Group A is looking like a dangerous one: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Villareal and Napoli. That's one exciting group, and just might end up being the dreaded group of death. Despite the fact that none of the teams finished higher than third in their respective leagues, they all bring an element of danger into the group, leaving this one about as evenly matched as possible. In fact, this may be one of the most difficult groups the tournament has ever seen.
Manchester City bring a ridiculously strong, deep squad to the Champions League, but it remains to be seen what this side can do in the continent's top tournament. Last season, Roberto Mancini played defensively in Europa, but his squad have found their swing, and will likely score goal after goal. Bayern Munich crashed out in the Round of 16 after an impressive comeback from Inter Milan, and after finishing third in the Bundesliga, likely have a point to prove this go-round. As for Villareal and Napoli, well, they're both fun, attacking sides and will seek to score, but unfortunately, it's likely not enough to get them past the group stages.
Out before it starts
This is almost unfair -- none of these teams is a laughable entity, destined to find zero points in the Champions League. Villareal won't look foolish, but a flip of the coin and a taste of revenge says they'll be the ones to finish bottom.
Sorry, Europa League for you
Napoli just edges Villareal, primarily because they've got a score to settle with the Yellow Submarine, who knocked them out of Europa League last season with a brace by Giuseppe Rossi.
Advancing to the Knockout Stage are…
Bayern Munich may have had the top seed, but they're the ones likely to finish second in the group, provided both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are not injured at the same time. Manchester City may not have Champions League experience as a club, but the majority of the squad does have experience in the tournament, and that's what matters.
Player to watch
David Silva. In a team full of shiny stars, Silva manages to stand out, and not just because he's by far the smallest player on the squad. Magician of Manchester City's midfield, he's one the opposition should be worried about.
Manchester City vs Napoli. Walter Mazzarri's 3-4-2-1 isn't a formation that City are used to facing, which might mean that Napoli can find a way around the often rock-solid City defense. Or it could just end up being a 0-0 draw and anger all neutrals.