The 2023/2024 UEFA Champions League promises to be an incredible season of European football, featuring everything from heavyweights to underdogs. Each of the 32 teams included in the Group Stages offers a unique flair to the competition. We're ranking the Champions League 2023/24 from the least thrilling to the must-watch battles on the pitch. Let's see who makes it to the finals at Wembley Stadium in London.
Group B: Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Lens
Sevilla, the Europa League winners, and Arsenal, the Premier League runners-up, are expected to progress with ease, making this group relatively drama-free. While capable, PSV Eindhoven and Lens don't pose genuine threats to the leading pair, although the French side will be itching to prove their worth after last season's Ligue 1 second-place finish.
Group H: Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Royal Antwerp
Xavi said he believes this Barcelona squad, with three recent La Masia graduates, is the best he's coached. The Catalan giants may be the headline act, but their recent Champions League inconsistencies — no knockout round since the 2020/21 campaign — open the door for intrigue. However, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk will likely be vying for second place, with 22/23 Belgian Pro League champions left trying to fit in.
Group D: Benfica, Inter Milan, Salzburg, Real Sociedad
22/23 Champions League runner-ups Inter Milan is the clear favorite, but Benfica and Real Sociedad are no pushovers. Benfica, in particular, has gained ground in Europe's top tournament the last two seasons, appearing in consecutive quarterfinals.
Salzburg, too, could act as a potential spoilers, making this group a solid mid-tier one in terms of excitement.
Group E: Feyenoord, Atlético Madrid, Lazio, Celtic
With Atlético Madrid as the expected frontrunners, Lazio and Celtic will aim to give them a run for their money. Feyenoord has dark horse potential, making this group unpredictable but not the most thrilling.
With parity across the board, which second team makes it out of the group is anyone's guess.
Group G: Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, Young Boys
22/23 Champions League winners Manchester City should comfortably lead the group, followed by Xavi Simons-led RB Leipzig. But Red Star Belgrade has upset potential. Young Boys, though underdogs, could surprise with their resilience.
Group A: Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Copenhagen, Galatasaray
Harry Kane's Bayern Munich and Manchester United headline this group, but Copenhagen and Galatasaray are not to be taken lightly, especially at their home fortress. A fierce battle for the second spot makes this group one to watch.
Group C: Napoli, Real Madrid, Braga, Union Berlin
An exciting mix of established giants and hungry underdogs, Group C will offer little drama. Real Madrid is a perennial favorite, followed by Serie A title winners Napoli (ace UCL away kits). Braga and Union Berlin shouldn't be calling upset here.
Group F: Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Newcastle
The “Group of Death” is topping our list, featuring heavy-hitters from four major European leagues. With star power like Kylian Mbappe and Dortmund's imposing yellow wall, this group promises high-stakes clashes and unforgettable moments. AC Milan will be thirsty after bottling the UCL semis against Inter last year. I Rossoneri remain only second behind Real Madrid in the most European titles.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kieran Lynam