Analyzing the Chances of Inter, Milan, Atalanta and Juve in Champions League

On Thursday evening, the Champions League group stage draw took place in Istanbul, as all 32 teams found out the identities of their opponents. Reminiscently to the other Top Four European leagues, Serie A will be represented by four clubs – Scudetto winners Inter, the returning Milan, the ultimate underdogs Atalanta and Juventus who earned their place following a dramatic final day of the season. So let’s analyze the chances of each of them at reaching the next round of Europe’s elite club competition.

Group B – Milan

After a painfully long absence, Milan are finally back to their favorite competition, much to the delight of European fans everywhere. Unfortunately for the Rossoneri fans, this is were the happy news end.

The seven-time European champions currently possess a young squad with the majority of them yet to play a single Champions League fixture, and they will be set for a baptism of fire, as the draw thrust them into the “group of death” alongside Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Porto.

Having been pitted in Pot four, a tough draw was foreseen, but this one exceeded all expectations. The Spanish champions are never a pleasant opponent, whilst Liverpool seem to be regaining their balance following an underwhelming season. As for Porto, overlooking them would be a massive mistake… Just ask Juventus.

For Stefano Pioli’s young men, this experience would surely be helpful regardless of the outcome, and even a third place finish that would send them towards the Europa League knockout stages wouldn’t be a terrible result based on the circumstances.

Oh and speaking of Milan, Liverpool and Istanbul, the Champions League’s official Twitter account was quick to remind us of this… bizarre night.

Group D – Inter

After being pitted in a Champions League group with Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter fans would be excused if they don’t feel particularly confident following the draw. Last season the Nerazzurri shared the same stage with these two clubs, and ended up finishing at the bottom.

Luckily for everyone involved, Borussia Monchengladbach – who sealed the qualification last season – have been replaced by Sheriff Tiraspol, a relatively unknown club from Moldova.

Despite the strictness of their name, the Moldovans are unlikely to threaten for a qualification spot, leaving three Italian managers to battle it out. Simone Inzaghi will meet Carlo Ancelotti, who recently returned to Los Blancos, as well as Roberto De Zerbi, who’s now in charge of the Ukrainian club.

Inter should consider it a rare chance to redeem themselves, and this time around, they shouldn’t bottle it. A second place finish behind the Spaniards would be enough to please everyone at the club.

Group F – Atalanta

On their third straight Champions League appearance, Atalanta are now officially regular participants, and the draw put them in the same group with Europa League winners Villarreal, and their runners-up Manchester United, in addition to Switzerland’s Young Boys.

The Orobici have succeeded on their first two attempts on this stage, as their success rate is 100% when it comes to qualifying to the Round of 16. Therefore, nothing suggests that Gian Piero Gasperini can’t pull it off again.

La Dea have even improved their squad depth during the summer, and we tip them to impress once again and raise the Italian banner high in Europe.

Group H – Juventus

With two European giants and two so-so clubs, this one might be the most lopsided group of the draw. Juventus were pitted in the same group with defending champions Chelsea, but one must wonder what would Zenit St. Petersburg and Malmo bring to the table.

The Russians had their heydays during the late 2000s, whilst the Swedish champions were a major club back in the 80’s, but in this day and age, they will be facing an uphill battle against the other two sides.

Although the trips to Russia and Sweden can be tricky at times, the Bianconeri should be able to seek an early qualification and battle for the top spot against the Blues – even though it didn’t come handy to them during the last few seasons.

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