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Champions League Fantasy Preview: UCL Group-C

We have two footballing powerhouses in Real Madrid and Napoli, joined by Braga and Union Berlin!

Jude Bellingham - Real Madrid CF - UEFA Champions League Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Champions League group C appears to have a significant disparity in strength — Italian champion Napoli and perennial powerhouse Real Madrid are poised to dominate, leaving Braga and debutant Union Berlin facing an uphill battle.

Braga secured a third-place finish in the Primera Liga last season behind Benfica and Porto to clinch Portugal’s final Champions League berth, narrowly beating out Sporting.

In contrast, Union Berlin’s ascent in the Bundesliga is remarkable, finishing fourth just four years after promotion to Germany’s top division. However, when pitted against the likes of Real Madrid and Napoli, it appears that Braga and Union Berlin will be contending for the third position in the group, the hope being to secure a spot in the Europa League knockout stages.

Real Madrid

UEFA Ranking: 3RD

Manager: Carlos Ancelotti

Qualified Via: Finishing 2nd in La Liga

2023 UCL finish: Semifinal exit


The spotlight is firmly fixed on Real Madrid, with fans and pundits alike questioning whether the club can rebound from last season’s semifinal heartbreak against Man City. A significant factor in this equation is the dazzling performance of new signing Jude Bellingham, who has already netted five goals and contributed an assist in just four appearances. This talented addition could prove instrumental in Real Madrid’s quest for success in the group stage.

Even though Real lost Karim Benzema to Al Ittihad and will likely miss Vinícius Júnior in early matches due to injury, history suggests that Los Blancos rarely struggle to do anything other than top their group. Historically, they’ve maintained an impressive record in the Champions League, not suffering group stage elimination since the distant year of 1962.

This remarkable statistic, combined with Carlo Ancelotti’s adept management, positions the team as strong favorites to secure the top spot in their group. As the competition unfolds, all eyes will be on Real Madrid as they aim to reassert their dominance on the European stage and strive to claim another Champions League title.


Formation: 4-4-2 (diamond)

Predicted Starting 11: Kepa, Carvajal, Alaba, Rudiger, Fran Garcia, Tchouameni, Modric, Camavinga, Bellingham, Rodrygo, Joselu.

Penalty takers: Joselu, Modric,

Free kicks: Modric, Kroos,

Corners: Kroos, Alaba

Fantasy Picks: Bellingham, Rodrygo, Alaba


UEFA Ranking: 17

Manager: Rudi Garcia

Qualified Via: Finishing 1st in Serie-A

2023 UCL finish: Quarterfinal exit


As league champion after a remarkable 33-year wait, Napoli enters the Champions League arena with renewed vigor. Under Rudi Garcia’s guidance, the team boasts the talents of Kvaratskhelia, who was crowned best player in Serie-A last season, and Osimhen, the league’s top scorer with an impressive tally of 26 goals.

They clinched the Serie-A title, punching their UCL ticket for a second consecutive year, following a round of 16 exit in the previous season. This time around, they are expected to navigate their group stage with confidence.

Although Napoli had to bid farewell to Kim Min-jae, there’s no shortage of star power in the lineup. Matteo Politano has kicked off the Serie-A season with a strong performance and is poised to make a significant impact in the UCL group stage. With a blend of seasoned champions and emerging talents, Napoli has all the ingredients for a successful campaign in Europe’s premier club competition.


Formation: 4-3-3

Predicted Starting 11: Meret; Di Lorenzo, Rrahmani, Juan Jesus, Mario Rui; Anguissa, Lobotka, Zielinski; Politano, Osimhen, Kvaratskhelia.

Penalty takers: Victor Osimhen

Free kicks: Kvaratskhelia

Corners: Kvaratskhelia

Fantasy Picks: Kvaratskhelia, Osimhen

SC Braga

UEFA Ranking: 33

Manager: Artur Jorge

Qualified Via: Finished 3rd in Primeira Liga

2023 UCL finish: N/A


Braga’s extensive European experience could very well tip the scales as the Portuguese club contends with Union Berlin for the coveted third spot in the group. Braga marks a return to UCL group stages after an eleven year absence. This resurgence comes on the heels of impressive qualifying victories over both TSC Bačka Topola and Panathinaikos.

This Champions League campaign represents a significant milestone in Braga’s storied history. Stepping onto the grand European stage alongside giants like Real Madrid and Napoli ignites excitement among football enthusiasts worldwide. It’s a chance to showcase mettle against some of the most formidable teams in the competition and prove that the Portuguese club belongs among the elite.

As the club navigates this challenging group, the footballing world will be keenly watching to see how Braga fares against the likes of Real and Napoli, setting the stage for some intriguing storylines in the Champions League.


Formation: 4-3-3

Predicted Starting 11: Matheus; Gomez, Fonte, Saatci, Marin; Carvalho, A Horta; Lopes, Pizzi, Bruma; Ruiz.

Penalty takers: Ricardo Horta

Free kicks: Pizzi

Corners: Pizzi

Fantasy Picks: Pizzi, Ruiz

Union Berlin

UEFA Ranking: 72

Manager: Urs Fischer

Qualified Via: Finished 4th in Bundesliga

2023 UCL Finish: N/A


Union Berlin’s remarkable footballing fairytale continues to captivate. Fan enthusiasm is palpable as the Germans prepare to fill the Olympiastadion to capacity for all their home matches. With an impressive start to the new league season, marked by consecutive 4-1 victories, Urs Fischer’s side is proving to be a formidable force — one bolstered by the big addition of Italy captain Leonardo Bonucci signed from Juventus last week.

In the modern UCL landscape, romantic narratives are often in short supply. However, 14-time European champion Real Madrid stepping onto the hallowed turf of 22,000-seat Stadion An der Alten Forsterei will undoubtedly become one of those unforgettable moments etched into the hearts of Union Berlin fans for generations to come.

Rooted in the legacy of East Germany, Union Berlin faced turbulent financial challenges in the 1990s, twice teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. The ascent to the Bundesliga didn’t materialize until 2019, which makes the prospect of encountering Real Madrid in the Champions League an extraordinary and rare fairytale for the competition. This David vs. Goliath clash promises to be a cherished chapter in Union Berlin’s remarkable footballing journey.


Formation: 3-4-3

Predicted Starting 11: Ronnow, Doekhi, Bonnuci, Liete, Jurnaovic, Laidouni, Khedira, Aaronson, Gosens, Volland, Behrens

Penalty takers: Volland

Free kicks: Christopher Trimmel

Corners: Christopher Trimmel

Fantasy Picks: Aaronson, Volland, Gosens

Prediction for the Group:

1st: Napoli, 2nd: Real Madrid, 3rd: Union Berlin, 4th S.C.Braga


What is your prediction for this group? Which stars from Group-C do you think will shine brightest? Please take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments!



Which club will win Group C?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Real Madrid
    (27 votes)
  • 20%
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    S.C. Braga
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Union Berlin
    (0 votes)
35 votes total Vote Now