Bayern Munich's Mario Mandzukic (3rdL) celebrates with team mates a goal against FSV Mainz 05 during their Bundesliga match (Reuters) (Photo : Reuters)
The 2012-13 Champions League Group Stage sees its first round of games take place on Tuesday. 32 club squads will compete to see which will prevail Europe's top club. Here is a look at Group F.
The runner ups from last season's Champions League return this year with as much chance to win it all as they did last season. German national keeper Manuel Neuer, Phillipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweingsteiger, Javi Martinez, Toni Korrs, Mario Gomez, Mario Manduzkic, and Claudio Pizarro comprise one of the deepest squads in the tournament. Expect them to take control of Group F with facility.
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After a third place finish in the French Ligue 1 last season, Lille has gotten off to a rocky start with only one win in five matches and a 12th place start. Despite an impressive win over Copenhagen to enter the champions League, this squad is going to be happy to rack up one or two wins in this group. A third place finish is likely their ceiling, but they may surprise as they did last season.
Valencia has struggled in the Spanish League this season and will look to get back in fom in their first match against Bayern Munich. A squad with Andres Guardado, Daniel Parejo, Juan Bernat, Roberto Soldado, Carlos Delgado, Joao Pereira, and Jonas should not be overlooked as this squad has a great chance at second place in the group.
FC Bate Borisov
The Belarusian club starts their Champion League season against Lille and an opportunity to show that they are for real. Not many pundits give them a chance, but they could make some noise. However, a third place finish at most is what should be expected from this squad.
|WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Bayern Munich||v||Valencia||Group F||Allianz Arena|
|2:45 ET||Lille||v||BATE Borisov||Group F||Grand Stade Lille Métropole|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012|
|2:45 ET||BATE Borisov||v||Bayern Munich||Group F||Horodskiy Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Valencia||v||Lille||Group F||Estadio Mestalla|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012|
|2:45 ET||BATE Borisov||v||Valencia||Group F||Horodskiy Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Lille||v||Bayern Munich||Group F||Grand Stade Lille Métropole|
|WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Valencia||v||BATE Borisov||Group F||Estadio Mestalla|
|2:45 ET||Bayern Munich||v||Lille||Group F||Allianz Arena|
|TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2012|
|2:45 ET||BATE Borisov||v||Lille||Group F||Horodskiy Stadium|
|2:45 ET||Valencia||v||Bayern Munich||Group F||Estadio Mestalla|
|WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Lille||v||Valencia||Group F||Grand Stade Lille Métropole|
|2:45 ET||Bayern Munich||v||BATE Borisov||Group F||Allianz Arena|
Bayern Munich: 6 wins, 18 pts
Valencia: 3 wins, 2 losses, 1 draw, 10 pts
Lille: 2 wins, 3 losses, 1 draw, 7 pts
BATE Borisov: 6 losses, 0 pts
Bayern Munich sweeps through the group while Valencia cleans up after them.
Read about other groups at the Champions League.
Group A Preview: ASG, FC Porto, Dyano Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb
Group B Preview: Olympiakos, Montpelier, Schalke 04, Arsenal
Group C Preview: AC Milan, Malaga, Zenit St Petersburg, Anderlecht
Group D Preview: Real madrid, Manchester City, Ajax, Borussia Dortmund
Group E Preview: Juventus, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, FC Nordsjaelland
Group F Preview: Bayern Munich, Valencia, Lille, Bate Borisov
Group G Preview: Barcelona, Benfica, Spartak Moscow, Celtic
Group H Preview : Manchester United, Braga, Galatasaray, CFR Cluj-Napoca