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John Brewin profile picture Posted by John Brewin
Aug 28, 2014

Arsenal and Dortmund are favourites in Group D

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop predicts the sleepers and biggest disappointments for this year's group stage.

The Champions League draw has been finalised. Here's a preview for Group D:

Predicted finish

1. Arsenal
2. Borussia Dortmund
3. Galatasaray
4. Anderlecht

Arsenal (Soccer Power Index (SPI) chance to advance: 69.5 percent)

Arsenal are perennials -- this is their 17th consecutive appearance in the group stage, and in 15 consecutive seasons have the Gunners made the knockout rounds. Arsene Wenger really does know best when it comes to negotiating this stage of the competition. Alexis Sanchez is the star addition to a squad that drips with talent but which may still be short of the capability of going deep into the latter stages. 

Borussia Dortmund (SPI: 80.8 percent)

Despite dwindling resources, as Bayern Munich continue to pick off their playing talent, Dortmund remain a most dangerous team to draw. Their main asset is, of course, Jurgen Klopp, and the coach fully believes he can make it to next May's final in Berlin. Dortmund and Arsenal each won at the other's home in the group stage last season, and Group D will depend on those head-to-head fixtures again.

Galatasaray (SPI: 41.1 percent)

Straight into the group as a result of Fenerbahce's suspension for match-fixing, Gala are entering a new era under the control of Cesare Prandelli, who returned to club management after quitting Italy earlier this summer. As ever, an away trip to Istanbul will be troublesome, but the Turkish giants, despite reaching the quarters two years ago, do not have the strength to challenge the experience of Arsenal or Dortmund.

Anderlecht (SPI: 8.6 percent)

Having won three Belgian titles in a row, they are regulars in the Champions League but have only once made it past the group stage following the reformation of the old European Cup. Serbian teenage sensation Aleksander Miktrovic might be the next player off the production line but the Brussels club present little threat to anybody.

John Brewin

Based in London, from where he covers the Premier League and Champions League for ESPN FC. He reported from the 2010 and 2014 World Cups and was formerly a senior editor of ESPNsoccernet.

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