A quick look at who some of the key players might be and which teams will qualify
from this season’s most competitive group.
Division One big club City will be hoping their midfield starlets can create enough chances as well as providing solid defensive cover.
Chances of qualifying from this group? Small.
Fellow D1 big club Milan will have to find a way of playing, scoring goals and winning minus their only player – Mario Balotelli. Unbelievably, I Rossoneri boss ‘Big Bed’ Stefano Bedowski has reportedly moored his narrowboat outside Top 100 capo Francesco Hristo’s luxury yacht, with Shergar and a chainsaw, in an attempt to intimidate him into allowing Balotelli to play.
Likelihood that Frank will get into Stephen’s big bed? Flogging a dead horse.
The Rokerites have just brought in Jerry St Juste on loan from Portugal thanks to Benfica boss Nuno Bento’s predilection for underage boys.
Will they get out of the group? Just no.
Young der Dino are second seeds thanks to their good run in the competition last season. Only four of those players are likely to feature this time around, however, and a perceived lack of homegrown talent has been supplemented by the loan signings of Sao Paolo keeper Guruceaga and Standard flyer Zeneli.
Will they go all the way, or fall at the first hurdle? It is certain.
Twente boss Bal Gill will hope his highly-rated young Turkish star Ayhan maintains his level, but Bayern loanee Baumgartl looks a good addition in any case.
Twente to win? Twenty to one.
Boss Mark Phelps has made some shrewd acquisitions in the youth transfer market particularly in keeping to his Brazilian-only policy.
As well as Doria, Otavio and Clayton, below, he can call on the similarly highly-rated Gerson and Guilherme.
Tip for the top. Dark horses, perhaps, but maybe best placed to finish first.