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Shakhtar, Man City, Napoli, Feyenoord in Champions League Group F

Now that the Champions League draw has been completed, here's a preview for Group F. Who do you think will go through?

Predicted finish

1. Manchester City
2. Napoli
3. Feyenoord
4. Shakhtar Donetsk

Shakhtar Donetsk  

The team without a home thanks to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Shakhtar will play their home games Kharkiv, 150 miles north of Donetsk. That's an improvement on their last temporary base -- Lviv, 780 miles west, which is about the distance between London and Madrid. Their squad, led by manager Paulo Fonseca, is relatively settled, captained as ever by Darijo Srna, featuring the usual Brazilian enclave (eight in the squad at present) and the main goal threat from Argentine Facundo Ferreryra. 

Manchester City  

Is Pep Guardiola the Champions League's most under-pressure manager? A disappointing first season was followed by enormous spending, but perhaps all of the recruits will be moot unless Guardiola can figure out how to get them playing together effectively. His debut season in England can be excused as a "bedding in" year, but if progress isn't made both domestically and in Europe this term, questions will be asked.

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City will be delighted with the draw and will be big favourites to win Group F.


There is rarely a dull moment at Napoli under Maurizio Sarri although, despite rapid-fire starts to both legs, they were exposed clinically by Real Madrid in last season's round of 16. Italy's great entertainers -- they scored 94 times in Serie A last term, eventually finishing third -- have had a quiet summer with winger Adam Ounas, from Bordeaux, and Roma left-back Mario Rui the only major signings so far. More reinforcements would go down well although the manner of their 4-0 aggregate playoff win against Nice suggests they are equipped to enthral again.


Giovanni van Bronckhorst is among the most underrated managers in Europe. In three seasons at Feyenoord he's won a domestic cup and league title, all with a collection of broadly unheralded players, and now he has a crack at the Champions League. The challenge now is to cope with being one of those teams whose best players are picked off: Rick Karsdorp and Terence Kongolo have left, and Dirk Kuyt retired. The true test of Van Bronckhorst will be how he manages under those circumstances.

Game of the group

Napoli vs. Manchester City -- Probably the most open group in the draw, any combination of teams could make it through. City will be favourites to top the group, but it's their trip to southern Italy that stands out. Big teams often get caught out there, so it will be fascinating to see how Guardiola's side manage that trip.

X factor

Feyenoord -- It being an unpredictable group, there's always a chance that the theoretically worst side could make an impression. Van Bronckhorst has surprised a few people in the Netherlands, so could he do it again in Europe?

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.


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