The real 'Group of Death' starts tonight at the Bernabeu

The 2016/17 Champions League group stage draw is usually a matter that my friend Mr. Piqué gets somewhat uptight about. This season the draw has pitted Real Madrid in Group F and is easily the most difficult of the eight groups.

Just a cursory glance at the UEFA coefficient of the four teams that compose the group testifies to this. The four clubs involved score 302,347 points making it the highest ranking of all eight groups. It’s also the second highest ranking group in terms of squad value. Sporting Lisbon supplied many of the players that composed Portugal’s Euro 2016 win and Borussia Dortmund are the second strongest team in the Bundesliga. Piqué’s Barcelona meanwhile find themselves in a group with three sides who made the group stage via the qualifying round: Celtic, Manchester City and Borussia Moenchengladbach.

F.C.BARCELONA 2016/17CELTIC GLASGOW 2016/1713/09/16 PARTIDO CHAMPIONS LEAGUE BARCELONA - CELTIC REMOTO GOL 1-0 MESSI

Real Madrid commence the campaign to defend their title tonight at the Bernabeu, the Road to Cardiff. Lisbon 2014 and Milan 2016 should serve as the beacons for this quest which is a key priority for the club. Welshman Gareth Bale dreams of playing in a final in his home town and this is added motivation for a squad who will look once again to Cristiano’s attacking prowess. The player from Madeira faces the team where he developed as a teenager and blossomed into the great player we know today. Obrigado, Sporting.

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale