As Inter Milan and the likes of Valencia, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven continue to take stock of their performances since their return to the UEFA Champions League, the big question bothers mainly on how would the clubs fare at the end of hostilities?
In this report therefore, NAIJ.com looks at the clubs across the group with the pedigree to surprise all contenders and play in the final game at the Wanda Metropolitano come May 2019.
Below are contenders with the credentials to pull a surprise and reach the knockout rounds.
1. Borussia Dortmund
Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund currently lead Atlético Madrid on goals advantage despite both team rooted on 6 points at the top of Group A log after matchday 2.
Interestingly, with two rounds of games to go before the knockout rounds, Dortmund are looking charged up to beat the Europa League champions to the second spot.
Indeed, it will be a huge surprise if Borussia Dortmund beat Atletico Madrid and Monaco to the top at the end of hostilities.
Italian topflight campaigners Napoli are one of the big surprises after matchday 2 of the UEFA Champions League 2018/19.
With four group fixtures to go in Group C, Napoli is looking good to beat Liverpool and PSG to the top spot, a performance that will see the Reds and the French Ligue 1 giants’ battle to finish second and avoid playing in the Europa League football.
3. Inter Milan
Despite Barcelona’s decent show in Group B, the surprising team is former champions, Inter Milan. Currently placed second with 6 points same as the Nou Camp dwellers, expect the Nerrazurri’s to continue their top-of-the-table performances in their remaining Group matches.
Although they are not on top of the Italian topflight, the Luciano Spalletti tutored-side looks more businesslike since their return to Champions League football.
To a large extent, the San Siro outfit holds the key that will determine the final placement of clubs in the group.
Expect Tottenham to end up fighting to join the likes of Chelsea and AC Milan in the less glamorous Europa League.
4. CSKA Moscow
Surprise Group G leaders CSKA Moscow are one of the regular teams in the UEFA Champions league. And after defeating defending champions Real Madrid 1-0 in the second round of matches, CSKA have now showed they are battle ready to go all the way.
However, with 4 points from two games, the Moscow-based side must be at their best, to see off challenges from Los Blancos and last year’s semifinalist Roma, who are both on 3 points with two matches to go.
5. Olympique Lyonnais
Lyon with 4 points from two matches lead Group F log and have shown they are more businesslike in their approach to games more than their group foes.
The French Ligue 1 campaigners defeated Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the opening games despite playing away from home.
Although, Lyon could only manage a draw against third-placed Shakhtar Donetsk in their second game at home, expect the French representatives to pick one of the two top spots after the group matches.
However, the trio of Galatasaray, Benfica and Hoffenheim have outside chance to surprise their group opponents despite turning out mixed results from their opening two matches in Group D, E and F. Time will definitely tell.
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