There we have it! Bayern Munich has finally received their pairings for the upcoming group stage of the 2019 UEFA Champions League. Bayern will be joined by last years runner-ups Tottenham, as well as Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade.
A couple of us at BFW have decided to take a look at our group and make predictions about how Group B will end.
My first reaction to this group is — starts strong and ends weak. Tottenham were the runners up from last year and arguably they have gotten stronger with the signing of Ndombele this past summer to anchor their midfield. While Eriksen, Vertonghen and Alderweireld all have persistent transfer rumors and may not be on Tottenham when we play, they’re still a strong team I expect to made a deep run. They’re truly the only team that can challenge Bayern in winning this group.
Next up is Olympiacos. Bayern has a pretty good recent record against them, going 4-0 and scoring 14 goals and only conceding 2. Personally I see them being tough at home, however I feel they should be no problem for Bayern.
Finally wrapping up group B is Red Star Belgrade. Truthfully, I don’t know too much about them except they traditionally have been a rather scrappy team. I can see them putting up a fight vs Bayern, but I ultimately expect the quality of Bayerns squad will eventually overwhelm them.
- FC Bayern
- Red Star Belgrade
Tottenham is pretty tough, but it could’ve been a lot worse. I’m quite okay with them, especially considering that they’re not reputed for a defensive brand of football.
Olympiacos is a wildcard. They have the potential to surprise, but I don’t expect Bayern to have too much of a hard time with them. Once again, it could’ve been worse.
As for Red Star, they’ll make it hard for Bayern to win in Belgrade, but Bayern should be able to thrash the Serbian side at the Allianz.
All in all, I am very happy with the group. Got two relatively easy teams while also getting a pretty good team in Tottenham. Bayern should be able to make it to the next round with ease, but the games against Tottenham will be important in terms of deciding the group’s winner. They’ll also act as a gauge for Bayern’s performance level.
- Red Star
Other than Atleti, Tottenham was the Pot B team I was hoping we wouldn’t get, but seeing as the rest of the group finishes out with a whimper, I kinda like our chances.
Last season, Tottenham never played a rough and gritty away side in the group stage. This year, they get two in Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade, both of whom Bayern have experience with.
The fortress that is the Allianz will serve us well in this competition, but when it comes to the away days, I’d be fine with 2/3. Olympiacos and Red Star are both intimidating environments, but we’ve played there in years past with no problems.
It will be interesting to see how Tottenham handles that environment, specifically in Greece against Olympiacos. I imagine they will be an incredibly tough challenge for them to face and I could see them slipping down to a draw or loss.
For this reason, I’m putting us on top, to the surprise of no one.
- Red Star Belgrade
Look, I’m pretty basic in my sports. I pick my team, and I don’t pick against them. No matter what. Sure, that leaves me to do some objective “Boy, this didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.” afterwards, but that’s okay. That’s sports.
I think Bayern will take at least 14 points out of this group. The schedule lines up pretty well for Niko Kovac and company, so I like our chances. Tottenham is a formidable opponent, but I do believe that Bayern is the better team and will show that over the course of six games.
The more interesting battle will be for the Europa League spot, and I think Red Star is going to do the business against Olympiacos.
- Red Star