5 surprises to watch for in the Champions League group stage

By William Rodriguez Ayala

The Champions league is filled with Europe’s best clubs but there are also teams capable of surprising. Three matches into the group stage, there are also teams capable of surprising. 

Here are five teams that I believe won’t be the free wins many fans expect in the opening round.

Sheriff FC

Sheriff fC is not known by a lot of people in the soccer world, the team is located in Tiraspol, Moldova. Sheriff is actually the first ever Moldovan team to be in the Champions league.  They surprised everybody by beating Real Madrid and Shakhtar in the group stage. Sheriff is currently on top of their group, which is surprising because you have these amazing great teams that are supposed to beat Sheriff but aren’t. 

Sheriff FC isn’t like a bad team either, it isn’t like they were getting dominated and scored a lucky goal. They actually know how to play good soccer. This would be the most surprising team to advance because they are in a hard group. With incredible teams like Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shakhtar, the club is positioned to make history.  

Barcelona

Barca usually dominates the group stage, but right now, sitting in third place with two defeats and one win, it doesn’t look like they are going to make it through. Things are not looking good after Messi’s departure, and they have only three games left in the group stage.  So it will surprise me if they advance because they are not looking the best nor playing the best soccer like they usually do.

AC Milan

One of the greatest Italian clubs, AC Milan has made its first Champions league in eight years, and it’s not going well. For starters, they are last in their group, and their group is called the group of death because it includes Liverpool, Atletico Madrid, and Porto. They haven’t won a match. They have 3 defeats which is bad and also puts them one loss away from elimination. Their three losses were not blowout losses, just unlucky. I believe they will come back and win the group or be second and  qualify for the round of 16.

Club Brugge

A Belgian club in a group with PSG, Manchester City, and RB Leipzig, Club Brugge is probably in the second-hardest group in the Champions League are doing decently against these big and amazing teams. Expected to lose every game, they currently have a draw, a loss and a win. I would be so surprised if they win their last 3 games because it is going to be difficult against a Manchester City squad that won the Premier league and against Paris-Saint Germain with Messi, Neymar, Mbappe, etc. and RB Leipzig, which is currently second in the German league. 

A win against Manchester CIty would be even more surprising because they got beat 5-1 the first game, but Club Brugge is playing good soccer and could potentially knock out Manchester City if Manchester City loses its other matches. Club Brugge will come more prepared after that defeat and if they win, the momentum might get them past the group stage and surprise everybody.

Lille FC

I think the France League champions Lillie FC is going to surprise people. It’s easy to forget that Lillie FC were champions of the France League and remain the most dominant French team. The Lille team isn’t looking good right now, but they will bounce back from their two draws and one loss, win their last three and show they’re still a scary team.

The UEFA Champions League trophy. Photo by Simon Harriyott

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