Predicting Each La Liga Club's Chances in the Champions League
The draw for the Champions League group stage has been completed and now all eyes will turn to the plethora of intense matchups. But just how will Spanish clubs fare in this year’s European competition?
Real Madrid and Barcelona will again be strong favorites to make it to the final. Atletico Madrid could possibly upset a few giants along the way. And Basque club Real Sociedad will look to keep proving the critics wrong.
In the coming months we will see just what these La Liga clubs are made of, but for now let’s do a little predicting, shall we?
Continue reading to find out my predictions of how each of these Spanish clubs will fare in this year’s Champions League.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Manchester United (ENG)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Real Sociedad (ESP)
Real Sociedad made it to the Champions League draw by defeating French giants Olympique Lyon twice by a score of 2-0. The Basques booked their place in the European competition with impressive play, but the run isn’t over yet.
Manchester United is clearly the toughest opponent that La Real will face in their group, but could possible take points off of the English side at Anoeta.
When looking at the other competitors, the Basques match up quite evenly and could even be favorites. La Real boasts arguably the best defense in Spain while also having a deadly strike force lead by Carlos Vela and Antoine Griezmann.
Looking at the group, it is already understood that Manchester United will likely take first. But after that it is all up in the air.
I predict that Real Sociedad will be able to get the best of their other opponents while also pulling off a draw at home against United that will see the Basques finish second in Group A.
Looking past the group stage, things will get more difficult. Though I believe the Basque side will make it out of the group stage I really don’t think they will go any further. But they will put up a fight.
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Atletico Madrid (ESP)
Austria Wien (AUT)
Atletico Madrid earned their place in the group stage by finish third in La Liga last season while testing both Barcelona and Real Madrid on the way. They have proven that they aren’t a pushover.
Some will claim that Porto is the likely favorites of Group G, with Atletico Madrid and Zenit fighting for second. However, that shouldn’t be the case.
Over the last year Atletico has beaten Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey and recently taken Barcelona down to the wire in the Spanish Supercopa to show they are true competitors. The Madrid-based club is an embodiment of manager Diego Simeone and will leave it all on the pitch.
With Atletico putting up a strong fight in every match and always refusing to be beaten, I predict that they will compete with Porto for the top spot.
It won’t be an issue of who is fighting for second; rather it will be these two times battling it out for first. And I may shock some people here, but I peg Atletico Madrid to finish ahead of Porto to win the group.
Looking past the group stage Atletico Madrid has enough to continue their successful run. They will likely make it to the round of eight, but will then come up against too stiff a competition unless they are able to get a favorite draw.
David Ramos/Getty Images
AC Milan (ITA)
Barcelona sealed their place in the Champions League by winning last season’s La Liga title. After a disappointing exit from last year’s competition, La Blaugrana will be looking for revenge.
On paper Barcelona comes out the clear favorite to win the group, but it won’t be that easy.
For the last few seasons La Blaugrana has met AC Milan in the group stages, and the matches are always very difficult. With Mario Balotelli now at the Italian club, things could be even more difficult for Barcelona.
Ajax and Celtic will also prove difficult opponents. The Dutch side has a knack for making things hard for any team, while Celtic proved last year that they are capable of beating Barcelona when they won 2-1 in Scotland.
This group will not do Barcelona any favors. They have tough competition all around, but their class should still give them enough to come out on top of the group.
I predict that La Blaugrana will in fact win Group H, but they will do so by just one point.
Looking ahead it is easy to claim that the Catalans will have a deep run in the Champions League again this season. But with defensive issues still a problem, they will most likely bow out in the semifinals.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Real Madrid (ESP)
Real Madrid finished second in La Liga last season to book their place in the Champions League and will now be yet again looking to take home the fabled La Decima.
The argument can be made that Real Madrid is in one of the toughest groups in the Champions League. Juventus has the ability to topple the Spanish giants, while Galatasaray gave them quite a challenge last season.
Los Blancos will be favorites along with Juventus to win the group, and it is pretty clear that these two clubs will be the ones going through. But that doesn’t mean that the other two sides will just let that happen without a fight.
Playing Galatasaray in Turkey is a difficult job for any club, and Copenhagen will be fighting for their lives to try to mount an upset.
All in all, I do believe that Real Madrid will make it out of Group B. However, I do not think that the Spanish giants will win the group as I peg Juventus to come out on top just barely.
The group stage will not be the biggest focus for Real Madrid. Their eyes lay elsewhere. Their goal is the final and coveted La Decima.
I predict that Real Madrid will make it to the Champions League final due to the changes made by manager Carlo Ancelotti. But I am not willing to claim that they will be the ones lifting the trophy.
How do you see each Spanish club doing in the Champions League? Can a side from La Liga win the tournament? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on all things Spanish football.