GROUP A Standings
Villarreal is all but out, despite having two games at home, while, with the way Bayern Munich are playing, they are a lock to make the next stage, even in this tough group.
Manchester City have a killer schedule, with two games away, before hosting Bayern. They are likely to play for the draw at Napoli, which means it will all come down to the final Matchday. Meanwhile, Manchester City’s attention turns to the small matter of a Manchester derby.
Prediction: Bayern Munich, Napoli, Manchester City, Villarreal
GROUP B Standings
Despite Inter’s horror show against Trabzonspor, they are comfortably leading this group, because the other teams are knocking each other out. CSKA Moscow appear to be their biggest challengers, but Inter should already have clinched advancement by the time they meet.
What happened to the Lille of last year? They are still in the race for 2nd, but might not be for long. They play Inter next, while CSKA get Trabzonspor, before Lille have to travel to Russia. Then again, Inter just lost to Catania, while Trabzonspor is a tough team to travel to.
Prediction: Inter, CSKA Moscow, Trabzonspor, Lille
GROUP C Standings
A three way race, with Otelul Galati out. Basel is the most likely to get upset by Otelul, at home and looking for their first CL win, while the glamour tie is undoubtedly Benfica’s excellent offense visiting Old Trafford.
Prediction: Manchester United, Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati
GROUP D Standings
Real Madrid firmly in control. It looks like three unimportant matches and Lyon-Ajax, although Lyon-Real Madrid could be interesting too, given Real’s recent struggles with Lyon. The French team should advance, with both key games at the Stade de Gerland.
Prediction: Real Madrid, Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb
GROUP E Standings
Valencia isn’t as far behind Leverkusen as the standings make it look. They host the German side on November 1st, followed by a relatively easy game vs. Genk, who looked terrible yesterday against Chelsea. In Valencia’s last game, they visit Chelsea, who will probably have nothing to play for.
Prediction: Chelsea, Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, Genk
GROUP F Standings
Arsenal and Marseille, two struggling clubs, handed a blessing. The storyline will continue to be Dortmund’s learning curve.
Prediction: Arsenal, Marseille, Borussia Dortmund, Olympiakos
GROUP G Standings
Anything could happen in the tightest group in the competition:
The 2-2 draw between Shakhtar and Zenit was expected to be very defensive, and both teams should drop back in the return. A draw would put Shakhtar in a precarious position. They will be counting on facing a poor Porto team.
Porto lost 3-1 in their first trip to eastern Europe, and the second one, at Shakhtar, should be no different, meaning a lot rides on the APOEL-Porto game on November 1st.
On the last Matchday, Zenit and Shakhtar Donetsk would be favored at a neutral site, but both teams are away.
Alternatively, Porto could find their form from last year, and run away with the group.
Either way, it goes well for the astonishing underdogs from Cyprus, APOEL Nicosia, who would be very well place with a draw at Zenit.
Prediction: Zenit St. Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, APOEL Nicosia, Porto
GROUP H Standings
Barcelona and Milan each get two more cake-walks. The only questions left: Who wins the group, and who finishes third, thus advancing to the Europa League. It will all be decided on November 23rd.
Prediction: Barcelona, AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen