UEFA Champions League Draw: Group G Analysis
Atlético Madrid, Porto and Zenit Saint Petersburg are all capable of not only qualifying, but topping this group. While they battle for the two qualification spots, poor lonely Austria Wien are expected to be sitting at the bottom of the table.
Favorites: Atlético Madrid
Atlético Madrid have been hugely impressive under coach Diego Simeone, qualifying for the Champions League by finishing third in La Liga last season. They lost star striker Falcao to Monaco earlier in the summer, though their capture of David Villa from Barcelona has gone some way to plugging the gap. Their best success in this competition came in 1973-74 when they were beaten finalists. While they aren't expected to fare so well this time around, they can certainly make it through the group.
Going Through: Porto
Portuguese domestic champions Porto won four of their six Champions League group games last season, eventually being eliminated by quarter-finalists Málaga in the first knockout round. They'll be hoping that the losses of James Rodríguez and João Moutinho to Monaco don't hit them too hard, and young coach Paulo Fonseca proves to be a good appointment.
Europa League Bound: Zenit
Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg were runners-up in their domestic league last season, and were unfortunate to be knocked out of the Champions League at the group stages. They finished just a point behind second-placed AC Milan in Group C, and were booted into the Europa League. In such a tough group they could suffer the same fate, though they're equally capable of making it through. This group is too tough to accurately call.
Dead Last: Austria Wien
Austrian champions Austria Wien are certainly going to finish bottom of this group, and will likely be pretty content to have just made it this far. Anything more would be a bonus.
Best Player: David Villa
Spanish forward David Villa isn't the player he once was, but that he was subject to such interest before making the move from Barcelona to Madrid this summer is indicative of how much he still has to offer. Regularly featuring in Vicente Del Bosque's Spain starting eleven, he should have a big impact at Atléti this season.
Emerging Star: Juanfer Quintero
Colombian playmaker Juanfer Quintero has starred at the last couple of international youth tournaments, joining Porto from relegated Serie A side Pescara this summer. Blessed with brilliant creativity and technical ability, he is one of the most exciting young talents around at the moment.
Must-Watch Game: Atlético Madrid vs. Porto
Pretty much every game involving the three favourites in this group is intriguing, though Atlético Madrid and Porto are arguably the two best teams involved -- and both should be pretty attractive to watch.
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