UEFA Champions League draw: Group D analysis
For a little while it looked as though Group D had the potential to be an absolute barnburner, but thanks to very weak draws from Pots 2 and 4 it's looking far less scary. That said, there's still the potential for a lot of fun with the games between the group's two powerhouses: defending champions Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Favourites: Bayern Munich
Last year, Chelsea became the first side to exit the Champions League in the group stages while holding the trophy. Bayern will be desperately hoping to avoid that fate. Despite a rough transition to life under Pep Guardiola, however, the Germans should be fine -- the games against Manchester City will be tough but winnable (they've met before, remember?), and as long as there are no major slip ups against CSKA, qualification will not be in doubt.
Blog: Bavarian Football Works
Going through: Manchester City
Blog: Bitter and Blue
Europa League bound: CSKA Moscow
CSKA Moscow are certainly one of the weaker Pot 2 teams, and they needed a friendly draw to make it out of groups. They didn't get it -- both Manchester City and Bayern Munich comfortably outclass the Russian Premier League outfit.
Dead last: Viktoria Plzen
Best player: Bastian Schweinsteiger
One of the top midfielders in world football, Schweinsteiger was the fulcrum on which Bayern Munich's triple-winning side played. He can do just about everything you'd want in a central player: defend, control the game, push forward, score. If he's on, Bayern's opponents don't have much hope.
Emerging star: Toni Kroos
Injured towards the end of last season's campaign, Kroos wasn't able to make his mark on the late stages of Bayern's triumphant Champions League win. So now he gets to try again from the start. A brilliant, hard-working attacking midfielder, Kroos combines creativity with tactical discipline in a way that few young players can match.
Must-watch game: Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich
This is the sort of clash that you absolutely cannot miss, especially if one of these teams needs all three points from a match. Two of Europe's best going up against each other? Yes please.
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