People love a "Group of Death" and this year's UEFA Champions League Group D is the "Group of Death". Four champions from four major European leagues will battle it out for two spots in the Round of 16. This group is going to be a lot of fun for the neutrals and may lead to supporters of the involved clubs chewing on a lot of antacids.
Favorites: Real Madrid
At the top are the Spanish champions Real Madrid, always a formidable opponent in the Champions League. With a La Liga and Copa de Rey title under Jose Mourinho's belt with Madrid, you can bet Los Blancos will be focused on reaching the final at Wembley and trying to claim their 10th European title. This team is loaded with stars and anything less than winning the group would be a massive shock.
Going Through: Borussia Dortmund
The German champions were way down in the last pot due to a low co-efficient, but that doesn't mean they aren't still a team to be reckoned with in this group. Despite losing Shinji Kagawa to Manchester United, Dortmund are led by captain Sebastian Kehl and loaded with several young stars like Mario Götze, Matt Hummels and Marco Reus.
Europa League Bound: Manchester City
City are making their second straight appearance in the group stages and will look to improve upon last season's disappointing run that saw them finish third in their group behind Bayern Munich and Napoli. That was last season's "group of death" and there's an argument to be made that they are once again in one of the toughest groups. City will need to defend consistently and get production up front from the likes of Mario Balotelli, David Silva and Kun Aguero (when healthy) if they want to reach the group stages.
Dead Last: Ajax
The four-time European champions are not a bad team, but when you're faced with a group that includes the other three heavyweights, your chances are slim.
Best Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Love him or hate him, he's amazing and one of the best players in the world. He's shaken off the label of a player that fails to show up in big matches and could be on the way to a massive season. If Ronaldo is able to be as brilliant as we all know he can be, Madrid will only be that much harder to beat.
Emerging Star: Marco Reus
The 23-year-old German striker will get a chance to shine on another European stage in his first season with Dortmund. Reus impressed with the German national team at Euro 2012 and is expected to be a big part of Dortmund's attack.
Must-Watch Game: Real Madrid Vs. Borussia Dortmund
City will be in the mix but the meetings between these two teams should be both entertaining and key in determining who advances from this group. Madrid are the favorites but Dortmund won't be intimidated by Madrid's attacking prowess. The Germans may not beat Madrid, but I suspect they'll give us 180 minutes of fabulous play.