Champions League

What is a potential Group of Death in this season's Champions League?

The draw for the group stage takes place this Thursday, and we could be in for some cracking fixtures if the draw works out

 
10:34am on Thursday 1st October 2020
By
Martin Macdonald

In each Champions League season there is the fabled 'Group of Death', as three or four elite sides are drawn against each other in the first round.

There was no doubt as to what it was last season: Group F, which featured Barcelona, Dortmund, and Inter.

Poor old Slavia Prague, who actually acquitted themselves impressively despite being up against established rivals, still only managed to record two points.

Barcelona went through as group winners with 12 points, with Dortmund qualifying in second with 10. Inter dropped down into the Europa League.

2020/21 Champions League draw

The pots for the 2020/21 Champions League group stage are as follows:

Pot 1

Bayern (GER, UEFA Champions League holders)

Sevilla (ESP, UEFA Europa League holders)

Real Madrid (ESP)

Liverpool (ENG)

Juventus (ITA)

PSG (FRA)

Zenit (RUS)

Porto (POR)

Pot 2

Barcelona (ESP)

Aletico Madrid (ESP)

Manchester City (ENG)

Manchester United (ENG)

Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

Dortmund (GER)

Chelsea (ENG)

Ajax (NED)

Pot 3

Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)

Salzburg (AUT)

RB Leipzig (GER)

Inter (ITA)

Olympiacos (GRE)*

Lazio (ITA)

Krasnodar (RUS)*

Atalanta (ITA)

Pot 4

Lokomotiv Moscow (RUS)

Marseille (FRA)

Club Brugge (BEL)

Borussia Monchengladbach (GER)

İstanbul Basaksehir (TUR)

Midtjylland (DEN)*

Rennes (FRA)

Ferencváros (HUN)*

*Qualified via play-offs

New Champions League ball. Credit: Adidas

20/21 Potential Champions League Group of Death

Our FC Form Rating rates teams and players based on their recent performances, so we'll use that to determine the most 'in-form' Group of Death.

Pot 1 - Bayern - 99 FC Rating

Bayern will be the team to beat in the Champions League this season after sweeping away all before them in the 2019/20 campaign. They won the treble which consisted of the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal, and of course, the Champions League itself after defeating PSG in the final.

They may have been the victim of a surprise defeat at the weekend in the league, but they followed that up with a hard-fought Super Cup win over Dortmund on Wednesday. Sparkling or not, this is a team who just knows how to win.

Thiago's departure to Liverpool will be a big loss, however they have strengthened their forward line with the acquisition of Leroy Sane from Man City.

The attacking quarter of Sane, Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller will strike fear into pretty much any defence in Europe.

Pot 2 - Man City - 99 FC Rating

Man City just cannot seem to get things right in the Champions League. Last season, they were knocked out at the quarter-final stage by Lyon, while they surrendered their Premier League title to Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola will be given another crack at the Champions League which has became the holy grail for City's owners. Should he fail again, could he really be sacked?

They have spent big in the summer transfer window again, signing Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres, and, most recently, Ruben Dias from Benfica. Defensive issues continue to chip away at their impressive attacking play, but the new-look backline could finally be the one to solidify things.

Pot 3 - Atalanta - 88 FC Rating

Atalanta remain one of the most entertaining teams to watch in all of Europe.

Just this week they defeated Lazio 4-1 in Rome and prior to that they beat Torino 4-2. Eight goals in two games so far in Serie A highlights just how good they are going forward.

One issue which could present itself is that they are not longer an unknown quantity in the Champions League. They may have lost their opening three matches last year, but they recovered superbly to still qualify for the last-16 when they subsequently knocked out Valencia.

They were also desperately unlucky not to make the semi-finals in 2019/20 as PSG had to rely on two injury time goals to progress after Atalanta had led for the majority of the match. Anyone who plays them this year will be fully aware of their qualities.

Pot 4 - Marseille - 80 FC Rating

The final pot in this season's Champions League draw has a weak look to it, with minnows Ferencvaros and Midtjylland qualifying via the playoffs this week. Gladbach are probably the team most would want to avoid, but in terms of FC Rating they are just pipped by Marseille.

Andre Villas-Boas' side would likely fare much better in the group stage if they had the huge noise of the Stade Velodrome available, but with games played behind closed doors they'll miss the backing of the OM faithful.

Champions League Group of Death (Option 2)

Pot 1 - Liverpool

Pot 2 - Dortmund

Pot 3 - Inter

Pot 4 - Lokomotiv Moscow

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