Champions League: fans from all 32 clubs share their hopes and expectations

We spoke to 32 fans and only four of them – the Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Monaco supporters – predicted that their club will win it

Arsenal

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? Arsenal need to go further than the last 16. It’s been a long time since we’ve done it but if we want players such as Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez to sign new deals we’re going to have to show we’re making progress. A win in Paris would also send out a message against a PSG side who, on paper, look slightly weaker than they did last season.

What do you need to succeed? The key to a successful campaign is to keep the likes of Özil and Sanchez fit. We must also stop conceding sloppy goals and losing to teams we’re expected to beat – like we did last season. We’ve made two really good defensive signings in Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi. I’m hoping they both step up when it matters. We have goals in us but really need to shore up at the back. Marc Nellis

Arsenal
Will Shkodran Mustafi shore up Arsenal’s defence? Photograph: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Atlético Madrid

How far will you go? Winners

What are your hopes? Having come so close to winning the competition in two of the last three seasons, my hope is to win it this time. We’ve made a slow start to the Primera this season, but the Champions League is a competition that suits Atlético, and Diego Simeone can play a very canny tactical game in the knockout stages. I think the team can go all the way this season. A repeat of last season’s final but with the opposite result would go down well!

What do you need to succeed? The defence has been rock solid for some time, so the key will be at the other end of the pitch. Will the likes of Kévin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann be able to nick enough goals to allow Atleti to progress? I suspect they will, especially as I expect Gameiro to show better form in front of goal than Jackson Martínez managed in his spell at the club. Additionally, I really hope that progress in this season’s competition won’t be decided by Juanfran’s penalty-taking abilities. Will

Atletico Madrid
Kevin Gameiro celebrates after scoring against Alaves. Photograph: Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA

Barcelona

How far will you go? Winners

What are your hopes? The key will be winning Group C. After that, we should have no problem in the round of 16 and quarter-finals. Semi-finals should be our minimal goal, with an added expectation of getting to the final and win the title again. Hopes are high.

What do you need to succeed? Having Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar fit and healthy is going to play a crucial part. I also think the club have invested well in the squad over the summer. This should increase our chances of success both domestically and in Europe. Jordi Brunet Espuela

Barcelona
Lionel Messi celebrates with Neymar after scoring against Sevilla. Photograph: Manu Fernandez/AP

Basel

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? We usually do well against English clubs in the Champions League, so while matching PSG will be a stretch, we can cause a nervy-looking Arsenal problems. There’s no real pressure on us to do well and that will work in Basel’s favour.

What do you need to succeed? For us to have a successful campaign we need to work hard as a team and be compact at the back. We can’t afford to concede any sloppy goals. Botteron

Can Matias Delgado and Basel get through a tough looking Group A?
Can Matias Delgado and Basel get through a tough looking Group A? Photograph: Simon Hofmann/Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? We should be aiming to top Group E, with Tottenham the only real serious challengers for the top spot. Monaco and CSKA Moscow look beatable, although travelling to Russia is always tough. I would possibly take a draw there as long as we get all three points in our home game. I’m looking forward to the trip to London.

What do you need to succeed? If we do well in the group stage, there’s nothing to suggest we won’t be able to reach the quarter-finals at the very least. Our attack of Javier Hernández and Kevin Volland is as good a strikeforce as any on their day. And our Slovenian midfield genius Kevin Kampl will do a great job as always. I have high hopes for the team this year. Albert Röpke

Bayer Leverkusen’s Kevin Volland in action against Borussia Moenchengladbach on the first day of the new Bundesliga season at the stadium at Borussia-Park in Moenchengladbach, Germany, 27 August 2016.
Kevin Volland in action against Borussia Moenchengladbach on the first day of the new Bundesliga season. Photograph: Maja Hitij/EPA

Bayern Munich

How far will you go? Final

What are your hopes? Carlo Ancelotti is here to do what Pep Guardiola couldn’t manage – win the Champions League. Naturally injuries will play a major factor but our squad looks better and Ancelotti’s laid back approach seems better suited to the team. In fairness, I would be satisfied with a final appearance but anything less would have to be seen as a failure.

