UEFA Champions League 2018/19
The draw for the 2018/19 Champions League has been done. For the English teams there are a few tough draws. Spurs is in the same group as Barcelona and Inter Milan, which will make qualification tough, especially as their home matches will most likely all be played at Wembley, a place where they don't have good memories in this competition.
Liverpool would have wished an easier group. They face Paris Saint Germain, as well as a tricky Italian opponent in Napoli.
Manchester City on paper have the easiest group, with none of the European big teams represented. Lyon and Hoffenheim are their biggest threats, but they should be easy to overcome for a team with their quality.
Finally Manchester United are in Group H with Juventus and Valencia the most potent adversaries. It will not be easy to progress from this group, based on the form they have showed in the Premier League so far.
This group seems to have a pretty clear winner in Madrid’s ‘second’ team Atletico Madrid at 4/7. The Belgian team form Bruges are the clear favourite for the losing chumps here, but who will take the second qualifying position? The odds are definitely in favour of Dortmund, but Monaco can, and have done so on occasion, done well in this competition.
Prediction to qualify: Atletico and Borussia Dortmund
This group will be seen by many as the group of death for Spurs. They face Barcelona, the favourites to win the group at 4/7 and Inter Milan. The Italian team have not done that well in the competition over recent years, but they can be very hard to play. PSV is surely making up the numbers in this group.
Prediction to qualify: Barcelona and Tottenham
Another English team in this group, with last season’s runners up Liverpool trying to go one better this year. They face a big hurdle in the group stage however with moneybags team Paris SG the favourites with the bookies at evens to win the group. There is also a potential bana skin in the form of Napoli who have done very well last year in the league, and on paper at least look very strong. They are 6/1 to win the group, with Liverpool 6/4. Whipping boys Red Star Belgrade haven’t got a lot of hope.
Prediction to qualify: Liverpool and PSG
This is a group that doesn’t contain any of the big teams in Europe, which means it is a lot more open. There is no team considered to be a definite loser. Porto are leading the betting charts with 17/10 to win. Their biggest rivals are almost certainly German team Schalke 04, at 7/4 to win the group. The Turkish and Russian teams are likely to fall just short.
Prediction to qualify: Porto and Schalke
This group has one massive favourite for the win in perennial high achievers Bayern Munich. It is not strange that they are1/8 for the group win. At the bottom of the group odds is AEK Athens, the team that defeated Celtic in the last qualification game, but they are not fancied much, which leaves Benfica and Ajax to fight it out for the remaining place. Benfica has the edge at the bookies at8/1, with Ajax at 10/1, but the young team from the Netherlands has played impressively in the qualifications so they cannot br written off here.
Prediction to qualify: Bayern Munich and Ajax
Manchester City, the high spending team form the Premier League is the deserved favourite here in this group. Manager Guardiola would has set his sights on this competition this season, so odds of 1/5 seem fair here. The rest of the teams in the group are a lot closer, but the main battle for the other qualifying spot will be between Lyon and German team Hoffenheim. The latter are new and inexperienced at this level, so the French team may get this one.
Prediction to qualify: Manchester City and Lyon
This group is one of two halves. At the top half are two teams who will surely not have any problem going through the next round. Perennial winners, and holders of the cup Rela Madrid are favourite to take the group at 1/4. They are followed by AS Roma at 4/1, with the other two teams a distant third and fourth. They will be battling for third place that will give right to take part in the Europa League.
Prediction to qualify: Real Madrid and Roma
This group contains the last of the English representatives, Manchester United. They haven’t done too well in this competition over the last few years, and they are not even favourite to win this group. That role is taken by Juventus, who have strengthened considerably, and are at 8/11 for the group win. United are second at 11/4, but in Valencia they have a difficult opponent in the group. Just one bad result could swing it the way of the Spaniards. Swiss team Young Boys does not seem to have any chance here.
Prediction to qualify: Juventus and Manchester United.
The ‘lesser’ teams may have been playing preliminaries since the end of June already, but these will come to an end this month. What is the road to the final which will be in Madrid on 1 June 2019. Will the ‘home’ team make yet another final? Wouldn’t they love that?
Some clubs, depending on what league, are already in the draw. Here they are:
The final preliminary matches will be played on 29 August, and the draw for the Champions League proper will be done on 30 August. Here are the teams in the draw so far:
Depending on who the qualifiers are, Roma and Liverpool could be in Pot 2 or 3, while Valencia, Viktoria Plzeň, Club Brugge and Galatasaray will be in Pot 3 or 4.
Check out the Champions League winner odds on Bet2Go.
Rosenborg travel to Glasgow this week reeling from the shock of their long-serving manager's sacking, a reported player revolt and an uncertain future. The Norwegian side tackle Celtic in the second round of Champions League qualifying on Wednesday, six days after dispensing with the services of boss Kare Ingebrigsten and his assistant Erik Hoftun. The pair led Rosenborg to the last three top-flight Eliteserien titles. Reports in the Norwegian media say the squad reacted angrily to the dismissals, unsuccessfully petitioning the club's board to have them reinstated.
Celtic will face AEK Athens in the third qualifying round of the Champions League, if they overcome Rosenborg in the second round. The Scottish champions play the Norwegians in the first leg in Glasgow on Wednesday, with the return tie in Trondheim seven days later. AEK Athens won the Greek Super League for the 12th time last season. They were knocked out of Champions League qualifying in the third-round stage last season by CSKA Moscow. The Greek side went on to compete in the Europa League group stage, qualifying from a section that included AC Milan, Austria Vienna and Rijeka, before losing in the round of 32 to Dynamo Kyiv.
Roma owner James Pallotta has been banned from attending any Uefa game for three months - and his club fined 19,000 euros (£17,025) - after their Champions League defeat by Liverpool. Pallotta was sanctioned for calling the match officiating an "absolute joke". The club were charged over insufficient organisation and a blocked stairway at the match in Rome on 2 May, and for fans setting off fireworks. Liverpool lost the semi-final second leg 4-2, but won 7-6 on aggregate. Roma's fine follows a 50,000 euros (£43,632) penalty for crowd trouble at the first leg on 24 April. Liverpool fan Sean Cox suffered serious head injuries in an attack outside Anfield before that game.
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