker and top scorer last season Radamel Falcao, but have signed David Villa who has impressed already for the club. Other noticeable additions to the squad are defender Martin Demichelis and keeper Daniel Aranzubia. Zenit are Russia's second representative this season, and have strengthened considerably, with Andriy Arshavin and Anatoliy Tymoschuk coming in for free while Cristian Ansaldi was bought in from Rubin Kazan for £5m. Austria Vienna are the only representatives of Austria, and are sitting fourth in the Austrian Bundesliga, with 11 points from 6 games. Prediction: 1- Atletico Madrid, 2- Porto, 3- Zenit St Petersburg, 4- Austria Vienna


Group H: Barcelona, AC Milan, Ajax Amsterdam, Celtic


The second strongest group on paper, it brings 4 top teams in their respective countries again. Celtic recorded a surprise win last season against Barcelona, and shouldn't be ruled out. Barcelona have a new manager in Gerardo Martino after Tito Vilanova's resignation to continue cancer medication. Martino has no Champions League experience but has a squad capable of winning the competition. With the addition of Brazilian starlet Neymar to the star studded side, they have a certain chance this season. The club have won the Supercup in Spain beating a resilient Atletico Madrid side, and have had a 100 percent start to La Liga. AC Milan have let go of long time servant Massimo Ambrosini, as well as Taye Taiwo who went to Bursaspor, and Mario Yepes who moved to Atalanta, but have bought in Andrea Poli who has already impressed for the club, as well as Matias Silvestre on loan from bitter rivals Inter Milan, who missed the competition. Milan have been stunned in their first game in the Serie A, losing to Hellas Verona in a match they dominated. Ajax have strengthened with the loan signing of Bojan Krkic from Barcelona, though they have lost Ryan Babel and Miralem Sulejmani both on free transfers. Celtic go into the group stage after scraping through with a goal in the final minute of their qualifier against Shakhtar Karagandy courtesy of James Forster. They have lost their top scorer Gary Hooper to Norwich city, and talismanic defender Victor Wanyama to Southampton, though they have strengthened with the arrivals of Dutchman Derk Boerrigter and Portuguese Amido Balde who has shown his worth already for the Scottish side. Prediction: 1- Barcelona, 2- AC Milan, 3- Celtic, 4- Ajax Amsterdam


After running a quick simulation, the first knockout round would look like this, with the results:


FC Barcelona 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen


Atletico Madrid 1-0 Benfica Borussia


Dortmund 3-2 Manchester City


Chelsea 2-0 Juventus


Bayern Munich 4-1 AC Milan


Paris St Germaine 2-0 Napoli


Real Madrid 3-1 Porto


Manchester United 2-0 Schalke


Quarter Final:


Barcelona 3-5 Bayern Munich


Atletico Madrid 3-2 Manchester United


Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Paris St Germaine


Chelsea 2-3 Real Madrid


Semi Final:


Bayern Munich 2-0 Atletico Madrid


Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Real Madrid





Final:


Bayern Munich 1-0 Borussia Dortmund