CL Group D Qualifying odds
Champions League 2019/2020: To Qualify from Group D?
Group D - Atletico Madrid, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Juventus, Lokomotiv Moscow
Group D sees Atletico Madrid take on Juventus in a rematch of last season’s stunning round-of-16 tie in which the Spaniards took a 2-0 lead to Turin only to be beaten 3-0 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, a sight which has become something of a Champions League institution over the years. Both teams have strengthened significantly this season, ensuring a fascinating struggle for top spot in this group.
Over the summer, Juventus brought in Merih Demiral, Danilo and - most sensationally – Matthias De Ligt, as well as the free signings of Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and returning club legend Gianluigi Buffon. The intent for Juve is clear: they want to win the Champions League. Cristiano Ronaldo was signed to do precisely this and, given the Portuguese’s age, the Old Lady have a limited window of opportunity if they are to do so. The Dutchman De Ligt is a brilliant signing, one which looks even better/more fortuitous in light of captain Giorgio Chiellini’s long term injury which he sustained during a recent training session. They were humbled by a magnificent Ajax side captained by their new centre-half and they will be hoping that in him they will find the perfect combination of vitality and defensive solidity that is instrumental in the culturing of a world-class centre-half. Of course, for Juve, there is the unpredictability factor about what effect new manager Maurzio Sarri will have. The former Napoli and Chelsea boss’s style is diametrically opposed to Juve’s motto: ‘winning isn’t important, it’s the only thing that counts’ – Sarri is known for being much more idealistic in his approach, it will be intriguing to see how this goes down with both Juve’s fan base and how it translates to the teams fortunes in the Champions League.
Atletico Madrid lost Rodri to Manchester City in the summer but more than made up for it with the additions of Kieran Trippier, Marcus Llorente and wonder-kid Joao Felix. The latter of these players in particular looks to be a sensational signing and, despite his mammoth transfer-fee of nearly £114million, he looks unphased by the pressures of football at the highest level, a factor which bodes well for Diego Simeone’s side in the Champions League. Atleti have had a superb start to the new season in La Liga, winning 3 out of 3, making them one of only a handful of teams to have a 100% record in Europe’s top five leagues, and the only one to achieve this feat in Spain.
As for the other two teams, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow will be hoping they can spring a shock and pip either Atletico or Juve to 2nd place spot in Group D. Leverkusen are the more likely candidates to do so. Under the stewardship of former Borussia Dortmund manager Peter Bosz, Leverkusen enjoyed a solid 2018/19 campaign in which they finished 4th in the Bundesliga. In European competition, however, they were less impressive. Although they breezed through the Europa League group stages, they were unable to progress past the round-of-32 in the knockout phases.
Lokomotiv Moscow are an outside bet to progress to the last 16; they finished in second place in the Russian Premier Liga and finished rock-bottom of their Champions League group which was arguably the worst in that year’s tournament. You’d guess therefore that group D is either a three or a two-horse race at the most.