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The UEFA Champions League is back with a bang as Matchday 1 takes place across Tuesday and Wednesday with some massive matchups. Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United highlights the week's slate while all 32 teams are in action as we return to a more normal UCL schedule following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the midseason 2022 World Cup. As always, you can watch all the Champions League action on?Paramount+?.?

But who will win each group, who will win it all and which sides could be the dark horses or disappointments? Here's what to know, our staff predictions and more:

UCL 2023-24 groups

  • Group A:?Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Copenhagen and Galatasaray.
  • Group B:?Sevilla, Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven and Lens.
  • Group C:?Napoli, Real Madrid, SC Braga and Union Berlin.
  • Group D:?Benfica, Inter, Red Bull Salzburg and Real Sociedad.
  • Group E:?Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Celtic.
  • Group F:?Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Milan and Newcastle United.
  • Group G:?Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade and Young Boys.
  • Group H:?Barcelona, Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk and Antwerp.

Matchday 1 TV schedule

All times Eastern

TUESDAY, SEPT. 19TIMEHOW TO WATCH

AC Milan vs. Newcastle

12:45 p.m.

Paramount+

Young Boys vs. RB Leipzig

12:45 p.m.

Paramount+

UEFA Champions League Today Pre-Match

1 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Golazo Network

UEFA Champions League Today Pre-Match

2 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

The Golazo Show

3 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Golazo Network

PSG vs. Borussia Dortmund

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Porto

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Manchester City vs. Crvena zvezda

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Feyenoord vs. Celtic

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Barcelona vs. Antwerp

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Lazio vs. Atlético Madrid

3 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

UEFA Champions League Today Post-Match

5 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

The Champions Club

6 p.m.

CBS Sports Golazo Network

WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 20TIMEHOW TO WATCH

Real Madrid vs. Union Berlin

12:45 p.m.

Paramount+

Galatasaray vs. Copenhagen

12:45 p.m.

Paramount+

UEFA Champions League Today Pre-Match

2 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

The Golazo Show

3 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Golazo Network

Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Benfica vs. RB Salzburg

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Braga vs. Napoli

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Arsenal vs. PSV

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Sevilla vs. Lens

3 p.m.

Paramount+

Real Sociedad vs. Inter Milan

3 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

UEFA Champions League Today Post-Match

5 p.m.

Paramount+ / CBS Sports Network

The Champions Club

6 p.m.

CBS Sports Golazo Network

Kickin' It Premiere

8 p.m.

CBS Sports Golazo Network

Group A picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersBayern MunichBayern MunichBayern MunichBayern MunichBayern Munich
Runners-upManchester UnitedManchester UnitedManchester UnitedManchester UnitedManchester United


Analysis: On paper, this looks straightforward for both Bayern Munich and Manchester United which is why it could be deceptive as to both teams' overall chances of glory. The German giants have a 100% record domestically at present but are still adapting to having new star Harry Kane leading the line while Erik ten Hag's men have been slow to get going in the Premier League and already lost against Arsenal and Kane's former club Tottenham Hotspur. Galatasaray and Copenhagen will not exactly strike fear into either Bayern or United and both sides can expect to advance, but Thomas Tuchel has much work to do to turn the Bundesliga giants into continental competitors. The Turks should secure third spot and prove tricky away day opponents but anything other than the Germans and the Red Devils going through would be a shock. -- Jonathan Johnson

Group B picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersArsenalArsenalArsenal?ArsenalArsenal
unners-upPSVPSVPSVLensPSV


Analysis:?
After all those years of waiting to get back to Champions League football Arsenal find themselves landed with a group that… well… it's very Europa League-y, isn't it? PSV and Lens might both have enjoyed exceptional domestic seasons in 2022-23 but both head into the new season shorn of their stars, the twin financial juggernauts of the Premier League and Saudi Arabia robbing the former of Ibrahima Sangare, the latter of Seko Fofana. Forward talent has also departed in the form of Xavi Simons and Lois Openda and although replacements have been sourced there is no guarantee that these will be the same forces on the biggest stage. The early indications are, however, impressive for Dutch runners-up PSV, who crushed Rangers on their way to the group stages.

