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Group B Predicted Finish
1. Benfica (Portugal)
2. Napoli (Italy)
3. Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
4. Besiktas (Turkey)
Qualified automatically by winning Liga Nos.
Benfica enter this group as one of the eight seeded teams, and thus have an easier group ahead of them. Having won the Portuguese league three seasons in a row, including with a new manager last season, Benfica will look to build on last year’s European success. Benfica advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champion’s League, where they lost to Bayern Munich 3-2 on aggregate (the second leg, played in Germany, finished 2-2, a fantastic result for Benfica).
The Eagles don’t have many intimidating names on their roster, but expect a solid performance in one of the easier groups. If they hope to win the group handily they’ll need to get results on the road, most importantly in Kiev and Napoli.
Qualified automatically by finishing 2nd in Serie A.
Napoli made the news rather often this summer, with the attention culminating in the €90 million sale of Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus. His goal-scoring prowess was certainly crucial to Napoli and Arkadiusz Milik has been given the task of replicating it. Success won’t come as easily for Napoli as it has in the past, but advancing past this group shouldn’t be too much trouble. Results at home against Dynamo Kiev and Benfica will be extremely important to securing a place in the knockout round.
Qualified automatically by winning the Ukrainian league.
Dynamo Kiev (Dinamo Kyiv if you prefer a less-anglicized version) have shown success in the Ukraine, winning the past two campaigns. European success won’t come as easily with weaker players and difficult road fixtures. They’ll need an away result in Napoli to have hopes of advancing.
Qualified automatically by winning the Turkish league.
Besiktas lost a lot this summer, most importantly Mario Gomez. There’s lots of optimism however, with a brand-new “green” stadium opening this year. The stadium should provide a noticeable advantage which Besiktas will certainly need. Don’t count them out yet, if they can catch an away result or two we might see them through to the Round of 16.
Stay tuned…a mouth-watering Group C comes next.