Home / Champions League / 2007-08 Champions League Group Predictions


With the UEFA Champions League group stages getting underway, it’s time to get out the murky crystal ball and make a few more predications on how the groups will end up. Once the group stages are complete we’ll come back and make our picks for which club will win the whole thing. Until then, feel free to tell us how wrong our picks really are.

Group A: Besiktas, FC Porto, Liverpool and Marseille
Even though Liverpool Manager Rafa Benitez has made the Premier League title his goal this season, the Reds will make it out of their group. However, making it to the finals for a third time in four years seems unlikely, even with all of the new talent brought in. While Liverpool should advance comfortably the second spot should be FC Porto’s for the taking, but Besiktas and Marseille both have the talent to unsettle the Portuguese side. Porto, who won the title in 2004, will just be too much with winger Ricardo Quaresma and will make the knockout stages.

Group B: Chelsea, Valencia, Schalke 04 and Rosenborg
While the big clubs should be able to dispatch Rosenborg comfortably, the top two spots will be a battle for three very good sides. Chelsea is the favorite of the group and should come out on top. Even with the injuries piling up at Stamford Bridge, Manager Jose Mourinho knows how to win in Europe and get the results to get out of the group stage. My heart is telling me to pick Valencia to move on as well, but I just don’t know if I can do it. Although it sits in third place in La Liga, Valencia has a negative goal differential and has not begun the season in convincing form. If this continues into Champions League play, it will be headed for an early exit. Meanwhile, Schalke has had trouble finding a win so far this season with four ties in its first five games. While Schalke making it through would not be a surprise, the pick is Valencia making it through on the shoulders of David Villa.

Group C: Real Madrid, Werder Bremen, Lazio and Olympiakos
This is Madrid’s group to lose. The influx of talent brought into the club this summer has seen it get off to a flying start in league play. Wesley Sneijder has been unstoppable and Madrid looks to be the class of La Liga so far. It will be a surprise if Madrid does not win the group. Second place should go to Werder Bremen. Even with the loss of striker Miroslav Klose, the entertaining German side has playmaker Diego to carry it through. Lazio should finish third while Olympiakos just doesn’t have the talent (especially after selling striker Nery Castillo in the summer) to hang with the rest of the group.

Group D: AC Milan, Benfica, Celtic and Shakhtar Donetsk
Wow Milan is really old, but the Cup holders are savvy and all of that age translates into a lot of European success. Even with a makeshift front line, Milan still has Kaka and should progress into the knockout round. Second place in the group is up for grabs, and any of the remaining three teams could make a push for the spot. Benfica seems to be the favorite with Rui Costa running the show. Celtic are a plucky side in European play and have a special player in Shunsuke Nakamura, but the club struggles away from home. The same can be said of Donetsk, which spent nearly $70 million this summer on new signings (Castillo being one the most expensive), but are not strong on the road. If form holds, Benfica should follow Milan through.

Group E: Barcelona, Lyon, VfB Stuttgart and Rangers
Despite a rough start to the domestic campaign, Barcelona is the clear favorite to advance. The 2006 champions have a wealth of experience and the scariest attacking unit in the world now with Thierry Henry aboard. Lyon should snag the second spot even after a tumultuous summer. The six-time defending Ligue 1 champs have lost Eric Abidal and Florent Malouda to transfers and defender Cris and goalie Gregory Coupet to knee injuries. Still Juninho is there and Lyon packs plenty of home grown talent. Stuttgart, the defending German champions, will be a close third, but it will be just a bit short on European experience to push through. Rangers will be at the bottom, but at least American DaMarcus Beasley will get some playing time.

Group F: Manchester United, Roma, Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev
If Man U and Roma don’t make it through it will be a huge surprise. Both sides boast the best talent of the group and it’s just a matter of which side finishes in first. Wayne Rooney is nearing full health and the Reds are beginning to put together wins in the Premier League. Meanwhile Roma has Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi along with new boys Juan and Ludovic Giuly. Sporting Lisbon should take third as it continues to recover from the losses of Ricardo and Nani (the latter now in a Man U shirt).

Group G: Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce
Inter is the best team on paper and on the pitch in this group, and should advance without any trouble. Meanwhile PSV, the reigning Dutch champions, made the quarterfinals last year behind the dominating play of center back Alex. Now at Chelsea, PSV must find a way to again survive the group phase. The loss of Arouna Kone puts the scoring onus on Jefferson Farfan. PSV’s main competition for the second spot should come from CSKA and its Brazilian contingent led by striker Vagner Love. CSKA however struggles away from home, and that should be its downfall. Even with the arrival of Roberto Carlos, Fenerbahce looks to be the also-ran in the group unless Mateja Kezman can find his form in front of the goal.

Group H: Arsenal, Sevilla, Slavia Prague and Steaua Bucharest
This is a two-team group between Arsenal and Sevilla. There might not be another team playing better than the Gunners right now. Arsene Wenger has got his young guns blazing and playing full of confidence. Cesc Fabregas is orchestrating Arsenal’s beautiful, flowing style and it should continue in European play. Sevilla has won the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007 and looks set to make its Champions League breakthrough. Galvanized by the sudden death of Antonio Puerta, Sevilla has talent and heart to make a big run. Fredi Kanoute leads the attack and fullback Daniel Alves is a terror for both attackers and defenders. Really, if one of these two sides don’t advance it would be amazing.


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One Comment

  1. So much for your prediction of Olympiacos coming in last for the group stage. Please don’t ever speak about football again.