2022 Champions League Group stage preview

Manchester City has dominated the English Premier League, but when it comes to the Champions League, the Cityzens have told a different tale. Pep Guardiola’s team has fallen short on Europe’s biggest stage in recent years. But the Cityzens troubles in the UEFA Champions League started before Guardiola’s rival.

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Manchester United has never won a UCL title and has only reached the final once despite qualifying every year since the 2011-12 season.  Despite Manchester United’s struggles, they are tabbed as +250 favorites to win the UCL and -1250 to win Group G. But can the Cityzens find a way to finally climb to the top of Europe’s biggest stage?

Or will another team, like defending champion Real Madrid, extend their suffering for another year.

Manchester City has the makeup

The Cityzens have only gotten better since last season’s team that won the Premier League and reached the UCL semifinals. Norwegian Erling Haaland has been everything Manchester City could have hoped for as a scoring threat. In three league matches, he has already pocketed three goals.

Haaland showed during his time at Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga that he has the ability — and confidence — to score in UCL play. Man City is also off to a fast start in league play, scoring nine goals in their first nine EPL games. should the Cityzens generate anywhere close to that firepower in the UCL, they will be tough to beat.

Man City is in a Group G with Dortmund, Sevilla and FC Copenhagen.

Is Chelsea ripe for upset?

Chelsea, which is -286 to win Group E, is off to a rough start in the EPL. The Blues haven’t found a way to generate offense. Chelsea has only scored three goals in three games and was denied a victory due to a stoppage-time goal by Harry Kane that allowed Tottenham to steal points away.

There is growing concern about Thomas Tuchel and the anger issues he has been displaying with referees on the sidelines. Chelsea just can’t find its scoring touch. The Blues will be playing in Group E with AC Milan, Red Bull Salzburg and Dinamo Zagreb.

AC Milan, which is +300 to win the group and competes in Series A, is returning to the UCL for the first time in seven years.

Real Royalty

When it comes to defending UCL champions Real Madrid, no other European team can boast their record of success in the competition. Los Blancos have won the event 14 times, which is twice as many as AC Milan has. Since the UCL introduced the group stage in 1995, Real Madrid has never not advanced to the knockout stage.

Los Blancos are +900 to win the title and -670 to win Group F. Being apart of a group that includes RB Leipzig, Shakhtar Donetsk and Celtic shouldn’t provide Real with too many challenges in the group stage. Los Blancos will also benefit from having Karem Benzema back in the lineup. At last year’s competition, Benzema scored more goals than any other player.

Bundesliga Bonaza

When Robert Lewandowski left German power Bayern Munich for La Liga’s FC Barcelona, there was some thought there may be a transition period at Bayern. Not that Bayern wouldn’t win the league, but that they may take time to find scoring touch. What has happened in Bayern once again blowing away the Bundesliga competition.

In three games so far, Bayern has pocketed 15 goals and only conceded once. When it comes to the UCL, Bayern is +700 to win competition and -240 to win Group C.  Landing in Group C provided some irony for Bayern, which will have to face off against Lewandowski in group play.

Bayern was also put in a group with Inter and Viktoria Plzen.

Other Group favorites

Defending runner-up Liverpool (-500) is the favorite to win Group A. Athletico Madrid (-118) is the slight favorite to win Group B. Tottenham (-250) is the favorite to win Group D.