What do you need to succeed? Injuries have been key for us in recent campaigns, but it’s particularly crucial to keep Jérôme Boateng fit. Without him our defence looks worryingly slow. A little bit of me is hoping to see Javi Martínez pushed back into midfield as I have fond memories of him playing there in 2013 persist. Arturo Vidal is looking like he has become central to our side. I am very much looking forward to his performances this season. Jonny

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng signs autographs at a recent sponsorship event.
Jérôme Boateng signs autographs. Photograph: Pixathlon/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

Borussia Dortmund

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? After a year’s absence it would be nice to re-establish ourselves on the main European stage. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy our Europa League campaign last season, until the painful defeat against Liverpool in the quarter-final. Every professional sports team is constantly changing. Dortmund are no exception from that rule. We had a terrific domestic season last year and have signed very well since the departure of Mats Hummels.

What do you need to succeed? Thomas Tuchel is one of the best coaches in Europe and, with experienced international players such as Marco Reus and Andrè Schürrle, the BvB should surely pass the group stage. The players will need to stay hungry for each of the group games though; there’s no room for complacency. If all goes to plan, anything less than the quarter-finals this season will be a disappointment. Jens

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund are back in the Champions League after a one year absence.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Borussia Dortmund are back in the Champions League after a season in the Europa League. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Borussia Mönchengladbach

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? I expect us to fall well short of the knockout stage. Getting the better of both Barcelona and Manchester City will be too tough a challenge for us. We should be able to leave Celtic behind us and reach the Europa League though, which would be a fantastic achievement.

What do you need to succeed? Our team cannot only play possession football but our pacey wingers mean we’re also extremely dangerous on the counter-attack. In recent years Borussia Mönchengladbach have been a bit naive when playing against the big teams. If they’re able to play a bit smarter and keep their concentration throughout the full 90 minutes this time around, they might even be able to exceed expectations. For now though I’m keeping my feet on the ground. Dominik Marcel van Treel

CL
Borussia Monchengladbach players celebrate with their fans after defeating Young Boys in the Champions League qualifiers. Photograph: Pixathlon/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

Benfica

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? I expect Benfica to make it through a group featuring Besiktas, Dynamo Kyiv and Napoli. Last year we managed to beat finalists Atletico Madrid, who were in our group, so this year it may be easier navigating our way out of Group B.

What do you need to succeed? As the most expensive signing from one Portuguese club to another, Rafa Silva comes from Braga with a big reputation and a rightfully earned one. His acceleration and overall intelligence is something that we will be needing following Renato Sanches’s departure. We managed to keep defender Victor Lindelöf, who will only get better following his great performances last year. Truth be told Benfica are a club that constantly have a huge turnout of players year in and year out,so every year it seems we start from scratch. This time around our most potent attackers Konstantinos Mitroglou and Jonas have also stayed. Miguel

Benfica
Jonas in action for Benfica against CD Nacional Funchal. Photograph: Rui Silva/AFP/Getty Images

Besiktas

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? While Group B looks very competitive, Besiktas have a well structured and balanced team that can get through it. We are constantly improving and have a good mix of talented young players who are capable of exciting the crowd and internationally experienced players who can keep the team grounded when concentration and discipline is needed.

What do you need to succeed? The performance of our defenders is key. Also, if midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup and promising Brazilian Anderson Talisca find the right tune, Besiktas could surprise football fans across Europe with their displays. The group is also tricky and balanced group. Benfica, Dynamo Kiev and Napoli are also well organised and tough teams. However, in a group with no clear favourites Besiktas could progress. Devin Bahceci

Besiktas’ Gokhan Tore celebrates with fans after winning the Turkish Super League Championship earlier this year.
Gokhan Tore celebrates with fans earlier this year. Photograph: Cem Turkel/EPA

Celtic

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? Having experienced three years out of the competition, the fact that Celtic have made it is an achievement in itself. Not only does this bring some serious financial gain to the coffers, it will bring a rocking atmosphere back to Parkhead. This was missing during the dreary and highly unproductive years of Norwegian head coach Ronny Deila.

