Manchester United (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 H.
Braga enters the group with a great chance to progress. They made it at the last second with a shootout win over Udinese but have been mediocre in the Portuguese league with a 1-1- 1 record to start. They will rely heavily on midfielders Alan and Rúben Micael if they want to get far in this round. The most success they have had in a European tournament was at the 2010-11 Europa League when they went to the final but lost to FC Porto. With a wide open group, it is not hard to believe that second place is not out of reach for them.
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The Romanian club gets a shot at making it out of the group, a feat they have never accomplished at this level. In their first amtch, they take on Braga, a squad they know a lot about. Six players on the squad are from Portugual while three of those six used to be on Braga. Key players for Cluj are forwards Pantelis Kapetanos and Ronny as well as midfielder and former Braga player Rafael Bastos. With a wide open group and what seems like an edge on Braga this team could be on to the knockout stages.
The most experience Turkish side at the Champions League returns once more to try and make a big run. This squad currently sits atop their league with three wins and a draw in four matches. They are a dark horse to win second place in the group, though that is still wide open with the other three squads more than capable of competing up to the same level. Galatasaray gets the misfortune of starting against group Favorite Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men must have been thrilled when they were drawn into this group. To call them favorites is an understatement; this is Man U's group to lose. David de Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Alexander Buttner, Nani, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Paul Scholes, Javier Hernandez, and Robin Van Persie make up one of the deepest squads in the tournament and the best squad in this group barring no exceptions. A loss for Man U in this group stage would be shocking.
|WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Manchester United||v||Galatasaray||Group H||Old Trafford|
|2:45 ET||Braga||v||CFR Cluj-Napoca||Group H||Braga Municipal|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2012|
|2:45 ET||CFR Cluj-Napoca||v||Manchester United||Group H||Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu|
|2:45 ET||Galatasaray||v||Braga||Group H||Türk Telekom Arena|
|TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Manchester United||v||Braga||Group H||Old Trafford|
|2:45 ET||Galatasaray||v||CFR Cluj-Napoca||Group H||Türk Telekom Arena|
|WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012|
|2:45 ET||CFR Cluj-Napoca||v||Galatasaray||Group H||Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu|
|2:45 ET||Braga||v||Manchester United||Group H||Braga Municipal|
|TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Galatasaray||v||Manchester United||Group H||Türk Telekom Arena|
|2:45 ET||CFR Cluj-Napoca||v||Braga||Group H||Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu|
|WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2012|
|2:45 ET||Manchester United||v||CFR Cluj-Napoca||Group H||Old Trafford|
|2:45 ET||Braga||v||Galatasaray||Group H||Braga Municipal|
Manchester United: 6 wins, 18 pts
Galatasaray: 2 wins, 2 losses, 2 draws, 8 pts
Braga: 1 win, 1 draw, 4 loses, 4 pts
CFR Cluj: 1 win, 1 draw, 4 losses, 4 pts.
Manchester United wipes the floor with the group. Galatasaray gets buy with a few timely wins over the other two clubs.
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