The Champions League group stage kicks off on September 19, and the global betting company 1xBet talks about what to expect from the best European teams in the upcoming matches.
The two quartet favourites, Manchester United and Bayern, will start the tournament with a face-to-face battle in Munich. Alas, the Red Devils do not please their fans with a quality game, and Erik ten Hag is increasingly losing players due to injuries and problems with the law. Bayern successfully signed Harry Kane and is undefeated in the Bundesliga so far, but the end of the transfer window was unsuccessful - without strengthening the defence and midfield. Thomas Tuchel expressed his dissatisfaction in the press, and the club's management did not like it.
In the 1998/99, Bayern and Manchester United already played in the same group. Both teams reached the final that season, in which the Red Devils made a legendary comeback. Times change, but the pain of that defeat is still alive in the hearts of Munich fans, and all the experts will surely remember this before the game.
In the group's second match, Galatasaray and Copenhagen will meet. The Turkish grand has qualitatively strengthened the roster and will try to show class differences. The Danish last season took the last place in the group but remained invincible at home. Unfortunately for them, they will have to play away with Galatasaray.
After a great season in England, Arsenal will try to regain their status as the giants of European football. Arteta's team will start this journey with a home match against PSV. The Londoners have their leaders, Zinchenko and Jesus, returned from the infirmary. PSV has sold an important player in the midfield, Sangaré, but the team is running well and can cause many problems to the opponent who attacks much better than defends. If you think the Gunners will easily win, we remind you that last year, the teams played with each other in the Europa League group stage. At home, PSV won 2-0, and in London, Arsenal got a minimal victory with a score of 1-0. It doesn't look like a triumphal procession.
Sevilla and Lens, this season in their championships, scored one point for two and firmly settled in the relegation zone. And if the French lost two leaders, the Spaniards were stable only in the Europa League. They can rehabilitate themselves in front of the fans with success in the Champions League.
Real expects a meeting with the debutant of the tournament - Union. The Madrid get victory after victory thanks to Bellingham's magic, and even Vinicius' injury does not stop them yet. The Meringues are the favorite of the struggle, but you should not hope for an easy victory. Don't expect traditional German gegenpressing from Union - the Berliners are ready to defend with the whole squad and wait for their chance in a counterattack.
Napoli, in the champion of Italy status, will examine Braga away, which last season was able to move Sporting Lisbon from the Portuguese pedestal. The Neapolitans preserved Osimhen and Kvaratskhelia and set themselves the highest tasks. We do not think Braga will play open football - it would be suicide. But there will probably be a lot of small fouls in this game - Braga needs to keep the opponent's fast players and find a chance for a counterattack.
Inter were one step away from winning the Champions League last season and want to build on that success. The first rival of the Italians will be Real Sociedad. Departure to Anoeta is never easy, but Inter has everything to win - good form, well-played squad and quality strengthening. It's a pity that Romelu Lukaku left - last season, his substitutions often brought results. The Basques have lost the legendary David Silva and are rebuilding their game.
In the quartet's second meeting, Benfica will host RB Leipzig. Both teams have an important task. No, not win the tournament. They want to expose their players and sell them for more. Effective actions and victories increase the football players' price, making the game interesting. We expect bright combinational football from the teams they have played for over a season.
Atlético starts with an away match against Lazio. After several unsuccessful seasons in the Champions League, Madrid fans will accept nothing less than first place in a group with Lazio, Celtic and Feyenoord - it’s more like the Europa League. The Romans are not interested in Atletico's problems - Maurizio Sarri's team is full of ambition. Lazio has made a poor start in Serie A but remains a dangerous opponent. And remember the recent Italian football successes - three European Cup finals in one season! Europe has not seen anything like this for a long time.
In the group second match, Feyenoord will host Celtic. In 1970, the teams played in the Champions Cup final, and then the Netherlands won with a score of 2-1. Celtic can pay back some of the debt they owe for that defeat. And don’t forget about Brendan Rodgers: the team’s from Glasgow new coach will certainly try to remind of himself in Europe after the failure with Leicester.
The game between PSG and Borussia D will be one of the central ones in the first round. The French lost Messi and Neymar, invited new stars and changed their coach. Fans and management are not ready to give time to build up - the result is needed now. Dortmund dramatically lost the Salad Bowl in the last round of the 2022-23 Bundesliga. The start of the new championship also did not add positive emotions to the fans. Therefore, the Bumblebees really need a significant victory. Yes, it will be difficult with PSG, but it will not be easier with Newcastle and Milan.
Eddie Howe's team surprised everyone in England and deservedly qualified for the Champions League. Despite the eminent rivals, Newcastle can compete on equal terms for a place in the playoffs. In terms of financial capabilities and recruitment of players, the English team is not the last in this quartet. The Magpies will be able to demonstrate their ambitions in an away match against Milan, which looks great in Serie A and shows no signs of slowing down. The team's fans miss success on the European stage. But we will find out very soon whether they miss Tonali, who moved to Newcastle this summer.
Manchester City will start their title defence with a home match against Crvena zvezda. In the Premier League, the Citizens go without losses, and it does not look like the modest Serbian team will be able to create many problems for them. Moreover, Guardiola may well think about the rotation. Red Star averages over three goals per match in the Serbian Super League and will try to surprise City's defence. It will be challenging to count on points, but a trip to the Etihad may be the best memory for many Red-Whites players.
RB Leipzig will go to visit the unstable Young Boys. The Bulls need some positivity before the next meeting with Manchester City and Haaland - the last time, the Germans lost with a score of 0-7. Young Boys, although they have sold several important players, are still dangerous on their pitch and will not be easy prey.
Barcelona failed last European season but won La Liga. This time, there will be no more concessions for Xavi's team. Fans want to see the squad at the top or somewhere close to it, and the game against Antwerp is a great chance to make the first step. But you should not relax: the Reds won the Belgian championship, and Toby Alderweireld and Vincent Janssen play in the squad - not the last names in European football.
Shakhtar started the last Champions League season with a 4-1 win over Leipzig. Then, few people believed in the Ukrainian team, but it was able to surprise. Since then, Shakhtar sold Mudryk and Trubin, earned a lot of money, but there is no equivalent replacement for these players in the club. Porto looks more like a competitor to Barcelona than Shakhtar and Antwerp, but it is in such matches that you need to confirm your ambitions.