Champions League Group F 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.

1. BAYERN MUNICH

Champions League titles: 4 (3 as the European Cup)

Last year’s finalists were stunned on their home soil by Chelsea. Bayern were probably the better team, but could not close the deal. This team is going to have to overcome that heartache and you would think they have the tools to do it. Arjen Robben, when healthy, can be unstoppable; Franck Ribery is a genius, Xherdan Shaqiri is a fine acquisition and players like Rafinha, Luiz Gustavo and Bastian Schweinsteiger are excellent. Key to this team’s success though might lie with Mario Gomez. When he’s hot, so is Bayern. When he’s not, he can be appalling, and his consistency up top will be a major storyline this season.

2. VALENCIA

Champions League titles: 0

Two-time runners up, Valencia will be an interesting team to play. They have talent: Ever Banega, David Albeda and Andres Guardado make up a solid midfield and Robert Soldado remains a potent attacking force. Valencia’s problem is that they are the third best team in Spain, which means they finished a dispiriting thirty points behind second-place Barcelona. They don’t lose a lot of games and play a pretty potent attacking style but Los Che don’t have the fizz or power of the two other Spanish giants. You get the sense they are also resigned to being No. 3 – and that hurts them in this competition.

3. LILLE

Champions League titles: 0

Lille scraped into the Champions League after a tough fight with Copenhagen. Copenhagen are not world beaters – neither are Lille. This is a pretty average French squad that by rights is just making up the numbers. Remember, they lost their best player, Eden Hazard, to Cheslea. While big things are expected of Marvin Martin, they aren’t a complete team yet. Salomon Kalou and Mathieu Debuchy are competent without being spectacular, but no one really stands out as a goal-scoring force.

4. BATE BORISOV

Champions League titles: 0

Belarus’ best-known club — and no, that it is not an oxymoron — is also the only team from the small dictatorship to have ever appeared in the Champions League. BATE is a comparatively young club, dating only back to 1973; many of its best players were sucked into the former Soviet Union and it is only in recent years that the nation has begun to assert itself as a soccer power. BATE isn’t an easy team to play; for European matches it moves out of the tiny Borisov grounds (capacity 5,402) to Dynamo Minsk’s 40,000 seater. The team’s best result in this competition was a shock 1-1 draw with AC Milan last year. Former Arsenal and Barcelona man Alexander Hleb is closing out his career with the club.