“Society” Zakharyan or the star “Galatasaray”? From which of the 13 clubs can we expect a sensation in the Champions League?
Nikita Paglazov September 19, 2023, 12:00 Moscow time
The giveaway featured several intriguing stories.
The group stage of the Champions League begins on Tuesday, September 19. Finally! Several interesting teams will participate in the next draw. Some of them participate in the Champions League for the first time, while others rarely make it to the tournament, but are ready to surprise. We have collected all the “dark horses”. Which of these clubs will make a splash in the 2023/2024 Champions League?
Who do analysts see as the winner of the Champions League?
Real Madrid is not even among the three favorites of the Champions League! Analysts evaluated the teams’ chances of winning the tournament
To select, use the ▼▲ arrows and write in the comments which club is prepared to surprise the most.
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Rating: which team will become the main sensation of the 2023/2024 Champions League?
Photo: Boris Streubel/Getty Images
Cluster: Real Madrid, Naples, Braga Last participation: debutsCoach: Urs Fischer Main star: Leonardo Bonucci
“Unión” debuts in the Champions League. The modest German club surprised everyone last season by getting into the top four of the Bundesliga. Now the Berliners have grown stronger and are ready to fight. The main sensation was the signing of Leonardo Bonucci. Unión was good in defense before and now it is prepared to stop Real, Napoli and Braga. Yes, on paper the Germans are far from favorites. Real are unlikely to fail and Napoli, although Spalletti is already in trouble, have no intention of making a splash. But Unión is used to surprising.
Photo: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
Real Sociedad, Spain
Cluster: Benfica, Inter, Red Bull Salzburg Last participation: season 2013/2014 Coach: Imanol Alguacil Main star: Takefusa Kubo
The company returned to the Champions League after 10 years. One of the most pressing teams in Europe is ready to achieve. The Basques have put together a good gang along with Russian midfielder Arsen Zakharyan. The group is quite passable. Would anyone be surprised if Real Madrid beat Benfica or Salzburg?
Photo: Ahmad Mora/Getty Images
Cluster: Copenhagen, Bayern Munich, Manchester United Last participation: season 2019/2020 Coach: Okan Buruk Main star: MauroIcardi
Galatasaray won the 2022/2023 Turkish Championship and advanced to the group stage of the Champions League through qualification. The team faced serious rivals such as Manchester United and Bayern. But United are going through difficult times at the moment. And Galatasaray has assembled a powerful gang, whose main stars are Mauro Icardi, Dries Mertens, Wilfried Zaha, Lucas Torreira and Angelino. Serious composition. The Istanbul club is ready to make noise!
Photo: René Nijhuis/Getty Images
Cluster: Seville, Arsenal, Lens Last participation: season 2018/2019 Coach: Pedro Bosch Main star: luc de jong
PSV returned to the Champions League for the first time since the 2018/2019 season. Last season the Eindhoven team finished second in the championship. And to reach the group stage, we were selected through qualification. PSV, led by Peter Bosz, is ready to fight. In the group, the Dutch met Sevilla, Arsenal and Lens. The goal of reaching the playoffs is real. Considering that Dutch clubs like to play offensively, these opponents are convenient for PSV. It is important to have a good start in the game against Arsenal. If it works, the Netherlands will get closer to the round of 16. After all, the other rivals are much simpler: ailing Sevilla, who have only one win in three rounds of La Liga, and Lens, who had a terrible start in France. “Seville”, by the way, does not need second place at all; It is better to take third place and calmly win the Europa League.
Photo: Kenta Harada/Getty Images
Cluster: Feyenoord, Atlético de Madrid, Lazio Last participation: season 2022/2023 Coach: Brendan Rodgers Main star: Kyogo Furuhashi
Celtic has not participated in the Champions League play-offs since 2013. The best Scottish team frequently participates in the Champions League, but somehow was not successful. Although the draw gave the possibility of reaching the playoffs in the current draw. Feyenoord, Atlético de Madrid and Lazio are not the most terrifying company. Furthermore, things are not going well for Lazio at the moment. Brendan Rodgers’ team is capable of reaching the top 2 and advancing to the round of 16.
Photo: Hans Peter Lotermoser/Getty Images
Red Bull Salzburg, Austria
Cluster: Benfica, Inter, Real Sociedad Last participation: season 2022/2023 Coach: Gerhard Struber Main star: Karim Konate
In recent years, Salzburg frequently participates in the Champions League. From time to time, the “bulls” make noise: in the 2021/2022 season they reached the round of 16. Systematic work has already turned the Austrians into a strong European club. And the main feature is the pipeline for the development and sale of young talents. “RB” does not care about the opponent’s status, he is only interested in his own game. So why should they be afraid of Inter or Benfica? Salzburg could very well reach the playoffs and spring a surprise. If first place seems to be reserved for Inter, then there is definitely a fight for Benfica and Real Sociedad.
