Part one of the post Preview Uefa Champions League 2012/2013
Valencia has fallen right into a financial ruin that is so severe that they now sell players to Swansea City. The battle is between Bayern and Valencia. Bayern Munich will win the group, and BATE Borisov can at best hope to pinch a few points at home when the autumn nights in Minsk get pinching cold.
Advancement: Bayern Munich and Valencia.
Last year, there was a documentary about Sjaktar Donetsk and their rise. It was entitled “The Other Chelsea”. Roman Abramovich has spent some time in Donetsk in recent years, and seem to thrive well in the clan that surrounds Sjaktar-boss Rinat Akhmetov. Yet it is of course the return of Juventus to the Champions League that is this group’s big story. Although it is too early to tell how they are affected by the shutdown to hit head coach Antonio Conte. The distance between Chelsea, Juventus and Sjaktar is so small that all the teams can take points from each other, and although I believe in the first two, I am certainly not prepared to write off Sjaktar.
Advancement: Chelsea and Juventus
Well, Spartak Moscow will probably not be satisfied with the recruitment of Kim Källström, but there must be something extraordinary if they are to upset Benfica. The Portuguese have the for once escaped having their best players acquired during the summer and they still have the same strong frame that took them to the quarter-finals of this tournament last spring. They are to be reckoned with.
Advancement: Barcelona and Benfica.
Galatasaray away is certainly strong negative associations for the red – “Welcome To Hell”, version 2.0 – but beyond that it’s hard to see them losing many points. Behind Man United, however, the group is wide open, and although Galatasaray have their home support , I’m not ready to count off a moody Cluj.
Advancement: Manchester United and Cluj.