The 2018-19 UEFA Champions League is upon us, and Bavarian Football Works is here for your preview and predictions. Our writers predicted the finish of the groups.
Find out who from Group G is advancing to the Knockout Rounds, who is heading to the Europa League, and who is going home between CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid, Roma, and Viktoria Plzen.
Winners: Real Madrid
Now that Zinedine Zidane has moved on, Real Madrid face the prospect of a new season in the Champions League under a new and relatively untested coach. Julen Lopetegui has only coached 16 games in the Champions League, and made it as far as the quarter finals once — when Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich smashed his Porto team 6-0. However, this time he has the might of the defending European champions at his disposal, and expect him to top the group with relative ease. Roma should give Real Madrid some trouble, but even so, they are easy favorites to top the group
How did they qualify: Real Madrid qualified directly into the Group Stage by winning the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League and finishing in third place in the 2017-18 Spanish La Liga.
There absolutely no reason why AS Roma and Real Madrid shouldn’t be the two teams to progress from this group. Roma just missed out on the place in the final last year, losing 7-6 on aggregate to Liverpool in the semi-finals. Their league form in Serie A has started off a bit shaky as they went on to draw Atalanta and lose to AC Milan after beating Torino on the opening match day. Regardless, Roma should that they can compete with the best teams in Europe during their Champions League run last season, especially with their heroics against Barcelona at the Stadio Olimpico. If Eusebio Di Franceso can get his tactics right for each respective group stage match, they could have a real shot at winning the group, topping the odds-on favorites, Real Madrid; they may be flying in La Liga right now, but let’s be honest, they are a different team in the big moments without Cristiano Ronaldo.
How did they qualify: Roma qualified directly into the Group Stage by finishing in third place in the 2017-18 Italian Serie A.
— Tom Adams
Europa League: CSKA Moscow
The Koni will have their work cut out for them in this group. With Real Madrid and AS Roma as heavy favorites, CSKA Moscow will need explosive efforts from the likes of 20-year olds Fedor Chalov (forward) and Kristijan Bistrovic (midfielder). The young, but dynamic, duo will get a true baptism by fire in this group. CSKA Moscow defenders Mário Fernandes, Nikita Chernov, Hördur Magnússon, and Rodrigo Becão will be tested frequently as well, while 28-year old Abel Hernández will look to provide a veteran presence offensively. In another group, CSKA Moscow might have an opportunity to move on, but in Group G the chances are not great.
How did they qualify: CSKA Moscow qualified directly into the Group Stage by finishing in second place in the 2017-18 Russian Premier League.
— Chuck Smith
Eliminated: Viktoria Plzen
Plzen started the 2018-19 Czech First League on absolute fire with six wins out of six. Then, in the final match before the international break in a trip to Sparta Prague, Plzen was on the wrong end of a 6-1 whipping. Whoa boy. That’s not a good way to start your two week break. It’s difficult to see Plzen getting more than a couple of points at mosst from this group. They’ll have to close their eyes with a hope and prayer of sneaking into the Europa League.
How did they qualify: Viktoria Plzen qualified directly into the Group Stage by winning the 2017-18 Czech First League.
— Phillip Quinn