the favourites, the groups, the outsiders… What you need to know about the C1 group stage

The European summits are back and they will start with a fascinating PSG-Juventus, Tuesday September 6, at the Parc des Princes. Unlike previous years, the meetings will be linked from one week to the next due to the start of the World Cup on November 20. Before the final round begins in February, the 32 participants of this 2022-2023 edition of the Champions League will thus determine whether they will participate in the round of 16 of the competition in early November. Franceinfo: sport has stock.

Favorites: an ambitious quintet

It is not easy at the start of the season, especially when the World Cup will be held in the middle of it and will certainly affect the dynamics of some teams, to determine for sure the favorites from one competition to the next. Less than a year ago, when the 2021-2022 edition of the Champions League was about to begin, Real Madrid did not appear, thus, among the candidates for the final victory.

The Merengues finally won the last edition of C1, on May 28, and are clearly the favorites this season, always carried by a Karim Benzema who seems to be promised the Ballon d’Or. The finalist of the last edition, Liverpool is also a candidate for the title. With a difficult start to the league season, Jürgen Klopp’s Reds have to rely on the return of their injured (Thiago Alcantara, Ibrahima Konaté).

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Liverpool’s Premier League rivals, Manchester City, on the other hand, want to overcome the curse and win the Champions League for the first time in its history. Pep Guardiola, who arrived at the Citizens in 2016, still did not succeed in fulfilling this priority mission but had to rely on an extraordinary Erling Haaland at the start of the season.

With its trio of stars – Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi – in good form since recovery, Paris Saint-Germain can dream big. Provided, like Manchester City, to defeat the Indian sign and not be eliminated harshly and prematurely. Finally, Bayern Munich seems, as they have done for many years, especially equipped to aim for a title won by the Bavarian club for the last time in 2020. For this, Julian Nagelsmann’s team must to be defeated in the group stage by both clubs. acting as outsiders: Barcelona and Inter Milan.

The outsiders: Chelsea, Barcelona, ​​​​Italian clubs …

Winning the competition in 2021, Chelsea is clearly one of the most likely teams to win the competition. But the Blues, it seems, have lost their luster and have had a complicated start to the Premier League season. In particular, they need to eliminate AC Milan in the group stage. The Lombard city club, Inter Milan and Juventus hope to do well because Italian teams have struggled to stand up in C1 in recent seasons (no Italian club qualified for the quarter-finals in the last two editions) .

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Eliminated from the group stage last year, FC Barcelona also has something to say after being greatly strengthened during the transfer market. The Catalan club, the last winners of the Champions League in 2015, have a lot to do in their group to qualify for the round of 16 of the competition.

The composition of the groups: group C of death, group A of romantics

Among the eight groups in this first round, C is undoubtedly the most difficult: Viktoria Plzen expects to experience complex matches against Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona and Inter Milan. Group A, for its part, will give pride of place to fans of football romanticism, with atmospheres that promise to boil at the Johann Cruyff Stadium (Ajax), at Anfield (Liverpool), at the Diego Maradona stadium (Naples) and at Ibrox Stadium (Rangers).

In Group D, Olympique de Marseille avoided the worst. Faced with Eintracht Frankfurt, Sporting Portugal and Tottenham, Igor Tudor’s men have every chance to try to win one of the expensive tickets for the round of 16. The authors of an excellent start to the season (five wins and one draw), the Marseillais should confirm at the European level, which has not happened in their previous campaigns (one win in their last 18 games in this competition. ).

Notice in Group H, that of Paris Saint-Germain, the participation of Maccabi Haifa. The Israeli club returned to the Champions League for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. The Ukrainian club Shakhtar Donetsk, who qualified for the sixth consecutive year in the Champions League, will play their home matches in Warsaw (Poland).

The club originally based in Donbass played in kyiv for many years due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, on February 24, UEFA ordered the transfer of European Cup games to Ukrainian clubs, and the separation of Russian clubs, absent from this stage of the C1 group.

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