Despite all his flaws, Brendan Rodgers has seemed to reinvigorate our team with smart signings such as Kolo Touré and hot prospect Moussa Dembélé, along with re-establishing a swagger to our attacking displays which was desperately lacking under Deila. Ten goals in the first three games of the new season demonstrates the excitement that he has brought back to our football. With some nervy and stuttering performances against minnows in the playoffs (losing the first leg to Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps was not a highlight!), Celtic will find it extremely difficult to compete with the highly talented Borussia Monchengladbach, the financial might of Manchester City and the little team from Catalonia called Barcelona.

Our defensive ineptitude will be sorely tested against teams of this calibre, especially in our away performances which in the playoffs were meek and timid. Rodgers also has a poor record on the European stage, with Liverpool’s dreadful exit in the 2014 Champions League highlighting his team’s lack of coherent defensive structure and plan. So although I think that it will be highly unlikely that we get out of the group, I am just thrilled to have high-quality football back at Parkhead with a quality manager. You never know, we could pull a surprise against one of the big boys!

What do you need to succeed? In order to have any chance at getting out of the group, Leigh Griffiths needs to replicate the form that he has demonstrated both for Hibernian and Celtic. His goals will be sorely needed for us to be competitive against this horrendously tough group. Tom Rogic has been terrific for us since his return from injury and his creative spark in the centre of the pitch will be very important. Adam Winters

Coach Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers celebrates at the end of the qualifier against Hapoel Beer Sheva. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

CSKA Moscow

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? Our head coach Leonid Slutsky had a dreadful summer with Russia at Euro 2016, but we’re delighted he chose to return to CSKA. With him in charge we could aim for the quarter-finals, like we did during his first epic campaign in 2009.

What do you need to succeed? We need to be strong at the back, and the defensive belt of goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev and central defenders Vasili Berezutskiy and Sergei Ignashevich need to be much more solid than it was for the national team in France. We have a strong midfield containing Bibras Natcho, a fit again Alan Dzagoev, Roman Eremenko, Pontus Wernbloom and Zoran Tosic. Aleksei Ionov’s season-long loan from poor relegated Dynamo Moscow can also be a game changer. L dos Santos

CSKA Moscow
Pontus Wernbloom celebrates after scoring against Zenit St Petersburg. Photograph: Alexander Demianchuk/TASS

Club Brugge

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Club Brugge are in the Champions League group stage for the first time in 11 years. We’re happy with the draw too; there are no superpowers in Group G and it looks like anyone could beat anyone. While we want to make the most of our chance, I’d be happy with keeping one of the other teams behind us and qualify for the Europa League. But I imagine that, aside from Porto, fans from the other teams all think their team have done well to get so far and are happy to bow out in the group stage. But someone has to progress and I don’t see why it can’t be us.

What do you need to succeed? Head coach Michel Preud’homme was a legend as a player and is held in high regard after getting us into this year’s competition. The only real worry for Brugge fans is that we’ve struggled domestically this season. Three defeats in six league games is well below par and nowhere near the level that earned us the Belgian Pro League title last season. Keep an eye out for our impressive Colombian winger Jose Izquierdo who has recently returned from injury. He has the ability to cause our opponents lots of defensive headaches. I’m going to stay optimistic and say we’ll sneak through, before falling down to earth with a bump at the Nou Camp in the earliest knock-out stage. Louis

Club Brugge
Abdoulay Diaby celebrates after scoring for Brugge against RSC Anderlecht. Photograph: Virginie Lefour/AFP/Getty Images

FC Copenhagen

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? Our main objective has to be maintaining the brilliant home record in the club’s fourth Champions League appearance. In the nine games played at Parken we have won five of them – defeating Manchester United, Celtic, Rubin Kazan, Panathinaikos and Galatasaray – drawn three – against Benfica, Barcelona and Juventus – and only lost once – against Real Madrid. The flipside of this must be to rectify our awful away record, where we have come away with just the one victory and eight miserable defeats.

