Champions League Group C Predicted Finishes

August 30th, 2012

Here is a synopsis of each club and their projected finishes from Leander Schaerlaeckens. Continue to check back all day for each group’s predictions.

Group C:

1. AC MILAN

Champions League titles: 7 (4 as the European Cup)

A glittering side that is smarting from last year’s second place Serie A finish and looking to advance beyond last year’s quarterfinal loss to Barcelona. The players Milan brings to the table are impressive: Sulley Muntari, Pato, Giampaolo Pazzini, Robinho and Kevin-Prince Boateng are all quality. Milan has also brought in a lot of new talent, whether on transfers or reclaimed loans and they look to have a very deep pool to draw from. But they did lose some very big names: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has moved along as have Allesandro Nesta and Mark van Bommel. They lost some experience with those moves and the key for Massimiliano Allegri will be to quickly fuse this bunch into a coherent team – all the while under the watchful eye of the mercurial Silvio Berlusconi.

2. ZENIT

Champions League titles: 0

Zenit has been a crushing team in the Russian league, winning the title back to back and doing far better than one would have expected in last year’s Champions League. But they are a limited team: a lot of their flair comes from one man, the heroic midfielder Danny, who was badly missed by Portugal at this summer’s Euros due to an ACL injury. He’s back now and with Bruno Alves, Domenico Criscito and Roman Shirokov, Zenit comprise a very compelling team. Keep in mind that they are also a team no one wants to play: the Russian travel is brutal.

3. MALAGA

Champions League titles: 0

Spain’s Malaga is often an afterthought, with good reason. Despite a long history, it’s best results all have come at the lower levels, where the club has won the second division title a handful of times. But since being taken over by a wealthy Qatari businessman, things have changed. Malaga have completely overhauled their squad, spending to bring in Jeremy Toulalan, Martin DeMichelis and Isco among a dozen others. Malaga got to the group stages by knocking off Panathinaikos and looks like they could present some problems. Fun fact: the Malaga strip has a barcode on it; fans can hit it with their iPhones and it will give them all sorts of goodies.

4. ANDERLECHT

Champions League titles: 0

Anderlecht came perilously close to disaster in the playoffs, nearly losing to minnows AEL Limassol before two late, late goals put them through. Anderlecht is a better team than people think: a two-time UEFA Cup winner and two-time European Cup semifinalist, the Belgians are very tough to play at their home, Constant Vanden Stock.  Sacha Kljestan steers the Belgian club’s midfield; the American has been a key component of the team’s recent successes. Far and away the most famous and successful club in Belgium, this is their first appearance in the Champions League since 2006-07.