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Game Details

Group H: Juventus plot Champions League glory with Higuain and Pjanic

Now that the Champions League draw has been completed, here's a preview for Group H. Who do you think will go through?

Predicted finish

1. Juventus
2. Lyon
3. Sevilla
4. Dinamo Zagreb


Overwhelming favourites in Serie A, the Champions League is surely Juve's main priority this season. The purchase of Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic could well have simply looked like bullying their only real domestic rivals, but it also sees them armed with a formidable squad to take a shot at the biggest prize, one they haven't won since 1996. Two decades is a yawning chasm of time for club of their size to go without success in Europe, even considering the few years when their role in the Calciopoli scandal put them out of continental action. Coach Massimiliano Allegri proved the doubters wrong at home, but the real test for him is now in the Champions League.


There are signs of revival in a club that seemed a permanent fixture in the knockout rounds of this competition a decade ago or so. Last season, they finished second in Ligue 1, just as they had the previous campaign, and though that was 31 points behind Paris Saint-Germain, coach Bruno Genesio had taken over from Hubert Fournier in December to rescue the campaign. Whether striker Alexandre Lacazette will be available to Genesio or sold before the transfer window closes is a leading question against them.


It has been all change in southern Spain, as the heart of a team that won three Europa League titles in a row was finally ripped out. Crucially, coach Unai Emery has gone to Paris Saint-Germain and the loss of Ever Banega, Coke, Kevin Gameiro and Grzegorz Krychowiak would be felt by any team. Jorge Sampaoli is in charge now, with Brazilian Ganso perhaps their headline signing. Another drop down to play in the competition they pretty much own may again be in order.

Gonzalo Higuain got Juventus off to a winning start in Serie A.
Juventus have spent big on Gonzalo Higuain as they target Champions League glory.

Dinamo Zagreb

After squeezing through their playoff with an extra-time win over Red Bull Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb might just be happy to be in the Champions League this season. Manager Zlatko Kranjcar is back at the club for his third spell as manager (his fourth in total and he also played for them for six years), after a short spell in Qatar. Dinamo is the seventh club he's managed since leaving the national team job in 2006.

Game of the group

Sevilla vs. Lyon -- The winners of Group H should be relatively obvious, so attention turns to who joins Juventus in the next phase. Sevilla of course have European pedigree, but Lyon are a little more stable, and the two fixtures between these two clubs could go a long way to determining who qualifies.

X Factor

Jorge Sampaoli -- Sevilla seem to be one of those clubs that barely needs a head coach because they're so well organised. They're certainly one of the best equipped to deal with upheaval, but Sampaoli is something of a wild card. Whether they progress in this tournament or drop back into the comfort zone of the Europa League may well depend on how their new man slots in.

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.


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