What do you need to succeed? Keeping Parken a fortress will require maximum concentration at the back, with some individual brilliance in attack. We have a multinational group of younger players, and almost everyone is playing for their national sides. Coach Stale Solbakken has steadied the ship after coming back from his unsuccessful spells at Cologne and Wolverhampton. He has the Champions League experience the younger players lacks. If Copenhagen can win one of the home matches and avoid defeat in the two others it should be possible to see European football at Parken next spring in the Europa League – but my hopes are not much higher than that. Having said that, I’m very happy with being teamed up with Leicester City, Porto and Brugge. The draw could not have been more favourable for us and we’ll have a chance against all of them. Lars Bøgegaard

FC Copenhagen
Stale Solbakken and his players celebrate after advancing to the group stage. Photograph: Sakis Savvides/AFP/Getty Images

Dinamo Zagreb

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? Last season’s Champions League campaign was extremely disappointing. A 2-1 home victory against Arsenal 2-1 was as good as it got as we finished fourth in the group. Having scraped through to a tough looking Group H by narrowly overcoming Red Bull Salzburg, my hopes of reaching the knockout stage is zero.

What do you need to succeed? The form of our attacking midfielder Ante Coric will be absolutely key if we’re to get any goals, but it will take a miracle to avoid another group stage debacle. Our team is that weak. Igor

Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb players before their playoff against Red Bull Salzburg. Photograph: GmbH/Rex/Shutterstock

Dynamo Kyiv

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Last year was a fantastic campaign for Dynamo as they reached the knockout stages for the first time since 1998-99. The renaissance under Serhiy Rebrov has been brilliant, with two titles and the European run. So the hope is that they will once again make it out of the group, although this time it may be more difficult given the level of the opposition.

What do you need to succeed? The key to Champions League success is winning at home. The group is really difficult with four evenly balanced sides. Ukraine is traditionally a difficult place for opposition sides to visit and Dynamo will need to make the NSC Olympiyskyi a fortress if they want to qualify. Dynamo earned five of their 11 points at home in the previous campaign and will need to improve on this to qualify this time around. The form of Andriy Yarmolenko will also be crucial. Dynamo have held on to their key man despite him signalling his desire to leave. Peter Chymera

Dynamo Kyiv
Serhiy Rebrov will be hoping to take his team to the knockout stages for the second year running. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Juventus

How far will you go? Semi-finals

What are your hopes? Winning the competition would be perfect but I’d settle for a semi-final spot. With the shrewd acquisitions the club have made this summer, we’re in prime position to launch a decent Champions League campaign. Over the years we’ve lost key players in Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Paul Pogba, but replacements such as Miralem Pjanic, Gonzalo Higuaín, Dani Alves and Juan Cuadrado have settled in nicely. The return of Kwadwo Asamoah could essentially be looked upon as a new signing.

What do you need to succeed? The consistency of Higuaín up front will be vital. He didn’t impress in his previous European spells at Real Madrid and Napoli. He needs to establish a goalscoring partnership with Paulo Dybala. I’m not convinced this is the man to lead the club to Champions League glory. The midfield of Pjanic, Sami Khedira and Claudio Marchisio looks excellent though, and has softened the loss of Pogba considerably. Dani Alves has bags of experience and Mario Manduzkic, Mario Lemina and Stefano Sturaro give the squad sufficient depth for a long campaign. We’ll do well in the competition this year. Hamza

Juventus
Juventus players celebrate against Lazio. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

Legia Warsaw

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? Legia have qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time since the club’s tournament debut back in 1995. They are the first Polish club to do so since 1996, so it’s a great success for Legia and for Polish football. We’re in a very demanding group – Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting will all fancy maximum points against us – so it’s going to be extremely hard.

It won’t come as a shock if Legia lose most of their matches, but I hope we’ll see some good competitive games. It’s also hard to be optimistic considering Legia’s domestic results this season so far. After eight games in the league, we’re closer to the bottom of the table than the top. We had a lot of luck in the Champions League qualifying rounds too.

