Champions League Update

Eddie Hudson, Cub News Writer

There have been a plethora of jaw-dropping results recently within the UEFA Champions League during the group stages. The Champions League group stage is a time of excitement due to the absurd results coming from teams with high expectations, as well as low expectations. 

Starting with group A is Napoli, an Italian football club, topping the group currently with 12 points. Napoli has impressed many with their undefeated record as well as with no ties either. Their most impressive result comes from a 4-1 win against Liverpool. Napoli has looked very strong, taking into consideration they have lost their starting center back to Chelsea, in Koulibaly. Liverpool is coming in at second right now with 9 points and their only loss came from Napoli. Ajax is a team that is not doing well with only one win against the last place team, Rangers.

Group B is one of the more forgettable groups with Club Brugge at 10 points, topping the group. Brugge has three wins, beating every team in their respective group. The rest of the group is mildly mediocre, with second place Porto having two wins and two losses. A huge underperforming squad is Athletico, Madrid,  with only one win in four games. They did lose a lot of talent in the offseason, but they were still projected to be a solid team going into the season. Leverkusen has little hope to turn it around at this point with only 3 points in a win against Atletico. 

Group C is a tight one with the top 3 teams, in this order, Bayern, Inter, and Barcelona. Bayern’s team this year is expected to perform as usual, even though they lost their star, Robert Lewandoski. Interesting enough, he went to Barcelona this past offseason. Inter Milan is in second with a cool 7 points and their one loss coming from Bayern. Barcelona is in third with only one win and 4 points. Barcelona is a team with a lot of drama surrounding it with a recent managerial change with ex-player Xavi stepping up as the gaffer. Last place Plzen show no hope of advancing with no wins or ties in four games.

Group D is another interesting group with the gap between last place Frankfurt and first place Tottenham being only 3 points. Tottenham has looked incredible at some times with two impressive wins against Marseille and Sporting CP. Both teams have a record of two wins and two losses, coming in second and third. In fourth place, Frankfurt are on the cusp of being a decent team with both of their losses only coming from a margin of one goal. 

Group E was a scramble in the beginning of the season, but has since settled down to how it was expected to be prior to the season starting. Chelsea is top of the group with 7 points and coming off a hard earned win against Milan recently. Both Salzburg and Milan are good teams that are sneaky, which may end up in one of them also qualifying for the knockout stages. Milan has been underperforming recently though, falling to a joint third place with Dinamo at 4 points. If Chelsea continues their newfound momentum, they should end up topping the group and Salzburg may qualify at second place. 

Group F is most likely going to be topped by Real Madrid in the end. Madrid is coming off a win of the whole league last year and it doesn’t look like they skipped a beat. They only have one draw in a rough performance against third place Shakhtar. Leipzig is in second place currently at two wins and two losses. This is an improvement compared to last year, with them coming in dead last this past year. Celtic is in last place with only one single point, showing just an overwhelming lack of talent to keep up with the bigger teams with exponentially more money within the group. 

Group G is a tight race between the top two teams in the group. Man City and Dortmund are both competitive teams challenging each of their leagues domestically. Man City is a perennial powerhouse and Dortmund is fueled by their young core. Man City does have a win in hand against Dortmund, but only time will tell whether Dortmund can pull a win out of the next meeting between the two squads. Sevilla and Copenhagen are very underpowered, both winless through four games. This group really is carried by the top two teams with a big drop off coming from third and fourth place. 

Group H is the last group with an interesting tie at first place with PSG and Benfica both at 8 points. They both are top of their leagues domestically and show a lot of the same qualities that good teams typically have. Their record within the group is not stellar though. Both teams have 8 points with two wins and two ties. It will certainly be interesting to see who wins this group because PSG are always a team that is expected to be a very high contender to win the whole league every year. In third and fourth place is Juventus, a team who is dwindling every year, and Haifa. These teams are both tied at 3 points and aren’t going to catch up to the top two teams anytime soon.

This Champions league season should be an exciting showdown with all of the young talent coming to play and certain groups having such tight races for the top spot to advance. Surely, the knockout rounds will be very exciting, as they are every year. The Champions League is a time for the top teams from their domestic leagues to showcase their talent against world class teams for the crown of the best team in the world.