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This Week’s Champions League Preview and Tips


The biggest tournament in club football, the UEFA Champions League, will get back underway this week with the start of the most prestigious part of the tournament, the Group phase. Once again, punters are excited at the many betting opportunities available on this massive football event and as always, bet365 Sport is a great place to start. If you are not yet a member, why not join today using the latest bet365 Sport Welcome Bonus offer?

Once again, we see a total of 32 teams, including four from the Premier League, competing over six individual Matchdays from now through to early December. The results of these six games will determine which of the two teams from each group qualify for the Knockout Phase of the tournament in the New Year, which eight third-placed sides will drop into the Europa League in the new year and the eight teams that will be eliminated from European competition by finishing bottom of their group.

Outlined below are each of the eight groups, and the two games in each group taking place this week, together with our tips on who we think will win each game.

*Odds shown are correct as of 11.30am GMT on Tuesday 18th September 2018

Champions League Group Stage

Group A

  • Atletico Madrid
  • Borussia Dortmund
  • Club Bruges
  • AS Monaco

Week One Matches

  • Club Bruges v Borussia Dortmund – Away Win (19/20)

Borussia Dortmund should be confident of getting the job done here. Club Bruges have started well in the Belgian Jupiler League, sitting top of the table with 19 points from 7 games, but they won’t have faced a side the quality of Dortmund as yet this season. Dortmund’s solid win at the weekend, with a solid performance from Englishman Jaden Sancho a key factor, will put them in good spirits ahead of this game and I fancy Dortmund to edge a 2-1 victory here.

  • AS Monaco v Atletico Madrid – Away Win (4/5)

I think both these sides are perhaps not quite at their best, nor quite as good as they were a couple of seasons ago. Of the two, I think Monaco have had a more marked decline as evidenced by their relatively poor start to the season in Ligue 1. Atletico have also had a stuttering start in La Liga, but they tend to pull it together in the big games in Europe and as such, I am backing them to get off to a winning start here with a narrow 1-0 win.

Group B

  • Barcelona
  • Inter Milan
  • PSV Eindhoven
  • Tottenham

Week One Matches

  • Inter Milan v Tottenham – Home Win (13/8)

Inter have had a poor start to the Serie A season, lying 15th with just four points from their four games. Spurs have nine points, but have lost their last two Premier League games to Watford and Liverpool to leave them in sixth. Games between these teams have traditionally gone the way of the home team and also seen plenty of goals. I can’t see too many goals tonight though, but I am backing Inter to come away with a narrow 2-1 victory.

  • Barcelona v PSV Eindhoven – Home Win (1/9)

Can you make a convincing case for PSV to get anything from this game? Well they have started superbly well in the Eredivisie, winning all five league games, scoring 21 goals in the process and conceding just three. However, they will not have faced a team with Barcelona’s quality as yet and at the Nou Camp, I cannot see how PSV can get a result. Barcelona have started the season well and look an ominous threat both domestically and in the Champions League. Barca to win this one 3-0.

Group C

  • Paris St Germain
  • Napoli
  • Liverpool
  • Red Star Belgrade

Week One Matches

  • Liverpool v Paris St Germain – Home Win (11/10)

Many experts feel that the two games between Liverpool and PSG will decide who wins Group C and so the Reds will be desperate to get off to a good start in front of a packed Anfield. Roberto Firmino should play despite an eye injury at the weekend and PSG will welcome back Neymar and Mbappe into their team, both of whom were rested in their 4-0 home win over Saint Etienne on Friday. This will be close and a real battle, but Anfield is a fortress and PSG do struggle on the road at times, so I am backing the home side to clinch a 2-1 victory here.

  • Red Star Belgrade v Napoli – Away Win (13/20)

Napoli will know that to have any chance of usurping PSG or Liverpool in Group C, then they’ll need a result in both games against Red Star Belgrade. Serbia is never an easy place to get a result, but I think this Napoli side has the quality to do that and I am backing them to get the job done with a 3-1 win here.