What do you need to succeed? We do have some great players. Our Hungarian centre forward Nemanja Nikolics scored 28 goals in the league last season, Michal Pazdan was one of Poland’s best defenders at Euro 2016 and our veteran goalkeeper Arkadiusz Malarz is the heart of the team. Even if the club finishes bottom of the group, the six group matches will be a great opportunity for our devoted (and loud!) fans to show off their amazing choreographies, flags and other elements that earned them notoriety in their national league. We are in for some epic spectacles that will be remembered for years to come. Lukasz

LegiaWarsaw fans raise scarves and light flaresduring their Champions League qualifier against Dundalk at the Polish Army Stadium, Warsaw, 23 Aug 2016.
Legia Warsaw fans during their qualifier against Dundalk. Photograph: Press Focus/SIPA/Rex/Shutterstock

Leicester City

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Some journalists and pundits have pitying our draw for the lack of a “big team” but I’m with the majority of fans, who couldn’t be happier. Three fun cities that are relatively close and, more importantly, Leicester have a real chance of progressing. My hopes are to have the same level of excitement as last season, even if it all ends in Group G.

What do you need to succeed? The key to us performing well will be other teams underestimating us and allowing us to play on the break. We have ridiculous pace and have added depth to the squad, which will allow us to do well in Europe as well as in the league. I’ve just had a my first child so I’m waiting for a good moment to tell my girlfriend that I’m going to all six group games. Tom

Leicester
Jeff Schlupp, Riyad Mahrez and Danny Simpson in training. Photograph: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Imag

Ludogorets

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? It’s been three years since our memorable run into the last 16 of the Champions League, when the team produced memorable wins over PSV and Dinamo Zagreb in the group stages, and eliminated Lazio in the first knock-out round. Valencia consequently proved too strong over two legs.

Since then we have been very disappointing in the Champions League, finishing bottom of our group two seasons ago while not even making it past the second qualifying round last year. So it’s good to be back in the Champions League, although hopes and expectations are paper thin.

Our only realistic hope is finishing third and qualifying for the Europa League. That might sound a bit defeatist but realistically Arsenal and PSG are much too strong for us. We’ll need to have a “cup final mentality” every other week and it just isn’t possible. We’ll aim to draw our home games against PSG and Arsenal, while beating Basel at least once. Whatever happens I’ll be at all three homes games in Sofia cheering the team on. Teodor Stoynov

Lyon

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Group H looks highly competitive. Juventus and Sevilla will surely be favourites to progress as they both have a good recent history in European tournaments. We’ll be looking to upset the odds a little bit though, but my expectations before the tournament are low. We should focus on winning our three homes games and try to put on three good away performances in the hope that will get us a few bonus points. Then we’ll see where we can go from there.

What do you need to succeed? We may have kept hold of Alexandre Lacazette, but he has rejected a contract extension at Lyon so will be on the move sooner rather than later. It’s important this doesn’t overshadow any performances on the pitch and that Nabil Fekir and Lacazette can find the required rhythm. Defensively we need to stay solid and alert if we are to have any chance. It’s a tall order but Lyon will do their best to progress from the group stages. Aditya

Lyon
Nabil Fekir in action for Lyon against Dijon. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images

Manchester City

How far will you go? Winners

What are your hopes? Anything but semi-finals will be a failure. My hopes this season are to win the thing. We have the squad and now, after years of searching, we have the manager. I could take a semi-final exit if we have played well and battled hard, a massive improvement on our damp-squib exit last year. Winning Group C is our first priority. It all depends on our head-to-heads with Barcelona.

What do you need to succeed? Keeping Sergio Agüero fit is essential. Every year he has his injury-laden few months. This normally coincides with the heavy fixture list around early Christmas and it takes time for him to find form again. Hopefully now with Leroy Sané in the team, the burden can be passed occasionally to keep Sergio fresh for those important away days in Europe. Just as important is making sure we find a solid defensive partnership. Whether that be John Stones and Vincent Kompany or Stones and Nicolás Otamendi, they need have a good understanding by the business end of the season. Ben Anthony

Leroy Sane warms up during a training session ahead of the Champions League qualifier against Steaua Bucharest, 23 Aug 2016.
Leroy Sané in training. Photograph: McNulty/JMP/Rex/Shutterstock

Monaco

How far will you go? Winners

What are your hopes? Ideally I’d like us to win the competition. Our squad isn’t as talented as the “golden generation” of 1986-87, but it’s decent enough to progress deep into the tournament.

