The arrangement of this year's UEFA Champions League group stage set up a situation where, inevitably, the pool of runners-up was going to be strong for the knockout stage draw. Groups D and E were always going to be virtual groups of death, and were sure to produce top teams as runners-up. What no one knew at the beginning of the group stage is that Real Madrid might end up in second place, or that Arsenal and AC Milan wouldn't end up winning their groups.
In this edition of Champions League, the winners pot isn't necessarily stronger than the runners up pot. If half of the runners-up win their knockout stage matches, they might not pull them off in upsets. Out of the strong pool, here are the runners-up that group winners will want to avoid.
Real Madrid: This one is obvious, even if they've performed below expectations in both La Liga and the Champions League. Everyone expects Madrid to progress in Champions League, and they're likely to be favorites no matter who they draw. A Round of 16 tie against Manchester United would be a dream for neutrals, while a very athletic and tenacious Juventus side might present a very difficult matchup, but no one wants to draw Los Merengues.
Arsenal: They don't have a match winner like Robin van Persie anymore and they're struggling in the Premier League, but they still have plenty of talent and a very experienced manager. There might be more respect for their name than their actual squad at this point, but drawing Arsenal in Champions League always seems like a dangerous proposition.
FC Porto: This team is a potential nightmare, just because of their raw talent and their ability to score at any time. They can't consistently beat the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United, but there's no telling when James Rodriguez or Jackson Martinez is going to have the game of their lives. The Colombian duo is capable of scoring in bunches against anyone in the world.
Shakhtar Donetsk: Who watched their home win against Chelsea and wants to play them? Shakhtar can play at lightning speed, and are more athletic than the majority of remaining teams. Fernandinho's stamina is almost not human, and the Ukranian champions have turned down bids for Willian from big Premier League clubs. Their defense is shaky, but also extremely athletic and capable of dominating any team over a 180 minute stretch.