Champions League‘s group stage draw brought some very interesting assemblies. We at WagerBop.com will analyze every group in this year’s edition. There are 8 of them, each interesting in its way.
Logically, we will start with Group A. The European champions, Bayern Munich, are here, along with Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Moscow, the Russian league’s runners-up, and Red Bull Salzburg, who has been a dominant force of Austrian football in the past several years.
We really don’t need to say anything about the goals and plans of the reigning UCL champions. Even in those seasons, when they look far weaker, the Bavarians were attacking the title. It is expected for them to do the same in this campaign.
Regarding some changes in the lineups or the tactics, all the matches we saw now suggest that Hansi Flick won’t touch anything. That one forced switch in the middle, is due to Thiago Alcantara’s departure to Liverpool, and now Joshua Kimmich needs to be the glue in the midfield. He didn’t look well in that role, and Flick immediately brought back Douglas Costa from Juventus and bought Marc Roca. Leroy Sane is their logical choice upfield, as Bayern always emphasized attacks through wings.
As time goes by, we are more and more disappointed with the Mattress Makers. They wasted a couple of excellent years and opportunities to add some more silverware to its collection, not exploiting this fantastic generation enough. Everyone believed that they might use the favorable draw in the UCL last year, but Red Bull Leipzig eliminated them in the quarterfinals.
Luis Suarez arrived at Wanda Metropolitan, and another Uruguayan, Lucas Torrerira who is loaned by Arsenal. Thomas went in the opposite direction, and Alvaro Morata jumped to Juve. All in all, another mild transfer window for Simeone.
All the eyes will be pointed towards young Joao Felix and veterans in the attack, Diego Costa and Suarez, but it seems that this won’t be enough for some notable result.
The Russians finished second in their domestic championship, even though they founded themselves in a nasty position at one point. Head coach Marko Nikolic, who arrived at the bench in the second part of the year, suits well for the Railroaders, who are solid so far.
His playing philosophy is ultra-defensive and cautious, while on the other sides, set pieces and fast transitions are the biggest weapons of this side. When checking their stats, you’ll notice that they rarely allow goals.
Red Bull Salzburg
Unlike the previous year, when they had Haaland and Minamino, the Austrian champions now have a bit, different squad. Hee-chan Hwang is sold to older brothers, RB Leipzig, and instead, the team brought multiple talented youngsters who will try to make a name for themselves while living in Mozart’s hometown.
Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, two very young but talented guys, will most definitely lead this squad in the upcoming year and do remember their respective names.
Bayern and Atletico will decide who finishes first here. When looking at the overall picture, the team from Munich is better, but the top two positions are often determined by picking the potential pot for the round of 16. Sometimes, teams deliberately want to end second to have some suitable opponents. As for the third-place battle, that will be decided with whoever wins more convincing at home, as we believe that both RB and Lokomotiv will use the home-field advantage in their clashes, and whoever has a better goal-difference here would reach the Europa League.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.