What do you need to succeed? I have faith in head coach Leonardo Jardim and players like goalkeeper Danijel Subašić will be key to our success. The good times in European football might well be coming back to Stade Loius II this season. Ahmed al-Mansour

Monaco
Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic in action against Paris Saint-Germain in August. Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Napoli

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? This will be Napoli’s third time in the Champions League in the last five seasons. The last time, under Rafa Benítez, Napoli went out despite picking 12 points from their group stage matches – the only time that ever happened in the tournament’s history. This season expectations are slightly higher, and we expect to progress through Group B relatively easily. But the team is very young so anything can happen.

What do you need to succeed? Our ability to defend when under pressure will be the major factor in deciding how far Napoli will go. Giannivo

Marek Hamsik
Marek Hamsik celebrates after scoring against Palermo. Photograph: Mike Palazzotto/EPA

Paris Saint-Germain

How far will you go? Semi-finals
What are your hopes? Many supporters suggest we are weaker than last season after the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a stuttering start to the season. We scraped unconvincing wins against Bastia and Metz before deservedly losing to Monaco before the international break. The latest league game, a 1-1 draw against Saint-Etienne, was hardly convincing either. But with Edinson Cavani and Ángel Di María returning for the Arsenal game, we should be stronger than our recent league form suggests. Hatem Ben Arfa is frustratingly inconsistent, but this is nothing new.

What do you need to succeed? If we can get off to a good start against Arsenal, I think we’ll top Group A easily. Particularly as I fancy Arsenal to do one of their specials and drop points away to either Basel or Ludogorets – or both! In the knockout stages I’d like to see some real progress and only a run into the last four of the competition would leave me completely satisfied. Robert

Paris Saint-Germain players take part in a training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League match against Arsenal at the Ooredoo training centre in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris.
Paris Saint-Germain players take part in a training session before their match against Arsenal. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Porto

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Realistically I hope we get out of the group and do not meet a European giant until the quarters. The team has improved from last season but it lacks the aggression and discipline required to grind out results. Our defence is slightly improved compared to last year. Brazilian attacking midfielder Otávio and striker Andre Silva can link well, and Yacine Brahimi deciding to stay was positive one. Loan signing Óliver Torres looks exciting and we have enough quality to get out of Group G. We’re still unlikely to trouble any of the big teams though. Daniu

FC Porto players celebrate after scoring a goal against Sporting CP at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 28, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal.
FC Porto players celebrate after scoring a goal against Sporting CP at Estadio Jose Alvalade on August 28, 2016 in Lisbon, Portugal. Photograph: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

PSV Eindhoven

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? Group D looks too strong for us to progress any further sadly. We should focus on putting on respectable performances against Atlético Madrid and Bayern Munich while battling FC Rostov for third place so that we can continue our European adventure in the Europa League.

What do you need to succeed? I hope Luuk De Jong’s goalscoring rate continues and that new loanees Oleksandr Zinchenko and Siem De Jong integrate well in an established team. JR Lagace

Siem de Jong signs autographs for fans as he attends a PSV Eindhoven training session on 23 August 2016.
Siem de Jong signs autographs for fans as he attends a PSV Eindhoven training session on 23 August 2016. Photograph: Bart Maat/EPA

Real Madrid

How far will you go? Semi-finals

What are your hopes? Real Madrid are going to perform well in this competition, but might struggle to hold on to the trophy next May. Zidane knows how to cope with a squad that is very similar to that of the previous season and his early days as first-team coach have been excellent. There’s no reason he can’t inspire the side to at least have an honest attempt at retaining the trophy.

