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 A is advancing to the Knockout Rounds, who is heading to the Europa League, and who is going home between AS Monaco, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Club Brugge.
Winners: Atletico Madrid
Atleti will be one of the more intriguing squads to watch in the competition. With Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa powering the offense, Atletico Madrid should have enough firepower to pose a threat to most any team in the competition. With a proven ability to pack itself in on defense and force the opposition to scramble for chances, Atleti could have a decent formula for success. Jan Oblak is not often mentioned when the world’s top goalkeepers are brought up, but he certainly is quality and provides stability between the sticks.
How did they qualify: Atletico Madrid qualified directly into the Group Stage by winning the 2017-18 Europa League and by finishing in second place in the 2017-18 Spanish La Liga.
— Chuck Smith
Runners-Up: Borussia Dortmund
Dortmund is talented enough to advance through the group stage and, frankly should be expected to, but if the early results in the Bundesliga mean anything, BVB could be poised for a disappointing showing. With Marco Reus and Christian Pulisic as Dortmund’s primary playmakers, Die Schwarzgelben should be able to muster enough offense to be a contender, but will its young center backs, Manuel Akanji and Abdou Diallo, be able to withstand the pressure of Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco?
How did they qualify: Borussia Dortmund qualified directly into the Group Stage by finishing in fourth place in the 2017-18 German Bundesliga.
— Chuck Smith
Europa League: AS Monaco
So, what’s going on with AS Monaco this season? Following a great 2017-18 where they finished second in Ligue 1 with a number of points that would’ve won the league in many previous years, they now sit in 13th place after four games with only four points. Yes, they lost talented players like Joao Moutinho, Thomas Lemar and Fabinho, but Leonardo Jardim’s side has brought in Nacer Chadli, Benjamin Henrichs, and Aleksandr Golovin. Still, Monaco aren’t out of this. If they can put things together over the next few weeks, there’s no real reason to think that they can’t flip this spot with Borussia Dortmund.
How did they qualify: AS Monaco qualified directly into the Group Stage by finishing in second place in the 2017-18 French Ligue 1.
— Phillip Quinn
Eliminated: Club Brugge
Club Brugge may be best known to those in the United States as the Belgian club that has USMNT goalkeeper Ethan Horvath on its roster, but Blauw-Zwart may have its hands full in Group A. With neither the offensive firepower to break through its opposition, nor the defensive stability to slow down the high-powered offenses in the group, Club Brugge is in trouble. Arnaut Danjuma, Jelle Vossen, and Wesley Moraes will have to carry the offensive load if Blauw-Zwart hopes to pull out a game or two.
How did they qualify: Club Brugge qualified directly into the Group Stage by winning the 2017-18 Belgian First Division A.
— Chuck Smith