The 2023/24 Champions League group stages are here and we’re already two thirds through.
Five months ago Manchester City lifted the famous trophy, claiming their first European Cup crown by beating Inter Milan in the final to complete a famous treble. Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to reclaim their crown but there are a lot of big teams looking to dethrone them.
Man City’s defence sees them face RB Leipzig (again), Serbian side Crvena zvezda and BSC Young Boys in the group stage.
There are 15 different national associations represented in the group stage, with England, Spain, Italy and Germany all having four teams as normal. Both Arsenal and Newcastle ended long stays away from the Champions League, with the former back in the competition for the first time since 2016/17. Newcastle’s absence was a lot longer, last playing in the Champions League group stage in 2002/03.
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Newcastle were in pot 4 for the draw, owing to their long absence, and it’s a tough group for the Magpies. Eddie Howe’s side have been drawn in arguably the Group of Death alongside PSG, Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan. Welcome back to the big time!
Arsenal have been pit alongside Europa League winners Sevilla, PSV — whom they faced in the Europa League last season — and Lens. Man Utd, meanwhile, were drawn against Bayern Munich, for a repeat of the 1999 Champions League final, as well as FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray. Celtic face Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio.
We’re now five rounds into the group stage and there have been some big results already. So, what have they done to the odds?
2023/24 Champions League group stage draw
- Group A: Bayern Munich, Man Utd, FC Copenhagen, Galatasaray
- Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV, Lens
- Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin
- Group D: Benfica, Inter Milan, Red Bull Salzburg, Real Sociedad
- Group E: Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio, Celtic
- Group F: PSG, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle
- Group G: Man City, RB Leipzig, Crvena zvezda, BSC Young Boys
- Group H: Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp
2023/24 Champions League schedule
Matchday 1: 19/20 September 2023 Matchday 2: 3/4 October 2023 Matchday 3: 24/25 October 2023 Matchday 4: 7/8 November 2023 Matchday 5: 28/29 November 2023
- Matchday 6: 12/13 December 2023
2023/24 Champions League winner odds
*Odds correct as of 22:30 on November 29
How do the Champions League favourites for 2023/24 rank?
The defending champions, Man City always seem to be the early favourites to win the Champions League but now they have actually proven they can go all the way. The group stage draw was pretty kind to Man City too, placed alongside RB Leipzig yet again, as well as Crvena zvezda and Young Boys.
Man City are already through to the last 16, perfect after five games, with a pair of wins over Young Boys and RB Leipzig.
Bayern Munich made a big move in the summer transfer window to sign Harry Kane and they’ll be hoping he can lift them to the top of Europe once more. The German side are six-time champions but were humbled in the quarter-finals by Man City last season, losing 4-1 over two legs.
They have made an unbeaten start to the group stage with four wins and one draw from five games, beating Manchester United, FC Copenhagen and Galatasaray (twice).
Another side to lost to Man City last season (5-1 in the semi-finals), Real Madrid are starting their latest quest for a record-extending 15th European Cup triumph. Last winners in 2022, Real Madrid will have an interesting campaign with Karim Benzema gone and injuries to Vinicius Jr and Thibaut Courtois, the latter so crucial to their triumph over Liverpool.
Real Madrid are yet another team to be perfect after five games, with 13 goals scored and five conceded in their five wins.
Back in the Champions League for the first time since 2016/17, Arsenal will have their sights set on breaking their quarter-final drought. Before becoming Europa League regulars, Arsenal were in the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons, but bowed out at the last 16 in each of their past seven appearances. There is a repeat of the Europa League group stage from last season with Arsenal facing PSV again, and the Gunners opened with a win against the Dutch side.
They did lose their next game against Lens but recovered with three wins over Sevilla (twice) and Lens to secure a place in the last 16.
PSG will be hoping they can finally end their wait for European glory this season, but they have had a bit of an upheaval with both Neymar and Lionel Messi leaving this summer. But maybe that is what they needed, especially after back-to-back last 16 exits. However, they are in a frankly horrible group for all four teams involved.
There was a good win on the opening matchweek, beating Borussia Dortmund, but PSG were then humbled in a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle at St James’ Park. There was another win over AC Milan but the Rossoneri got their own back at the San Siro, with PSG’s away form really causing them a problem.
Barcelona bowed out of the Champions League at the group stage last season, so their primary goal will be to avoid that this time around. Then, Barcelona were placed in an extremely tough group and showed it was a bit of a fluke as they went on to win La Liga pretty comfortably. Things are slightly easier this time around, with Barcelona alongside Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and newcomers Royal Antwerp.
The Blaugrana opened their group with three wins but were handed a shock defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, losing 1-0 away from home. They’ve since qualified for the Champions League knockout stages for the first time under Xavi and need just one point to finish the group stage as Group H winners.
Man Utd were in the Europa League last season and actually knocked Barcelona out in the knockout round play-off, but they are back where they believe they belong. The Red Devils were last in the Champions League in 2021/22, qualifying for the last 16 where they lost to Atletico Madrid.
It’s been a terrible start to the season though. After four Champions League games, Man Utd sit bottom of their group with just one win. Man Utd lost to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray but thought they were back on track with victory over FC Copenhagen. They were 2-0 up in their fourth game too, but fell to a 4-3 defeat, again on matchday five against Galatasaray, only to draw 3-3 leaving them on the brink of exit. Oh dear. They’re 40/1 to win the Champions League.
Ending a lot wait for Champions League football, Newcastle will have been in two minds about their group stage draw. On the one hand, for the fans, it sees them take on three top-quality clubs in PSG, AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund, visiting three good stadiums. It was also a chance to test themselves against some of the best, though they may have been a bit annoyed for it to be so hard.
After securing a goalless draw at the San Siro, Champions League football returned to St James’ Park with a 4-1 thrashing of PSG, including goals from local boys Sean Longstaff and Dan Burn. The stuff Magpie dreams are made of. However, those dreams turned to nightmares with back-to-back defeats against Borussia Dortmund, before snatching a point from the jaws of victory in Paris leaving them second from the bottom of their group.