What do you need to succeed? The key will be in the progress of Marco Asensio and Mariano Diaz, who have stepped up from the youth team in a year in which Real Madrid haven’t been allowed to sign anybody. It doesn’t bother me that we have hungry young players challenging the more experienced players though. Both those young players can become extremely useful. Alberto

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mates in training this week. Photograph: Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images

FC Rostov

How far will you go? Group stage

What are your hopes? I was lucky enough to witness FC Rostov’s incredible run in the Russian Premier League last season. It was nothing short of sensational considering their resources. I hope we can make a good showing of ourselves, but both Bayern and Atlético Madrid will be of a different calibre to any team Rostov have ever faced before. Qualifying for the knockout round is out of the question. But I don’t think it’s impossible to think we can get the edge over PSV and take third spot and a Europa League place.

What do you need to succeed? The key to everything at Rostov is team spirit. There’s a great camaraderie among the players and staff; they all seem so happy just to be there. We’re a disciplined unit and strong on the counter-attack. Good performances will be needed, not just from star players Ecuadorian midfielder Christian Noboa, Iranian striker Sardar Azmoun and Dmitry Poloz, but from absolutely everyone.

My worry is that, while Rostov have kept many players over the summer, they’ve lost three of their defenders. Bastos went to Serie A side Lazio, Ivan Novoseltsev left for Zenit Saint Petersburg and Boris Rotenberg departed for Lokomotiv Moscow. How a team which relied so much on their defence will cope without these players remains to be properly seen. Dampz

FC Rostov
Saeid Ezatolahi, Alexander Yerokhin, Cesar Navas, Khoren Bairamyan and Alexandru Gatcan celebrate after beating Ajax in qualifying. Photograph: Valery Matytsin/Tass

Sevilla

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? Sevilla will find it tough to go through from Group H. Tough, but not impossible. Despite a good start in La Liga this season and some promising signings in the summer, the club is not used to playing against first-class European teams every week. I hope they can face whoever they have to with dignity and professionalism.

What do you need to succeed? The key point will be to stick with a self-confident starting XI. Experienced footballers such as Samir Nasri and Vitolo can have a huge influence on the rest of the team if they feel inspired on the night. In our home games we need to control the game from start to finish because it will be tough to pick up the required points in Turin and Zagreb on our travels. Rober

Sevilla
Vitolo protests to the referee beside Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images

Sporting Lisbon

How far will you go? Round of 16

What are your hopes? If Sporting can win the third match against Dortmund at home, we have a good chance of getting to the last 16. The worst case scenario should be third place and a spot in the Europa League.

What do you need to succeed? The club was able to do some good business in the last few days of the summer transfer window, bringing in Joel Campbell from Arsenal, Dutch forward Bas Dost from Wolfsburg, Elias from Corinthians and Lazar Markovic on loan from Liverpool. If these players settle well, together with the three Portuguese European Champions, Rui Patricio, Adrien Silva and William Carvalho, Sporting have a good chance of causing a slight upset and qualifying for the last 16. The first two games at home against Legia Warsaw and Dortmund will be key. Antonio

Sporting
Gelson Martins celebrates with team-mates after scoring during the league against Porto in August. Photograph: Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur

How far will you go? Quarter-finals

What are your hopes? I’m very positive for once. In the group draw I either wanted some European heavyweights to test ourselves properly or what we’ve got – a couple of the weakest opponents from pots one and two. The away games will be testing. Moscow is never an easy place to visit but CSKA aren’t such a European force these days. Let’s just hope the recent Euros fan fighting is not repeated. We’ve a good recent record against Monaco, drawing away and hammering them at home in last season’s Europa League, while Bayer Leverkusen gave us Dimitar Berbatov 10 years ago. Let’s hope they remain as generous.

I’ll be very disappointed not to qualify from the group. I have no delusions of actually winning the thing but think we should be aiming for a quarter-final spot and ideally a big scalp along the way. If you’re going to be in it, then it’s only really interesting if you can test yourself against the best.

What do you need to succeed? Organisation and workrate are key and these are Potch’s magic ingredients that has allowed the undoubted talent to bloom so far. Having in-form key players will also help enormously. Oh, and the small matter of whether we can adapt to the Wembley pitch. Frazek

Kane
Will Harry Kane be back to his best in the Champions League? Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters