Every day, we at 32 Flags will preview each group in the UEFA Champions League as we build up to the first group stage games of the competition. Today, we are previewing Group D.
Group D looks set to be one of the more straightforward groups of this Champions League season. The biggest question will be who is going to win the group and possibly get a more favorable draw for the knockout rounds. While the two who make it out of the group looks fairly set, it won’t be an easy group to predict the final standings for. Either Arsenal or Dortmund could win the group and Anderlecht could easily overtake Galatasaray for third place and qualification into the Europa League. It should be a satisfying group to keep an eye on.
Group D Teams and Country (Position in UEFA Coefficient/Position in UEFA Coefficient Compared to Just Last Season):
RSC Anderlecht/Belgium (No. 43/No. 44)
Arsenal FC/England (No. 10/No. 9)
Borussia Dortmund/Germany (No. 12/No. 15)
Galatasaray AS/Turkey (No. 34/No. 36)
Player to Watch in Group D: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)
Simply put, Alexis Sanchez is a dynamite player when he’s on fire. Arsenal are going to need that going into this group if they want to win it. This is a player capable of both scoring and creating. He is a dangerous player regardless of where you put him. He has dazzling foot skills, and he has a point to prove. All of these point to a player that could set this group alight.
X-Factor in Group D: Galatasaray
I don’t expect Galatasaray to pull a major upset and make it out of the group, but they could be the deciding factor in who will win the group. If Gala are able to hold or beat either Dortmund or Arsenal, the other team has a great chance of winning the group. Gala are definitely a team capable of beating either, as well, if they aren’t on their game and Galatasaray’s home stadium of Turk Telecom Arena is an incredibly difficult one to travel to.
Percentage of Advancing out of Group Stage (According to ESPN’s SPI Index)
Borussia Dortmund: 80.8%
Arsenal FC: 69.5%
Galatasaray AS: 41.1%
RSC Anderlecht: 8.6%
Most Important Game: Borussia Dortmund vs. Arsenal, Matchday 1, September 16
This is the first game of the group for both of the teams expected to make it to the knockout rounds. It will almost certainly set the mood for the rest of the games in this stage. The winner will gain momentum over their closest rival and the loser will be forced to play catch up.
Teams to Move On: Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund
Team to Move On To Europa League: Galatasaray