With the completion of the first round of the group stage of 2013-2014 UEFA Champions League we have the opportunity to take a more detailed view of this season’s teams.
In group A we have Manchester United, Real Sociedad de Futbol, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Shakhtar Donetsk. The Red Devils, even though they're struggling in the Premier League, in the Champions League they are not.
They are lying in the first place of the group with seven points. Leverkusen and Shakhtar are following with six and four points respectively while the Basques have not yet managed to get a point.
The Germans are in better form and I believe that alongside Manchester United they will advance to the next round with Shakhtar continuing in Europa League.
In group B we meet Real Madrid at the top with three wins from three matches and FC København at the bottom with only one point. Between them we have Galatasaray AŞ with four points and Juventus with two points.
A surprise seems to be brewing in this group as the Turkish giants are closer to the second qualifying place than Juventus. I think that the quality of “Vecchia Signora” will overcome any difficulties and take the qualification along with Real Madrid to the next round.
Moving on to the group C we come across Paris Saint Germain FC - undefeated with nine points in first place. Olympiacos FC and SL Benfica follow with four points each but with the Greeks waiting for Benfica to come and confront them in their home stadium, Karaiskaki.
At the bottom of the table we find RSC Anderlecht. In this season’s competition they have been a complete disappointment having lost all three matches without scoring yet and they've conceded ten goals already.
In group D things are more straightforward. FC Bayern Munich with nine points and Manchester City with six points are in the first two places of the group having left no doubts about the next round tickets.
For the third place of the group and the qualification to the UEFA Europa League, PFC CSKA Moscow and FC Viktoria Plzen will fight until the end. No predictions can be made with confidence but I think that Viktoria Plzen will finally take the third place.
Chelsea FC and FC Schalke 04 are topping group E each with six points and FC Basel 1893 following them with four points. At the bottom of the group we find the Romanian side FC Steaua Bucharest with one point. I believe that Chelsea and Schalke will qualify to the next round with Basel going to the Europa League.
Group F is the most exciting so far. SSC Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal FC are lying at the top of the group with six points each. They are going to fight until the end for the first two qualifying places. My hunch says that Napoli and Arsenal will qualify for the next Champions League round. Olympique de Marseille seem unable to influence the group and found itself in last place.
Atletico Madrid leads group G with nine points and having already booked a place to the next round. FC Porto and FC Zenit follow with three and four points respectively but the Russians have an away win against Porto that gives them an advantage for the second qualifying place.
The fourth club of this group, FK Austria Wien, could play some role in the final outcome of this group as they have already drawn with Zenit.
Finally we have group H where FC Barcelona are the ultimate favorites for the first of the places having already racked up seven points. AC Milan with five points, Celtic FC with three points and AFC Ajax with one point will struggle until the end.
Celtic seem to be more stable than AC Milan and I believe that the Scots will go to the next round of the Champions League.
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