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The same cannot be said of Sevilla, who staggered into their new season with three defeats in their first three La Liga games. Jose Luis Mendilibar might have shepherded the Andalusians away from relegation last season but across their squad, they have the look of a midtable side who might get lucky in a cup competition. These may not be the starry opponents Arsenal dreamed of on their long way back to the top but on the bright side, this is a group that looks tailormade for them to secure top spot and perhaps to do so quickly, aiding the fight with Manchester City across multiple fronts. --?James Benge

Group C picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersReal MadridReal MadridReal MadridReal MadridReal Madrid
Runners-upNapoli?NapoliNapoliNapoliNapoli


Analysis:?
Looking at this group before the action starts, it looks like a pretty easy one to predict, with Real Madrid and Napoli expected to qualify for the round of 16, while Braga and Union Berlin will fight for the Europa League spot. However, many things changed in the summer for the Italian team, and despite winning the 2022-23 Scudetto, their coach Luciano Spalletti left with former Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia replacing him. Napoli also sold defender Kim Min-Jae to Bayern Munich but kept the other stars of the team, Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Real Madrid should top the group, with Napoli to follow, but Braga and Union Berlin showed to be solid teams in the past years and should not be underestimated. -- Francesco Porzio

Group D picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersBenficaInterInterBenficaInter
Runners-upInterReal SociedadBenficaInterBenfica

Analysis:?Inter and Benfica already faced each other in the past season, when the Italian team managed to get through the quarterfinals after winning 2-0 in Portugal and then drawing 3-3 at home. Many things changed since that encounter, with the Nerazzurri that sold players like Andre Onana and Marcelo Brozovic in the summer and also lost key players like Romelu Lukaku and Edin Dzeko. Despite that, the 2022-23 finalists are expected to top the group with Benfica to follow. Real Sociedad and RB Salzburg are expected to fight for a spot in the UEFA Europa League, but it won't be surprising to see something unexpected coming from this group.?-- Francesco Porzio

Group E picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersAtletico MadridAtletico MadridAtletico MadridAtletico MadridAtletico Madrid
Runners-upCelticLazioFeyenoordFeyenoordFeyenoord


Analysis:
An intriguing combination of teams in this one with Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid, Lazio and Celtic is certainly one for those who enjoy an away day at iconic soccer European venues with atmospheres to match. Arguably a fairly even group between at least three of these names, Atleti's recent struggles suggest that they could make a meal out of this if they labor against the likes of the Dutch and Italians. Diego Simeone's side should, on paper, top this group, but Feyenoord are rediscovering their continental pedigree from yesteryear and Maurizio Sarri's side are an underrated force in Serie A. Celtic are the wildcard and have Brendan Rodgers back at the helm and will likely be aiming to steal in for third place so expect competition to be as fierce on the field as it will be off it from the first game. -- Jonathan Johnson

Group F picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersPSGPSGPSGPSGPSG
Runners-upMilanMilanMilanMilanMilan


Analysis:?Without a true "group of death" this season, PSG landing Borussia Dortmund, Milan and Newcastle United has been awarded that honor. The French champions should win the group based on their squad which has undergone a major overhaul and looks far more balanced overall, but the Italian side and the Premier League outfit are tricky opponents. Saudi-backed Newcastle, in particular, is a narrative-rich game for the Qatari-owned club which ups the stakes significantly ahead of those two games. Dortmund, however, are not in the best of form so far this season and could really struggle in what looks to be a very difficult group for them. PSG and Milan are arguably the early favorites to advance and Newcastle's early season form has done nothing to dispel that this may well be a learning exercise for Eddie Howe's men who might end up targeting third spot for an extended European run. -- Jonathan Johnson

Group G picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersManchester CityManchester CityManchester CityManchester CityManchester City
Runners-upRB LeipzigRB LeipzigRB LeipzigRB LeipzigRB Leipzig


Analysis:?Any group containing City already provides a forgone conclusion on who will win it but RB Lepzig can't be counted out. A team that is familiar with City in Champions League and getting better by the day, they will make things closer than expected by the final day thanks to Dani Olmo, Xavi Simons and Lois Openda. Leipzig can score goals with the best of teams but their biggest issue will be stopping Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez from scoring goals at will. Despite the clear top two, there are other teams in this group including one of the toughest away trips in the world to Crvena zvezda in Serbia. If a team isn't focused, they can drop points there which could determine if it's them or Young Boys who head to Europa League.? --?Chuck Booth

Group H picks


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
WinnersBarcelonaBarcelonaBarcelonaBarcelonaBarcelona
Runners-upPortoPortoPortoPortoPorto


Analysis:?This group is Barcelona's to lose after receiving a favorable draw, and strong starts for the likes of Ferran Torres and Robert Lewandowski in La Liga only bolsters their case. If anyone is to give the Spanish champions a run for their money, it could be Porto with forward Mehdi Taremi in goalscoring form, but they remain the favorites for second place. Shakhtar Donetsk and Antwerp are the likely contenders to duke it out for a third-place spot that would secure a berth in the Europa League knockouts, but the Belgian side will do so without a key player. American defender Sam Vines was?unintentionally left off the Champions League squad?through an administrative error. -- Pardeep Cattry

UCL superlatives


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James Benge
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Chuck Booth
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Pardeep Cattry
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Jonathan Johnson
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Francesco Porzio
ChampionManchester CityManchester CityReal MadridManchester CityManchester City
Runners-upBarcelonaPSGManchester CityPSGReal Madrid
Dark horseArsenalReal Sociedad?Inter?ArsenalBarcelona
DisappointmentNewcastleBenficaPSGBayern MunichNewcastle
Golden BootErling HaalandErling HaalandJude BellinghamKylian MbappeErling Haaland
Assists leaderRaphinaJulian AlvarezVinicius Jr.?Vinicius Jr.?Kevin de Bruyne
Player of the SeasonErling HaalandErling HaalandJude BellinghamKylian MbappeErling Haaland
Young Player of the SeasonGaviJulian AlvarezJude BellinghamWarren Zaire EmeryJude Bellingham

Champions pick

Benge: It might be hard for European champions to repeat, all the more so when they've got a post-treble comedown to consider, but City are still by far and away the best team on the continent. Haaland will catch the headlines but the best versions of Pep Guardiola's teams have elite-level defenses; the early indications are that that is exactly what is coalescing at the Etihad Stadium this season. That might be the crucial swing factor because in swapping Ilkay Gundogan for Mateo Kovacic they have sacrificed shots for even more control, the sort of quality that made them the obvious favorites for the Champions League until their customary meltdown. Another of those seems quite credible but they're still the most likely champions in an underwhelming field. Pick: Manchester City.

Booth:?When determining who the most team in Champions League play, it's impossible to go any further than the reigning champions in City. Every other team has a weakness that can be exploited while the only team that can stop City is themselves. Even if you're able to stop Haaland, Julian Alvarez is taking a step forward in his career to become a stronger attacking force and adding Josko Gvardiol to the defense turns them into even more of a fortress. Pick: Manchester City

Cattry:?Manchester City are not the only team that boast the potential of running rampant this season. Real Madrid enter the Champions League with a youthful but experienced team, particularly in midfield and attack where Aurelien Tchouameni and Vinicius Junior are budding superstars. The standout at this early stage of the season, though, is new signing Jude Bellingham – the 20-year-old is already off to a dream start in Spain, and could be the key to ensuring his side makes a deep run in Europe this season. Pick: Real Madrid

Johnson: It is currently difficult to see City's domestic and European domination not continuing. A good start to the season allied with a straightforward group stage for the defending champions bodes well ahead of the business half of the campaign. Despite some key departures, Pep Guardiola's men still look very strong across the board and their current setup relies less on Haaland scoring opponents into submission. At the very least, expect City to make a deep run -- very possibly to a final on home soil. Pick: Manchester City

Porzio:?After winning their first ever Champions League in the past season, the feeling is that Pep Guardiola's side might repeat themselves this year. They signed more players in the summer transfer window and they kept most of their best players, and there is no reason to think that they are not again the leading candidates to win the trophy. They will also have the chance to make the back to back by playing the final at home, in London. Pick: Manchester City