CL Group F Qualifying odds
Champions League 2019/2020: To Qualify from Group F?
Group F - Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague
Did somebody say ‘group of death’? This was clearly running through the minds of the Slavia Prague delegates at the Champions League group stage draw ceremony when they found out they would be placed alongside Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan – comically, the club officials were seen laughing nervously as they found out their fate. If the Czech club were somehow to progress from Group F, it would be something of a modern-day miracle. Although Slavia won their league at a canter last year and had an excellent Europa League campaign in which they reached the quarter-finals against Chelsea before being eliminated, they will surely not have enough to overcome the elite opposition from Germany, Spain and Italy which they are set to face.
Barcelona are probably just about the favorites to claim top spot in the group. Despite winning La Liga and reaching the penultimate stage of the Champions League last season, however, La Masia fans were bitterly disappointed by the end result of their season. The circumstances of their European exit were hugely distressing as they were the victims of a stunning comeback for the second year running in the competition. They did win the league in Spain but in the face of almost no competition as Atletico and Real Madrid endured awful seasons by their own lofty standards. They reached the Copa Del Ray final too, only to be beaten by Valencia in the final. Their response has been to sign Antoine Griezman, a player they have been flirting with for a number of years, and Frenkie De Jong, the youngster who so impressed for Ajax during their barnstorming Champions League exploits last season. The main transfer target, Neymar, has been elusive, however. The mood in Catalonia, therefore, is still very much one of frustration; although on paper they are the best team in Group F, don’t be surprised if a few poor results kick start a European slide for Messi and company.
Although it’s a close call between Dortmund and Inter Milan, the Greman contingent are probably Ernesto Valverde’s team’s closest challengers. They slumped towards the end of last season, allowing Bayern Munich to snatch the league title from them after Dortmund had been ahead for most of the season. But despite this, Lucien Favre's team were among the best in Europe last year. Mats Hummels has returned to his spiritual home in Dortmund and they have brought in Thorgan Hazard and Julian Brandt too to boost their attacking options. The battle between Dortmund’s rock-and-roll style and Barcelona’s tiki-taka approach will prove a captivating battle, I’m sure.
Barca and Dortmund face stiff opposition from a resurgent Inter Milan under the new management of Antonio Conte. They have signed Alexi Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United in a bid to turn around their faltering careers, a feat which Ancelotti, given his track record, may well be able to achieve. The addition of Diego Godin, one of the world’s best defenders for almost a decade, cannot be underestimated, also. They face a tough battle with Juventus and Napoli in the league and an even tougher one in the Champions League – but, with Conte at the helm, they are in a good position to progress.