Blog

The UCL group stage preview

Simon Hart returns with his final pre-match previous as the Champions League group stage comes to a close

WORDS Simon Hart

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

The UCL group stage preview
Blog

The UCL group stage preview

Simon Hart returns with his final pre-match previous as the Champions League group stage comes to a close

WORDS Simon Hart

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

Next Monday, 7 November, brings the draw for the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League. So far there are 12 teams with their places booked ahead of this week’s last set of group-stage fixtures. The dozen in question are (in group order): Napoli, Liverpool; Club Brugge, Porto; Bayern München, Internazionale; Chelsea; Real Madrid; Manchester City, Borussia Dortmund; Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica.

That said, there remains jeopardy elsewhere. With four places still up for grabs, eight teams retain hope of earning access to the knockout rounds. Nowhere is the jeopardy greater than in Group D with all four sides still in contention. Indeed only two points separate Tottenham Hotspur, top, from Olympique de Marseille, bottom and this pair meet in the south of France on Tuesday night with Spurs needing only avoid defeat; in the other game, second-placed Sporting CP need only a draw from the visit of third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt.

For the record, Tottenham have never won in six previous trips across La Manche (D4 L2). A VAR call denied them what they believed was a winning goal against Sporting on Matchday 5 though they should at least be buoyed by their comeback from two goals down to win at Bournemouth on Saturday when Rodrigo Betancour completed the turnaround in the 92minute. On the same day, Marseille had a contrasting experience at Strasbourg, surrendering a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw in which the home side equalised in the 93rd minute. History is not on OM’s side: they have won only one of their last 14 Champions League games against English clubs (D2 L11).

As for the other Group D contest in Lisbon, Sporting will kick off as favourites but must be switched on from the start: Eintracht have scored inside the opening 15 minutes in five of their last seven away games in all competitions (and have won five of those seven).

Milan’s chance to end wait

You have to go back to 2011/12 for the last time both Inter and AC Milan were involved in the Champions League after Christmas yet that that statistic could be about to be scrubbed. With Inter already through, Milan have the opportunity to join them when they host Salzburg in Group E. The Rossoneri climbed into second place with their 4-0 victory at Dinamo Zagreb last week and now need only a draw against the third-placed Austrian champions who trail them by a point. For the record, Milan have not won back-to-back games in the competition since 2011/12 – another unwanted stat they will wish to erase on Wednesday night.  

The other section in which a last-16 ticket remains unclaimed is Group F where second-placed Leipzig have only to avoid defeat when they visit Shakhtar Donetsk in Warsaw. Leipzig are unbeaten in nine in all competitions and have won three in a row in the Champions League, including last week’s 3-2 home success against holders Real Madrid. As for Shakhtar, they have not won in the competition since Matchday 1, though the fact it was a 4-1 victory at Leizpig offers at least some reason to believe.

Napoli, Bayern seek perfection

Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli made it 13 straight wins when defeating Sassuolo 4-0 on Saturday. If they can extend this unprecedented sequence to 14 at Liverpool this week they will become only the second Italian team – after AC Milan in 1992/93 – to win all six games in a Champions League group stage.  

Beaten 4-1 in Naples on Matchday 1, Liverpool need to win by four goals or more to snatch first place in the group; highly unlikely, though they will be a wounded animal after their 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday night – their first home reverse in front of a crowd since April 2017. It was actually at Anfield that Napoli last lost a group-stage fixture in this competition – in  December 2018 – but whatever the outcome of this Group A encounter, it seems safe to assume the goalkeepers will be busy given that these are the teams with most shots so far in the competition, with Napoli having posted 96 and Liverpool 95.

Finally to Bayern, the other team looking to make it six wins out of six. For the German champions, it would be no novelty at all: they did the same in 2019/20 and 2021/22 and will become the first club to do it three times if they win their Group C home fixture against Inter.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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