Barcelona came up short last year getting ousted by Atletico Madrid, so they decided to spend money this summer once again. Barca comes in as one of the major contenders to claim the Champions League title and with the firepower they have, it is hard to bet against them. If MSN can click like they did last year, it will be very difficult to stop them. The acquisition of Umtiti and Digne has given Barcelona much needed depth at the back, which they lacked last year, in my opinion. The midfield has also gotten better with the signing of Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes. Keep an eye on the goalkeeping situation, as Claudio Bravo has departed for Manchester City and ter Stegen takes over as the number one.
Manchester City has also gone in rebuild mode, if you want to call it that, by adding even more weapons to their already dangerous lineup. Sterling has been exceptional under Pep’s guidance, Kolarov has fit in very well at centre-back and the other new acquisitions have played very well up to this point. If Sergio Aguero can avoid injuries, City has a chance at claiming the top spot in this group. The play of Stones and Kolarov (potentially Kompany) will play a huge part when Barcelona and Manchester City meet. You would think that former Barcelona manger, Pep Guardiola, would know exactly how to play against his former club.
If Monchengladbach was in any other group, you would think that they had a decent chance of going through, but I highly doubt that will happen here. There is still plenty of talent on this team, as they showed last year, when they beat and tied a very good Bayern Munich side in league play. Raffael is a dangerous player up top for Borussia, plus they have Thorgan Hazard, who has come into his own since joining the side two years ago. Christoph Kramer is also developing into a quality player, who can shut down the opposition on any given day.
Celtic had trouble getting to the group stage of Champions League after they were also eliminated by Israeli side Hapoel Beer-Sheva, so you can imagine the problems they will have facing the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City with their high octane offenses. If there are two players you should keep an eye on in this Celtic team, it is youngsters Patrick Roberts (Manchester City loanee) and Moussa Dembele. Celtic must make good on the chances they get because they could be far and few between.
Barcelona and Manchester City should fight for top spot, while Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic will fight for third and the “honour” to play in the Europa League later on.
Ogi is a graduate of Humber College’s Sport Management program. He is the founder of Blago Blogger Sports.