Posted in Sports

Champions League midpoint review

Now at the halfway point, we take a look at how each group is shaping up

Lionel Messi put in arguably the performance of the tournament so far with three goals against Manchester City.
Lionel Messi put in arguably the performance of the tournament so far with three goals against Manchester City.
Image Credits: Ellen Leung (Flickr)

We’re three out of six games through this season’s Champions League, and as always the excitement has been present in every group. For the most part, the solid contenders have been doing their part, but there have been some outsiders who have risen to the occasion.

Group A looks done and dusted for the most part, with Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) tied on seven, and Basel and Ludogorets both six points behind. All that’s left to decide is whether the lads from London can take top spot, or a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-less PSG will win the group.

Group B has the only team with a Canadian player in the starting lineup, Besiktas. The player in question is Atiba Hutchinson, and he has helped his side reach second place in the group. But with Napoli and Benfica in the group as well, it will be a tall task to qualify for the next round.

Group C has had the most dominant team in the tournament by a mile with Barcelona, which has scored 13 goals and let in just one in three wins. The team’s most recent victory was a 4–0 thrashing of Manchester City, which is managed by one of Barcelona’s previous coaches, Pep Guardiola. Manchester City will have its work cut out for them just to get out of the group, as the team will most likely need at least a draw with German side Borussia Monchengladbach.

Atletico Madrid’s seen as a team with a rock-solid defence and an efficient offence, and the team is living up to that with three 1–0 wins in group D.
A tight win against Bayern Munich showed the team is once again one of the main contenders for the title.

The tightest and most even  is group E, with first and last place only separated by three points. This group has Tottenham, Monaco, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, and CSKA Moscow. With all of the games ending either in draws or one-goal wins, it’s anyone’s guess how the final standings will pan out.

Last year’s champion, Real Madrid, is in group F, along with Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon, and Legia Warsaw. Madrid and Dortmund are both on seven points and four points ahead of third place, so barring a shocking collapse they
should both be safe into the next round. Sporting Lisbon looks primed to take the Europa League spot. Legia Warsaw would definitely be happy with even just a single point in the next three games, considering the team’s last outing
in the Champions League was
21 years ago.

Group G has last year’s English Premier League Cinderella squad, Leicester City. Though Leicester’s league form has been a shadow of what the team showed the previous season, they’ve been very successful in the Champions League, with three wins out of three.  One more victory would send the team into the next round, and with the unpredictable nature of the knock phase, who knows how far it could go?

Group H is led by 2015 runner-up, Juventus, which is once again proving its defensive skill by not letting in a goal in three games. The team should qualify out, leaving a battle for second between Europa League champs Sevilla and Lyon.

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