Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, Casemiro, Kaka and Alvaro Morata (L-R) celebrate a goal during their friendly soccer match against Inter Milan in St. Louis August 10, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Sarah Conard (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT SOCCER))
Group B of the 2013-14 Champions League features an assortment of historic sides including Real Madrid and Juventus. It also includes an upstart Turkish team in Galatasaray and dark horse in Copenhagen. Here is how the four teams in Group B measure up and how they could ultimately fare in this competition.
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Real Madrid (Spain)
How they got here: Los Blancos qualified for the tournament by finishing second in the Spanish League during the 2012-13 season.
How they did in last year's competition: Real Madrid started the tournament a year ago with a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester City. In the second match, the team dominated Ajax Amsterdam 4-1 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick. However, the wheels started to come off in the ensuing two games against Borussia Dortmund. After losing 2-1 in Germany, a late Mesut Ozil goal earned Madrid a 2-2 draw against Dortmund. The team would then battle to a 1-1 draw with Manchester City before taking down Ajax 4-1 in its final group game. However, Madrid finished with 11 points and second in the group and wound up facing Manchester United in the round of 16. Madrid made out with a 1-1 draw at home before a Nani red card in the second leg enabled them a 2-1 victory. In the quarterfinals Madrid encountered Galatasaray. The team won 3-0 in the opening leg but lost 3-2 in the second leg on the road. In the semifinals, Madrid was embarrassed 4-1 in the opening leg by Borussia Dortmund before pulling off a 2-0 win at home in the follow-up. Cristiano Ronaldo led the tournament with 12 goals.
This Year's Expectations: Madrid is always expected to compete for La Decima and this year is no exception. The 100 million euro addition of Gareth Bale should help the team's chances, but Madrid must build its identity quickly in preparation for the arduous task ahead.
How they got here: Juventus finished atop the Italian Serie A in the 2012-13 season.
How they did in last year's competition: Juventus was seeded into a group with defending Champion Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk and Danish club Nordsjaelland. The Italians got off to an impressive start by climbing out a 2-0 hole against Chelsea and wound up tying 2-2. In the second game Juventus drew 1-1 against Shakhtar Donetsk before tying 1-1 with Nordsjaelland in the third game. The first win came against the Danish club, a 4-0 destruction at home. Juventus then put together a formidable 3-0 win over Chelsea before clinching the top spot in the group with a 1-0 win over Shakhtar. In the knockout rounds, Juventus drew against Celtic in the round of 16. The team won by a combined 5-0 aggregate score and was on its way to take on Bayern Munich in the second knockout rounds. Bayern Munich took down Juventus 4-0 across two legs with relative ease.
This Year's Expectations: The team has stated that getting to the knockout rounds is imperative and any victory thereafter would be a bonus. While the Italians should never be overlooked, the reality is that they are not expected to make a run past the quarterfinals this year.
How they got here: Galatasaray qualified by finishing atop the Turkish League.
How they did in last year's competition: Galatasaray was drawn into a group that included Manchester United, CFR Cluj and Braga. The team opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss against Manchester United and followed it with a 2-0 defeat against Braga. A 1-1 draw with Cluj at home seemed to set Galatasaray on course for an early exit but a 3-1 over Cluj win on the round proved defining. The team then managed a win over Manchester United and another over Braga on the road to clinch second place in the group and a meeting with a round of 16 opponent. That team proved to be German side Schalke 04. In the first leg the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw but the away leg proved decisive as Galatasaray managed a 3-2 victory. In the ensuing round, the team was dispatched by Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate.
This Year's Expectations: The Turkish kings have a tough hill to climb but could compete for one of the top two spots in this group.
How they got here: Copenhagen finished atop the Danish League during the 2012-13 season.
How they did in last year's competitions: The team did not qualify for the 2012-13 Champions League.
This year's Expectations: Copenhagen is the dark horse in the group and is expected to provide simple points for the other three teams.
Predictions: Madrid should win the group with relative ease while Juventus is expected to go through as the second place team. Galatasaray will look to have something to say about that, but will face a massive challenge attempting to take down two of the best sides in Europe.
Here is how it will play out:
1. Real Madrid : 4 wins, 2 draws, 14 points
2. Juventus: 3 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss, 11 points
3. Galatasaray: 1 win, 3 draws, 2 losses, 6 points
4. Copenhagen: 2 draws, 4 losses, 2 points
To read a Group A preview, click HERE.