Champions League Group D Teams Have the Most to Prove
The draw for the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League took place on Thursday, a day after the final few teams earned their spot with qualifying wins. As always with one of the best soccer competitions in the world, there is one group that provides more intrigue. After the 32 teams were pulled from their four respective pots, Group D showed as the most compelling. Arsenal was drawn first followed by Borussia Dortmund. While the entire competition will be highly contested, it is Group D that will be the most competitive.
Arsenal won a trophy last year and they have high hopes this season. They have already shown in Premier League play that they will not quit. Olivier Giroud has been a game changer, but suffered an injury that will keep him out for some time. They sneaked into the Group Stage with a 1-0 win over Besiktas, but long for a good showing in European play.
Dortmund got off to a bad start in the Bundesliga, but they have a good recent track record in European play. They made it to the quarterfinals last year after losing in the final the previous year. Marco Reus is nearly at full fitness. Ilkay Gündogan finally looks on track to get back on the field. They last won the 1996-97 competition, but still have one of the best home environments during the Champions League in front of Yellow Hell.
Galatasaray and Anderlecht round out the group. Both of these teams have a rich history in the competition. However, Anderlecht has been knocked out in the Group Stage the last two seasons, including only registering a single point last season. Galatasary made it to the Round of 16 last year. They added the most expensive transfer in the Turkish league this season, Olcan Adin, to bolster their midfield. Neither team wants to become a Champions League whipping boy.
History may say that Group B is the biggest attraction. The addition of AS Roma to Group E has some calling it the Group of Death. However, the teams in Group D collectively have more to prove than others. The matches should be hard fought and the final standings could be tight.