Another

Group D

  • Galatasaray
  • Schalke 04
  • FC Porto
  • Lokomotiv Moscow

Week One Matches

  • Schalke 04 v FC Porto – Draw (23/10)

Group D is one of the weakest and most open of all Champions League groups this year. Schalke have endured a miserable start to the Bundesliga season losing all three games and now lying 17th in the table. FC Porto are fourth after three wins and one defeat in their four games in the Primeira Liga and I think they’ll be the most confident, however Champions League football is a good leveller and I am backing Schalke to battle their way to a 1-1 draw.

  • Galatasaray v Lokomotiv Moscow – Home Win (3/4)

If there is one maxim I tend to follow in the Champions League, it is that Russian teams tend not to travel particularly well outside of their own country. With Galatasaray sure to offer a very fiery welcome to the visitors, I think the home side will win this game comfortably, most likely by a 2-0 or 3-1 scoreline.

Group E

  • AEK Athens
  • Bayern Munich
  • Benfica
  • Ajax Amsterdam

Week One Matches

  • Ajax v AEK Athens – Home Win (2/5)

Both these teams will be the underdogs to qualify from this group, so a win here for either would be a huge boost to their chances. Ajax have started well in the Dutch League, conceding just one goal and picking up 13 points from their five games. AEK are also flying in Greece, but I think they lack the quality of the Dutch side and away from home, I think they’ll struggle. I feel this will be a nervy encounter perhaps decided by just a single goal in favour of the home team.

  • Benfica v Bayern Munich – Away Win (1/2)

For me, Bayern Munich should run away with this group and I would not be surprised if the German side won all six of their games. Benfica are improving, but they are not the force they once were in European football and with Bayern making their customary perfect start to the season in Germany, I am backing them to get the win here by a 2-0 scoreline.

Group F

  • Man City
  • Shakhtar Donetsk
  • Lyon
  • Hoffenheim

Week One Matches

  • Man City v Lyon – Home Win (2/11)

City are the bookies favourites to win this trophy this season and Pep Guardiola’s team should not find their opening fixture at home to Lyon too onerous a task. Lyon have some talented players, notably in attack, but they have looked a little below par so far this season scoring just six goals and conceding four in their five games that has seen them amass two wins, a draw and two defeats thus far. City are a far stronger team than Lyon and I think they’ll win this one easily by a 4-1 scoreline.

  • Shakhtar Donetsk v Hoffenheim – Home Win (Evens)

Hoffenheim almost made it into the Champions League last season but were defeated at the final qualifying stage by Liverpool. The Germans did make it this time around but now face a tough trip to the Ukraine in their opener. Shakhtar away is a very tough place to go and get a result, especially for an inexperienced team and I am backing Donetsk to win here 2-0.

Group G

  • Real Madrid
  • AS Roma
  • CSKA Moscow
  • Viktoria Plzen

Week One Matches

  • Real Madrid v AS Roma – Home Win (4/11)

Can Real Madrid make it four Champions League wins in a row? It looks a tough task for the team minus the departed Cristiano Ronaldo, but this is a squad still packed with talent and who are more than good enough to get a good result at home to an AS Roma side that is not quite as strong as the team that made the semifinals last season. Real to win this one 3-1.

  • Viktoria Plzen v CSKA Moscow – Draw (9/4)

This isn’t the most glamorous Champions League tie but it is an interesting one. CSKA Moscow have the experience in this competition and have the better quality players, but Plzen produced some fine displays in the Europa League last season and won the Czech title to have a shot in the Champions League and I can see them getting off to a creditable start by earning a draw, perhaps by a 0-0 scoreline.

Group H

  • Man Utd
  • Valencia
  • Juventus
  • Young Boys

Week One Matches

  • Young Boys v Man Utd – Away Win (7/10)

Manchester United could make it three away wins on the bounce with a victory here against a Young Boys side who have won all of their opening league games in the Swiss League. However it is fair to say they will not have faced a team of the calibre of United so far. As such, I expect United to stifle their opponents and hit on the counter to secure a 2-0 victory.

  • Valencia v Juventus – Away Win (17/20)

Cristiano Ronaldo returns to Spain for the first time since his move from Real Madrid in the summer and after two goals at the weekend opened his account for Juventus, he’ll be looking for me against a Valencia side badly out of sorts in La Liga so far this season. I think Juventus have a real chance of glory in this tournament this season and I am backing them to win here by a 3-1 scoreline.