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- 2013-14 Premiership
The 2013-14 Champions League will once again pit 32 of the most powerful clubs in Europe against one another in a battle for a place in the final at the Estadio de Luz on the 24th of May 2014.
While a small number of clubs have dominated this tournament in the last two decades, the 2013-14 has an unpredictable look about it, and the draw for the group stages is likely to have a significant influence on the eventual outcome of the tournament.
Group A is the home of Manchester United, and will pose some interesting challenges to the Red Devils. Drawn alongside Bayer Leverkusen, Real Sociadad and Shakthar Donetsk, United will have no easy games and will be the primary target of all their opponents. Despite this we’d be surprised to see United struggle to qualify, and Shakthar Donetsk look like they have a solid opportunity to reach the knockout stages of the tournament.
|Group A Winner|
|Champions League - Champions League-|
|Click red odds to strike a bet|
Group B will most likely pit Real Madrid against Serie A champions, Juventus, in a battle for top spot. Turkish club, Galatasary, will also want to have a say in the outcome, while Copenhagen look destined to make up the numbers. Real Madrid’s firepower up front should give them the edge in this group, while second place should keep the door to the final open for Juventus.
|Group B Winner|
Group C is an interesting mix with Benfica up against Paris Saint-Germain, Olympiacos and Anderlecht. This is easily one of the most competitive groups in the tournament. While PSG and Benfica will start as favourites to qualify, we can’t discount the likes of Olympiacos and Anderlecht. Based on recent experience and form Benfica look the closest thing to a guaranteed qualifier in this group.
|Group C Winner|
Group D includes reigning champions, Bayern Munich, who are shacked up with CSKA Moscow, ViktoriaPlzen and Manchester City. All eyes will be on the duels between Bayern Munich and Man City, and based on recent history you’d have to conclude the Germans are the team to beat. However, Man City should do enough to join them in the next round of the tournament.
|Group D Winner|
Chelsea won’t be complaining about the luck of the draw in 2013-14, as they find themselves in a relatively soft group, with their opponents including Schalke 04, Basel and Steaua Bucuresti. The Blues should be able to sow up first place in the group, but second is wide open, and Basel will fancy their chances of progessing after a strong performance in the tournament last season.
|Group E Winner|
Arsenal’s draw is a bit tougher. The Gunners find themselves alongside the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 runners-up in the form of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseilles. Nothing can be taken for granted in this group, and its going to be tight for whichever two teams qualify. Borussia Dortmund proved their class last season, and you’d have to back an in-form Arsenal to push through to the knockout rounds.
|Group F Winner|
Group G is another highly competitive group with Porto playing Atletico Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg and Austria Wien. Porto have an impressive Champions League pedigree, and Atletico Madrid are also likely to be very competitive. Ultimately this group is tough to call, but you’d have to back the two experienced sides from Portugal and Spain to deliver the goods.
|Group G Winner|
Group H is this season’s Group of Death, including the reigning champions from Serie A, the Scottish Premier League and the Dutch Eredivisie. Those clubs are joined by one of the most successful clubs in Champions League history, AC Milan. We can expect this group to produce some cracking football, and while Barcelona look a good bet to qualify, the second qualifying spot is wide open.
|Group H Winner|
While you’ll have a better sense of the likely winner of the 2013-14 Champions League once the group stages are completed and the knockout draw has been made, now’s the time to bet to get top value in the outright markets.
Based purely on the composition of the current groups, there are several teams that are likely to have an impact on the tournament. Bookies are paying each way bets at ½ odds to 2nd place, which means every team in the market will pay out a profit if they reach the final and lose.
Real Madrid are our pick to win the tournament, given their star personnel and the fact they’re overdue a big season. We’ll also be putting each-way punts on both Chelsea and Barcelona, both of whom we expect to be in contention from the quarterfinals onwards.
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