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Cluster: Atlético de Madrid, Lazio, Celta Last participation: season 2017/2018 Coach: Arne Slot Main star: Santiago Jimenez
Feyenoord won the 2022/2023 Dutch Championship. There is a new challenge ahead in the form of a Champions League group. The Rotterdam team finished in the first basket of the draw, which increased their chances of qualifying for the playoffs. Although Feyenoord still had a difficult group. But it’s working. The Dutch could reach the round of 16. Atlético is the favorite, but Lazio has big problems. Coach Arne Slot is a desirable candidate for top clubs. The specialist can now demonstrate his strength in the Champions League. And the Feyenoord squad is great. There are plenty of chances to make some noise.
Photo: Joan Cros/Getty Images
Cluster: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Last participation: season 2021/2022 Coach: Raphael Wiki Main star: Philip Ugrinich
In the 2022/2023 season, Young Boys won the 16th gold in the Swiss championship in its history. But the team is not successful in the Champions League. The best achievement in recent years in Europe is the round of 16 of the Europa League in 2021. However, now Young Boys’ situation is identical to that of Red Star: they need to score points with Leipzig and get 6 out of 6 with the serbs.
Every season, a couple of sensational teams appear in the tournament. Why can’t the Young Boys be like this this time?
Photo: Lars Ronbog/Getty Images
Cluster: Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Galatasaray Last participation: season 2022/2023 Coach: Jacob Neestrup Main star: Diogo Gonçalves
The last time Copenhagen achieved success in the Champions League was 12 years ago. In the 2010/2011 season we reached the group playoffs with Rubin. Then – darkness. Even if a team qualified for the Champions League, they were invariably eliminated after the group stage. The situation in the next campaign is difficult. The Danes got Manchester United, Bayern and Galatasaray. It is possible to face the Turkish giant; On paper, he is the easiest rival. But if they want to leave the group, a lot will depend on Manchester United and their emergence from the crisis at the beginning of the season.
Photo: José Manuel Álvarez/Getty Images
Cluster: Real Madrid, Naples, Union Last participation: season 2012/2013 Coach: Arturo Georges Main star: ricardo horta
Another rare participant in the group stage of the Champions League. Braga got there after two rounds of qualification. The most difficult games are yet to come. But Portuguese clubs are used to intense football. And you won’t be able to scare them with big names. Then Braga can ruin the mood of the favorites. And when you have fighters as experienced as José Fonte in your lineup, it’s unlikely anyone on the team will get nervous. And if the competitors get nervous, there will be a couple of possibilities. In a group it happens that there are enough.
Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
Red Star, Serbia
Cluster: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, youngsters Last participation: season 2019/2020 Coach: Barak Bahar Main star: Jean-Philippe Crasso
“Crvena Zvezda” is the winner of the KEC-1990/1991. But in recent decades, the Serbian giant has not represented a formidable force at the European level. Two group stages are the best achievement of the 21st century. And now Zvezda has a relatively passable group. Yes, there is City and there is RB Leipzig, which has changed powerfully. We have to score points with the German club at home and then we can talk about more.
Photo: Sébastien Smets/Getty Images
Cluster: Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Last participation: debutsCoach: Mark van Bommel Main star: Vincent Janssen
Newcomer to the Champions League. Last season, Antwerp won the Belgian championship for the first time in 65 years. The first participation in the Champions League is approaching. The Belgian league constantly produces talented players. And the champion is full of great soccer players! Although the group had a lot of experience. “Barcelona”, “Porto”, “Shakhtar”: on paper, the Belgian club is clearly an outsider. But a couple of things: firstly, there are also experienced players in the squad: Vincent Janssen and Toby Alderweireld. Secondly, in the Champions League there was almost always room for a fairy tale. “Last year, another Belgian team, Brugge, had a fairy tale (they left the group with Porto and Atlético). So if you choose the most fairy tale story, maybe it should be in this group. By the way, as part of Antwerp”. There are Chidera Ejuke and Girano Kerk, which we know well.
Photo: Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images
Cluster: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Last participation: season 2002/2003 Coach: Frank Eze Main star: Brice Samba
Another member of Group B that may surprise. Lens unexpectedly took second place in the French championship last year and qualified directly for the Champions League. In the summer the Club lost two stars: Seko Fofana and Lua Openda. And the start of the new season in the Championship did not go well: one point in five rounds and the last, 20th place. But Lance must get in shape. There are chances that the French will cause a surprise in the Champions League. That opportunity may not come for a long time. And there were quite a few cases when everything was bad in the Championship, but normal in the European tournament. It is enough to remember Lens’ group rival, Sevilla, last season. The group is not too difficult, if things do not go well for the competitors, the French club is very capable of even abandoning it.
Enjoying the old Champions League format for the last time
The last group stage of the Champions League in history awaits us. Then the tournament will change a lot.