CL Group G Qualifying odds
Champions League 2019/2020: To Qualify from Group G?
Group G - Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig, Zenit St Petersburg
While there may be more challenging groups in this year's Champions League in terms of the talent on display, Group G is sure to be one of the most hotly contested. Starting off with Russian champions Zenit Saint Petersburg, they'll be confident they can claim one of the top two spots given their relatively strong start to the domestic season - they lie in second place in the Russian Premier League after eight games. Their squad boasts the like of Branislav Ivanovic, Aleksandr Kokorin and Yuri Zhirkov - they added mercurial Brazillian forward Malcolm from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee as well as fellow Brazillian Douglas Santos from Hamburger SV, again for an undisclosed fee, during the summer. Last season, as well as being triumphant in the league, they topped their Europa League group and made it as far as the last 16 where they were dumped out by Villarreal.
Zenit will face SL Benfica, champions of Portugal, in Group G. Of the four teams in the group, Benfica were the most successful last campaign; they were semi-finalists in Portugal's two cup competitions as well as quarter-finalists in the Europa League. Before this, they competed in the Champions League group stage where they earned an admirable seven points in a group containing Ajax and Bayern Munich. They have been hurt by the loss of starlet Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid in the summer, although it was inevitable. But Benfica used the vast sum they received for the young striker to strengthen in the forward Carlos Vinícius from Napoli and Raúl de Tomás from Real Madrid.
Olympique Lyonnais, the French challenger in Group G, were the most successful of the four teams in the group throughout the last campaign, in European competition at least. They reached the round-of-16 in the Champions League where they earned a creditable draw at home to Barcelona before ultimately being thrashed 5-1 in the second leg, although the scoreline mad ethe fixture look considerably more one-sided than it actually was. They, like Benfica, have been hurt by losses in the summer transfer window; three of their best players - Ferland Mendy, Tanguy Ndombele and Nabil Fekir - left the club for a combined total of almost £130million. They brought in Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Thiago Mendes and Joachim Andersen in response to this but their squad is surely still weaker than it was last campaign. There form at the start of the season somewhat reflects this, they've won two, drawn one and lost one in their opening four games.
RB Leipzig, one of the most hated clubs in Germany owing to the blatantly corporate nature and their sponsorship by the energy drink which makes up part of their name, are a team that seemingly improves exponentially year on year. They finished 3rd behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and finished as runner-up in Germany's premier cup competition, the DFB Pokal. The owners are beginning to see their ambitions come to fruition; Leipzig sit atop the table after three games and are the only team in the division with a 100% record - if they can continue this kind of form in their European campaign, they will be a force o be reckoned with in 2019/20.