The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League groups are set. Just like we did last season, we’ll have our panel offer predictions on each round. Back again are Tyler Everett, Grace Robertson, and Carl Cort.
For this article, we’ll each pick who we think will advance from each group, along with what team could surprise and what major team is vulnerable. We’ll track our predictions total for the entire season. The winner will get a mini Champions League trophy with their name etched into it because why not.
Here we go.
Group A Predictions: Who Advances?
Group A: PSG, Real Madrid, Galatasaray, Club Brugge
Chops: Not a lot of suspense in this one, PSG and Real Madrid.
Tyler: I don’t see PSG or RM doing much once they reach the knockout rounds, but I can’t see them not getting there.
Grace: This is as straightforward as it gets: PSG and Real Madrid. For the sake of fun I’ll throw in that PSG will finish top.
Carl: Galatasaray will shake things up a bit at the Telekom but when all said and done, PSG & RM will advance.
Group B Predictions: Who Advances?
Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade
Chops: Bayern for sure. I really want to pick against Tottenham, but I just can’t get there. So Tottenham.
Tyler: I’m off to a boring start here, but I like Bayern and Spurs.
Grace: Bayern and Spurs will be delighted here. I don’t see any surprises in this group.
Carl: I have little love for Spurs but they’ll advance alongside Bayern Munich
Group C Predictions: Who Advances?
Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Atalanta, Dinamo
Chops: FFS with City and their draws already. It’s maddening. Shakhtar *should* really make it, but I’m siding with the oddsmakers and going with Atalanta as well.
Tyler: Man City is a no-brainer, especially considering the rest of this group. And I’ll go with Atlanta as well, if for no other reason than because I want to see what the fuss is all about.
Grace: Man City top the group, that’s all but a given. After that, Atalanta play wonderful football and it would be terrific to see them succeed. Shakhtar is always a tough place to go with the amount of travel, but last season’s manager Paulo Fonseca has departed and I think he will be tough to replace, so Atalanta to finish second.
Carl: City will finish the group top with maximum points followed by Shakhtar Donetsk. I give Donetsk the edge over Atalanta due to the impact of travelling to Metalist Stadium along with their experience of UCL football.
Group D Predictions: Who Advances?
Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow
Chops: I’m hearing a lot of love for Bayer Leverkusen. And for good reason. I’m going with Juventus and Atleti but here’s my bold prediction: if Bayer advances, it’ll be at Juve’s expense, not Atletico’s.
Tyler: I’ve given Atleti too much love not to go with them here. Can’t wait to see how João Félix fares against the best player from his country. While Bayer Leverkusen wouldn’t shock me, I’m going with Atleti and Juve.
Grace: Bayer Leverkusen are a good team with a strong start to the season, but this is a horrible group. Juventus are a team in transition under Maurizio Sarri but have more quality than anyone here, while Atletico Madrid will join them in the knockout stages.
Carl: It’ll be very interesting to see Sarri’s impact at Juve. The talent they have will see them through the group stages sitting below Atletico. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Leverkusen ended up taking second spot.
Group E Predictions: Who Advances?
Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, RB Salzburg, Genk
Chops: Liverpool obv. Napoli were an Alisson save away from advancing over Liverpool last year. They’re motivated. They deserve it. But life isn’t fair. RB Salzburg advance.
Tyler: Liverpool wins this group comfortably. I swear I’ll pick something other than the chalk in one of these groups, but not this one: Napoli will join the Reds in the knockout rounds.
Grace: It’s tough for a team like Salzburg to go from easy domestic domination to having to be inferior at Anfield or the San Paolo, so this group could be too much. Liverpool and Napoli.
Carl: The only way Liverpool or Napoli do not advance in this group is if they don’t show up.
Group F Predictions: Who Advances?
Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Praha
Chops: Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund. I’m way up on BVB this year both domestically and in the UCL.
Tyler: Barcelona will make it through without much of an issue. I see Inter Milan/BVB as a coin flip, and I’m going to go with Inter — let’s see how Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku look under Antonio Conte.
Grace: Antonio Conte has arrived at Inter and as good as his sides often are, he has always struggled in the Champions League. Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund get through this one.
Carl: This is a hard one to call for second spot. I believe Barca top the group. But then you have two very organised teams in Dortmund and Inter. I’m going to go with my gut on this one and side with Inter.
Group G Predictions: Who Advances?
Group G: Zenit St Petersburg, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig
Chops: Zenit St Pete was in Pot 1 and have the worst odds of advancing in inarguably the weakest group. How is that acceptable? How does Russia get an auto-bid into Pot 1? Are they playing by “City rules” if you know what I mean? Anyway, RB Leipzig is destroying the Bundesliga right now. Oddsmakers like them too. They advance along with Lyon.
Tyler: Out of deference to Pot 1/UEFA, I’ll say Zenit. And they’ll be joined by RB Leipzig.
Grace: Lyon have sold some important players but I still think they have enough talent here. I’m pretty sold on the Nagelsmann project at RB Leipzig so they will join Lyon in the next round.
Carl: I’m pretty sure RB Leipzig make it through joined by Lyon. Zenit will be tough opposition but over the course of the group stage Lyon have enough quality in attack to take them through.
Group H Predictions: Who Advances?
Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille
Chops: Chelsea makes it four Premier League teams in the round of 16 again. Ajax joins them.
Tyler: Ajax is going to go through despite being tested in both qualifying rounds. It’s between Chelsea and Valencia (I think it’s about 50-50), but I’ll go with what I want to see and pick Christian Pulisic and Chelsea.
Grace: Ajax and Chelsea. I’m not sure Valencia are all that. It’s a kind draw to a pretty flaky Chelsea team.
Carl: Ajax and Chelsea top this group. Chelsea are playing some decent football but are looking a little fragile at the back. I think they have enough to see by Lille and a struggling Valencia team.
Prediction: Who could be this year’s Ajax?
Chops: Can I say Ajax? If not, then RB Leipzig. I’m not saying they’ll make the semis. But they could win some fans.
Tyler: I don’t think there’s going to be another Ajax (especially if Ajax themselves aren’t a possible answer here), but how about Atalanta.
Grace: It’s probably Leipzig, but there doesn’t feel like a lot of romance in a club existing to market energy drinks, so I’ll say Atalanta.
Carl: If I had to call one it can only be Leipzig for me. But I don’t think there will be any surprises this year.
Prediction: Other than Zenit, which Pot 1 team is most vulnerable?
Chops: Chelsea is the weakest of the remaining Pot 1 teams. However, I think Juventus is vulnerable. Aleti and Bayer Leverkusen will make them earn every point.
Tyler: I would consider PSG a hot mess, especially in this competition, even if I was convinced they’d be healthy and have Neymar. There’s a real chance they’re playing crucial games without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe or Edinson Cavani, meaning they could break their streak of heartbreaking losses in the knockout rounds by not even making it that far.
Grace: No one can figure out what is happening at Stamford Bridge, so Chelsea aren’t hugely strong right now. Otherwise, I kind of think Barcelona astonishingly are not that secure in their group.
Carl: I have a strong feeling that Juve will be pushed to the wire. As I said above, it wouldn’t surprise me if they exited the group stages.