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Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig in Champions League Group G

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

Predicted finish

1. Porto
2. RB Leipzig
3. Monaco
4. Besiktas


It was oddly poignant watching Monaco thrillingly reach the semifinals last season because you knew this team would be asset-stripped. That turned out to be true, with Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy gone, and Kylian Mbappe likely to follow. So how will they fare without them? Radamel Falcao and Thomas Lemar are still there, while Youri Tielemans looks hugely promising, but it will take a heroic effort to repeat last season's achievements. 


As ever, Porto will have to cope with the loss of players over the summer, although perhaps only Andre Silva's departure to Milan will have a significant impact on their first team, as Ruben Neves was broadly peripheral last season. Porto haven't won the Primeira League since 2013, their longest drought since the early 1980s, and perhaps their focus will thus be on domestic matters rather than European. 

Mexican Jesus Corona could be a difference-maker for Porto in the Champions League.


The Besiktas squad seems a little like a list of players looking for a second, third or fourth chance. Pepe, Ryan Babel, Gary Medel, Alvaro Negredo, Ricardo Quaresma: there's plenty of experience in their ranks, and a few Champions League medals too, but of course that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be any good. They've never been beyond the first round of the Champions League, but will some of that know-how help them better that?

RB Leipzig  

Not exactly a popular side in Germany thanks to their corporate backing, RB Leipzig will not be quite so alone in this season's Champions League as a team fond of spending cash freely. Under the watch of Ralf Rangnick, manager Ralph Hassenhuttl guided this team to second place in last season's Bundesliga, and with Naby Keita and Timo Werner, they could make an impression on this season's tournament.   

Game of the group

RB Leipzig v Monaco -- Monaco were the freshest, most vibrant presence in last season's competition; debutants RB Leipzig place a similar emphasis on youth, and the pair should put on an attractive, high-energy contest that could be decisive in what looks to be the most open of the four groups.

X factor

Pepe, Besiktas -- If this group's most attractive facet is its youthfulness, could deep experience of this level prove decisive? Besiktas now have plenty of it; Pepe and company might just be able to make it tell and create history of their own.

Nick Ames is a football journalist who writes for ESPN FC on a range of topics. Twitter: @NickAmes82.


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