During the last UCL season, Chris successfully predicted all 16 teams in the group round phase and five out of eight in the round of 16. Then, he correctly predicted three out of four in the quarterfinal round and the final winner.
Total: 25/29 = 86%
2011/12 First Round: 11/16 = 69%
Round of 16 Draw: 14/15 February and 21/22 February 2012
Olympique de Lyon v. APOEL
Napoli v. Chelsea
Milan v. Arsenal
FC Basil v. Bayern Monaco
Bayer Leverkusen v. Barcelona
CSKA Moscow v. Real Madrid
Zenit San Petersburg v. Benfica
Marseille v. Internazionale
Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich.
1). Bayern Munich (correct)
2). Manchester City (incorrect: Europa League)
4). VillarrealBayern Munich's form has been absolutely electric, both in league and showing glimpses in Europe. Their experience in Europe and spark plugs off the bench should put them comfortably (points-wise) through to the knockout round.
Second place is a very tough call, but I'm giving the nod to Manchester City with the incredible depth at Roberto Mancini's disposal in attack and wide players. Plus, Mancini's men have allowed less than a goal a game in the league thus far. Defense wins games and the Citizens' early European play jitters should wear off over time. Napoli should everyone provided Marek Hamsik and Edison Cavani stay healthy but they just aren't good enough. Villarreal are just simply not performing either, despite the undeniable talent of Giuseppe Rossi.
Eden Hazard of Lille.
1). Lille (incorrect)
2). Internazionale Milano (correct)
4). CSKA Moscow (qualified in second)
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United.
1). Manchester United (incorrect: Europa League)
2). Basel (correct)
4). Otelul GalatiManchester United's superiority over the rest of their minnow competition will soon show, despite the Red Devils opening two draws against Benfica and Basel (a last gasper at Old Trafford, mind you). The depth of the squad is too much to handle to not have United finish on top of the group. The fight for second place will be between Basel and Benfica, but I think Benfica will win the battle with a superior attacking lineup. Galati, well it's a miracle they are even in the group stage. Let's give them that and move on. Maybe they'll snag a draw or two, but they shouldn't be a threat to anyone in particular.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF.
1). Real Madrid (correct)
2). Lyon (correct)
4). Dinamo ZagrebLos Blancos have improved over last year's side thanks to the Special One instilling confidence in an impressive Karim Benzema and his additions of Fabio Coentrao and others. The team's staunch defense coupled with the world-class whining machine Cristiano Ronaldo should see the side clinch first place before their last game occurs. Lyon look to be on the downtrend, but Ajax's loss of Luis Suarez has seen the Dutch club lose a true leader on the pitch. Zagreb's inexperience sees them right where they should be: The bottom.
Juan Mata of Chelsea FC.
1). Chelsea (correct)
2). Valencia (incorrect: Europa League)
4). GenkJuan Mata has been just the creative catalyst Chelsea were seeking to give the team a breath of fresh air. The Blues irreplaceable experience at defense in Europe along with Villas-Boas' attacking mentality should see the English side march onward. Valencia's loss of Mata was big, but the team has endured bigger losses and coped (see David Silva and David Villa last year). Leverkusen is a bit too inconsistent to seriously challenge the group (one game draw with the Dortmund, the champions, another loss 4-1 at home to Koln?). Genk will collect a couple of points at home fixtures but don't have enough talent to surprise the other teams.
Andrew Ayew of Marseille.
1). Marseille (correct)
2). Arsenal (correct)
4). Olympiacos (Europa League)
Hulk for Porto.
1). Porto (incorrect: Europa League)
2). Zenit St. Petersburg (correct)
4). APOEL (qualified as group winner)
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona.
1). FC Barcelona (correct)
2). AC Milan (correct)
4). BATE BorisovAmazingly, the Spanish side have gotten even better than last year's Champions League winning side, adding Alexis Sanchez and youth club member Cesc Fabregas back to the club. The tiki-taka play of the club are just too much to overcome as long as the majority of the squad stays healthy. Milan should have no problem disposing of the lesser Viktoria and BATE Borisov in their upcoming fixtures, even if they club do get injuries along the way. Neither Viktoria nor BATE are ready to be in the competition so it should just be a fight for third place. Frankly, does anyone care who gets third in the group besides these two teams involved?
About the Author
Chris Behrens is the Champions League Oracle at Soccerpro.com. Chris gets his all of his licensed soccer equipment at soccerpro.com. Please check out SoccerProse: A soccer blog for soccer players, fans, parents and coaches. You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisGBehrens
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