It’s a little early to talk Champions League favorites, so while many in the football media have already pinned this label on defending champions, Bayern Munich, after just two matchdays, I’m more interested in brief takeaways from this week’s action that may or may not be relevant as the competition continues.
- Manchester City still struggling to find its way in this competition. I guess it would help if they didn’t keep getting drawn in groups with Bayern Munich.
- Juventus posting a second draw in a row – this time against Galatasaray. Time to worry if they’ll qualify for the round of 16?
- Arsenal looking good – but for how long. I guess that’s been the question with Arsenal for the last few years.
- Shakthar Donetsk still likes to give the big teams hell. Good.
- My candidates for this season’s sleeper teams – Real Sociedad and Napoli – both lost
I know a lot of people think the Group Stage is boring, and it’s true that the big teams are usually drawn in easy(ish) groups, almost guaranteeing they’ll advance to the KO stages – but this point in the tournament is the most interesting to me, as there’s always the possibility of a surprise or two.
In any event, I’m wary of making any big pronouncements about who will win – or even who will make the final. We’ve only just concluded Matchday 2. This competition is 9 months long, and – 2012-13 Bayern notwithstanding – it’s rare for a single team to dominate for the entirety of it. It’ll be far more interesting to see what happens when more teams have to start coping with injuries, suspensions, losses of form, etc.