Champions League Group Stage Preview: Shifting Tides

The Champions League returns this Tuesday and Wednesday and for once, the group stage is interesting.

Will Chelsea retain their title? Currently they’re the fourth favourites to win it at 15/2. PSG, Manchester City and Bayern Munich occupy the first three favourite spots.

Below we preview four big games from the first round of Champions League group stage games this week.


Read: Gareth Bale Puts Doubters To Rest With Wales Hattrick 


Chelsea VS Zenit St. Petersburg

Chelsea may only be the fourth favourites, but nobody will want to play them. The team who won it last year have added the final, terrifying piece of the puzzle in Romelu Lukaku. His start to his second stint at Stamford Bridge suggests he’s going to score a lot of goals this season.

Group H has the potential to be tricky for Chelsea. Malmo should be easy to beat but Juventus are a great team, and Zenit, while not amazing, are always awkward opponents.


Barcelona VS Bayern Munich

This is Barcelona, but not as we remember them. Shorn of Lionel Messi and plagued by financial and political turmoil, this is a Barcelona team in rebuilding mode. With Antoine Griezmann also out the door, Barcelona’s front line consists of Braithwaite, de Jong and Depay.

In contrast, Bayern are still their star-studded selves, with the evergreen Lewandowski leading the line along with the bombastic Gnabry and Sané. Expect this to be painful for Barca.


Want to bet on the Champions League? See our reviews section to find the best betting markets.


Liverpool VS AC Milan

Liverpool VS Milan is a classic European fixture. However, they have not played each other in the group or knockout stages before, only the final. As a result, this will be A.C Milan’s first ever trip to Anfield.

Liverpool have started the year in promising fashion, so the Italian giants will find a stern challenge on Merseyside. Neither team are dominant in the way they once were, but European football is definitely better when they are strong. An historic night ahead at Anfield.