European Champions League Draw 2016 predictions
It is close to that time of the year where the best teams all over Europe battle for the most prestigious title of the continent. Before we get into the excitement of the knockout stages, we have to endure the group stages. Let’s take a general look at some interesting groups.
I am looking forward to Guardiola v2 vs Guardiola, aka Barcelona vs Manchester City. Luis Enrique has achieved a lot in the Catalan giant but he is currently under the shadow of former manager Guardiola. Group C will be a good chance for Guardiola to solidify his place as one of the greatest and Enrique to show that he can overachieve his predecessor.
Although I am not a supporter of Borussia, I always enjoy seeing them succeed on the big stage. They are the ultimate underdog team and just seeing their fans’ passion makes you want to root for them. This year they are up against Los Blancos under Zidane. Dortmund in the past have shown that they can fare well against Madrid eg. the 2012-13 Champions League Semi-Finals. I am really looking forward to this game to see if Zidane can continue his European Stage success and how Dortmund will adapt to life after losing Hummels and Gundogan.
When you have a look at groups, perhaps the most “boring” looking one would be Group G which features Leicester City, Porto, Club Brugge, and Kobenhavn. Although the group looks kind of dull, I think it has the chance to be the most entertaining. I am really curious to see how Ranieri’s Leicester plays in Europe and whether or not they can cope with both Premier League and UCL at the same time. Porto, who has essentially been the talent factory for some of Europe’s biggest clubs and I am looking forward to see which talents they will showcase for us this year. Club Brugge, although not being majorly successful in the UCL so far, have consistently been in the European stage for more than 8 years in a row. Perhaps the weakest team in the group can be noted as Danish club Kobenhavn, but if they share some of the Viking blood with Iceland’s national team from Euro 2016, this will be a very interesting and hard to predict group.
And lastly Arsenal. This is possibly the last year Arsenal has under Arsene Wenger’s management. The first 5 years of Arsene in London has been as glorious as possible but the remaining was underwhelming. If Wenger wants to leave the club as a legend, he either needs to have some success in UCL or BPL. As a Liverpool fan, I would rather him to focus on UCL so it is easier for Liverpool to overtake them in the league. They will be facing Paris St Germain, Basel, and Ludogorets and it would be a huge disappointment if Arsenal cannot proceed to the Knockouts.
And for my predictions, with the deadliest striker partnership of all the time, Messi, Neymar and Suarez, backed with Rakitic, Iniesta, Alcacer, Turan, Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes, my brain says Barca, but my heart wants to see a Ludogorets vs Legia final just for the LOLs.