Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League are now halfway through their group stages and within both leagues there are interesting storylines from all different parts of the continent.
Champions League Powerhouses
The main traditional powerhouses are dominating their groups like normal. Rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated Europe for years and they are once again at the top of their groups. Barcelona have ran a clean sweep through Group D with a goal differential of +6 which includes Italian side Juventus who are currently third in Serie A, the Italian premier division. Real Madrid have two less points, but have had a much harder group as they tied against Tottenham Hotspur who are third in the Premier League and have had themselves a very good Champions League group stage. Both Manchester squads have had their way through the first half of the group stage with both sides atop their groups. Their Premier League counterparts have also done the same surprisingly.
Premier League Dominance
Last year in the Champions League, two Premier League sides topped their groups one of which was Leicester City. This year halfway through, five Premier League sides top their groups which is a massive improvement. Two sides are in a tie for the top as Liverpool, even with two draws, are still atop of Group E with Russian side Spartak Moscow. Chelsea is atop of Group C after a 3-3 draw with Italian side Roma.
Other teams have struggled to make a good impression such as German side Dortmund who only have one point in the difficult Group H with only three goals in their three games. For some situations, this would be good but they have given up seven goals through those games. Definitely something needs to happen for them to continue on their Champions League quest past the group stages. French champion AS Monaco has especially struggled in Group G as they are currently last with only a draw to German side RB Leipzig to their credit as both of the sides from power countries are struggling to keep up.
Over in Europe’s second club competition, well known sides have been able to go through their groups with somewhat little resistance. Group H’s Arsenal, who with a relatively easy group have been able to win each of their first three games within the group stage. Lazio is also doing well in Group K with all nine possible points through three wins. Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg also have three wins on their resume. On the opposite side of the scale, Everton has not done very well as to add to their struggles over in the Premier League they are dead last in Group E with only a measly point to their record. Group J’s power teams Athletic Bilbao from Spain and Hertha Berlin from Germany are the bottom two teams to lesser sides from lesser countries. French side Marseille is second only to well known Austrian side RB Salzburg in Group I and should also advance out of their group. There is not really a real group of death in this year’s Europa League unlike in the Champions League so most of these sides should advance out of their groups.
There will be plenty of other coverage of both the Champions League and the Europa League here following the conclusion of the group stages.