Coral’s compilation of Champions League 2015/16 profiles
Coral football experts whiled away the international break looking at the 32 Champions League teams we’ll be seeing in action during the group stage of Europe’s elite club competition.
On the eve of kick-off in the pool openers, punters and football fans can find all the information they need, to make informed betting decisions, and increase your knowledge to impress friends and stimulate pub and coffee break debate!
Simply click through the links in this article on a team of interest to find out more about their players, coach and Champions League chances.
European heavyweights Real Madrid head this pool and are 10-time winners of the richest prize in club football. PSG, meanwhile, are looking to better their status as perennial quarter-final qualifiers, and the Brazilian influence on Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk remains strong. How will Celtic’s conquerors Malmo fare among this elite opposition?
Manchester United represent the first Premier League interest on offer in this term’s Champions League. Dutch Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven, where the Red Devils purchased Memphis Depay from, are back on top after years of domestic dominance from Ajax, though.
Bundesliga runners-up Wolfsburg also return to Europe’s elite stage after DFB Pokal success and, last in this pool, nobody will relish the hostile environment generated by supporters of Russian mainstays CSKA Moscow.
Diego Simeone has remodelled his strikeforce at 2014 runners-up Atletico Madrid, and the Spanish capital club will have to tackle Portuguese counterparts and champions Benfica. Turkish titans Galatasaray ensure this pool will not be plain sailing for the Iberian pair, however, and many expect Kazakhstan side Astana to be whipping boys on their Champions League debut.
All eyes will be watching to see if Manchester City can reproduce their terrific early Premier League season form in this pool. The Etihad outfit’s sensational start contrasts sharply with Bundesliga boys Borussia Monchengladbach.
Reigning European champions Barcelona are looking to become the first team to retain the Champions League since the competition was rebranded in 1992. Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will have bad memories of Lionel Messi terrorising them previously. Serie A runners-up Roma come again to the top table, while Belarus big boys BATE Borisov look likely to take the wooden spoon.
Arsenal will be looking to see if Arsene Wenger’s double FA Cup winning formula can translate to Europe, and get them past the last 16. The Gunners’ main group threat undoubtedly comes from 2013 winners Bayern Munich, who sold Bastian Schweinsteiger this summer.
Given how the Premier League campaign has commenced for champions Chelsea, continental football could well prove a much-needed escape from domestic disharmony.
Blues boss Jose Mourinho will come up against former club Porto in this pool, but there are also lengthy trips to far-flung corners of UEFA’s dominion. Dynamo Kiev represent one such hostile destination, while Israeli outfit Maccabi Tel Aviv is the other.
Mestalla men Valencia make their Champions League return with a new philosophy of procuring and promoting young talent. Lyon is also something of a hotbed for youngsters, thus making this pool particularly interesting for the connoisseurs.