In two weeks, the trumpets will sound across the world, the beautiful anthem marking the return of the world’s biggest football event, the 2019/20 edition of the UEFA Champions League. All the participants now know who they will be facing, have submitted their squads to UEFA and will be training in top gear for a chance at Liverpool’s crown.
We have four Serie A teams in this year’s edition – Juventus, Napoli, Atalanta and Internazionale. Last edition’s quarter-finalists Juventus will begin their campaign away to Atletico, Napoli will welcome Liverpool, Atalanta will travel to Dinamo Zagreb, and Inter will welcome Slavia Prague.
See our predictions below.
GROUP C PREDICTION: 1 – Man City; 2 – Atalanta; 3 – Shakhtar Donetsk; 4 – Dinamo Zagreb
The real battle in this group will be between Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk because Manchester City are too much for the rest of the group to handle.
Although, Shakhtar under Fonseca (who is now at Roma) has beaten City in the 2017/18 campaign, both teams have both undergone changes that now place Shakhtar at a greater disadvantage in any subsequent meetings between both clubs.
Dinamo Zagreb have not appeared in the tournament for four years. The last time they appeared, it was a sob story as the won one (Arsenal) and lost the other five games so the probability of them bettering that record is next to none. They might draw a match or two, but they will be exiting the competition at this stage.
Atalanta, the debutants, are the group’s most interesting side and they will be the only challenge for City in this group. Their Champions League debut was well-earned as they played very exciting football last season under manager Gian Piero Gasperini. They have also shored up their defence with the addition of Danish centre-back, Simon Kjaer who has a lot of experience playing high tempo matches.
Atalanta will make this an interesting group to watch.
GROUP D PREDICTION: 1 – Juventus; 2 – Atlético Madrid; 3 – Bayer 04 Leverkusen; 4 – Lokomotiv Moscow
Juventus will be facing Atletico again and this time they will be even more wary of the team from Spain. Las campaign, Ronaldo showed why he is the king of the competition by scoring a hat-trick to pull Juventus back from the brink of elimination after a 2-0 first-leg loss to Atletico in the round of 16. This campaign, Atlético will most definitely be out for blood when they face Ronaldo and Juventus.
However, Juventus have already lost once to Atletico at the start of the season and Atletico will be looking to channel the same energy used in defeating Juventus in the pre-season when they clash in the Champions’ League.
Juventus will likely play a tough away fixture to Leverkusen but will surely more than make up for it at the Allianz stadium.
GROUP F PREDICTION: 1 – Liverpool; 2 – Napoli; 3 – Red Bull Salzburg; 4 – Genk
Many have claimed that this lineup will do Liverpool’s prospects of defending their title little harm. In the run-up to their championship, they traded wins with Napoli but in Carlo Ancelotti, Napoli have a coach who learns very well from his mistakes.
Napoli are stronger up front with the addition of Hirving Lozano and target man Fernando Llorente, and at the back with Kostas Manolas bringing his defensive quality and UCL giant-killing experience to the team.
RB Salzburg are still relatively new to the competition but have an exciting young side which could give Napoli a run for their money. Meanwhile Genk, in their first appearance since 2011-12, look unlikely to cause any harm, especially with their showing in last season’s Europa League.
GROUP F PREDICTION: 1 – Barcelona; 2 – Borussia Dortmund; 3 – Inter Milan; 4 – Slavia Prague
This is definitely the group of death in the Champions’ League this season, but Slavia Prague should provide some kind of breathing space for the other three teams. The team themselves know it, as they reacted hilariously to their being drawn in this group.
Sometimes, all you can do is laugh ?
The reaction of the Slavia Prague delegates when drawn in a group with Barcelona, Dortmund and Inter Milan…
Priceless! ? pic.twitter.com/cJU4iEPMa7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 29, 2019
Inter will be the underdog in this team, with Antonio Conte showing the world that he means business with his signings. Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godín and Alexis Sánchez are all names that can put fear into the heart of any team. Also, Inter will be looking to better their existing UCL record of a knockout stage exit in the 2011/12 and will be looking to get one over Barcelona who ended their campaign in this same stage last season.
They will do well not to lose track of Borussia Dortmund while looking to get one over Barcelona, as the German team will not take Inter’s challenge with a pinch of salt. They have started their season strongly and have more cohesiveness than the new-look Inter squad does.
One thing is for certain, the Camp Nou will be a fortress. Whatever Inter’s chances are will have to be taken at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium and in the other stadiums.
Come 17 September, we will be witnessing the first round of matches and we will be looking forward to surprises from the biggest competition in world football.