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FC Porto who were seeded in Pot 1 have been drawn in Group A in the Champions League. takes a look at their opponents and what they can expect from them..

By Brendon Netto

Paris Saint-Germain

Performance in last year's tournament: Finished 4th in Ligue 1 and did not qualify.

How they qualified this year: Finished 2nd in Ligue 1 to earn automatic qualification

The Manager

Carlo Ancelotti is no stranger to success in the Champions League. He is one of the few managers who has won the trophy as a player and as a manager. Ancelotti won the tournament twice when he played for AC Milan in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons and won it twice again as manager of the club in 2002-03 and 2006-07. In his time at Chelsea, he experienced the luxuries as well as pressures involved when working for a wealthy owner. Although he enjoyed reasonable success with the London club, he was unable to land the Champions League trophy and was eventually out of a job. The Italian signed for Paris Saint-Germain on 30th December 2011. He guided the side to a second place finish in Ligue 1.

Formation and Tactics


Since the new arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thiago Silva and Marco Verrati over the summer, Carlo Ancelotti seems to be struggling to settle on his best starting line-up and formation. This indecision may be the cause of PSG's poor start to the domestic season having won just one out of their first four games. The Italian has used the 4-4-2 diamond formation that worked so well in his time at Milan but to bring out the best in Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi, the 4-1-2-2-1 formation also known as "The Christmas tree" seems like the tactic he will utilize for the most part. Didier Drogba flourished under this particular system and it is built for a striker like Ibrahimovic who can play the role of target man to perfection. Javier Pastore and Lavezzi will support the striker while teams should watch out for either Nene or Menez making a run on the outside of Pastore. This system helps them maintain a greater share of possession as compared to the 4-4-2 and utilizes their attacking talent to a greater effect.


With the investments the club have made in the transfer market, they should be targeting a place in the quarter-finals. The Parisians have the advantage of being drawn in a relatively easy group and should not have a problem in the early stages.

  Man to Watch - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the 21 million euro man who is expected to bang in the goals for Paris Saint-Germain. The Swede is one of the most feared strikers in Europe and will enjoy being the focal point in the side's attack. Playing as a lone striker, he has the space to make his runs while the incredible ensemble of midfielders behind him ensures that he has plenty of support and doesn't get isolated.

Dynamo Kyiv

Performance in last year's tournament: Lost in the third qualifying round and did not qualify.

How they qualified this year: Finished 2nd in the Ukranian league and won the play-off round against Borussia Monchengladbach.

The Manager

Yuri Syomin is a Russian coach with vast experience in the country's national league having managed FC Lokomotiv Moscow for 19 years over three different spells. He transformed the mid-table club into a giant of Russian football during his second spell at the club that lasted for 13 years. He is currently into his second spell with Dynamo Kyiv. He guided the club to the league title in the 2008-09 season as well as a semi-final berth in the UEFA Cup.

Formation and Tactics


Dynamo Kyiv operate with a 4-2-3-1 formation. Ideye Brown plays as the lone striker while Nico Kranjcar, Andriy Yarmolenko and Ninkovic support him in attack. Yarmolenko is given a free role while Kranjcar tends to drift inside often. Ognjen Vukojevic and Miguel Veloso sit in midfield with the former operating in a slightly deeper role.


FC Porto and Paris Saint-Germain are clear favourites to progress from this group but if an upset is on the cards then Dyamo Kyiv are the ones most likely to provide it. Qualifying for the round of 16 would be a great achievement but securing a Europa League spot would be acceptable as well.

  Man to Watch - Andriy Yarmolenko

With Andriy Shevchenko's recent retirement, it's time now for Andriy Yarmolenko to step out of the veteran's shadow and into the limelight. Widely touted as Shevchenko's successor at Kyiv as well as for the naional side, the youngster is fond of running at defenders with pace and isn't shy to pull out a trick or two. This could be the year for the attacker who can play on either flank as well as behind the striker to take the centre stage.

Dinamo Zagreb

Performance in last year's tournament: They were eliminated after finishing fourth in Group D.

How they qualified this year: Won the Croatian league and won the play-off round against Maribor.

The Manager

Ante Cacic was one of the first ten coaches in Croatia to get the UEFA Pro Licence. His managerial career began in 1986. He was appointed as manager of Dinamo Zagreb on 23 December 2011. He recently sacked two former Croatia international midfielders, Jerko Leko and Nikola Pokrivaca for lacking motivation. "It's not a question of lack of discipline, they aren't motivated enough and I don't need players like that", Cacic said about the sackings.

Formation and Tactics


Dinamo Zagreb opts for a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond midfield. Their Brazilian attacking midfielder, Sammir is at the top of that diamond from where he is able to influence play the most. This is a fairly attacking set up and they can get caught out by teams who play with three central midfielders. However, they tend to press high up the pitch and their strikers put a lot of pressure on the opposing defenders. 


They are clearly the underdogs of this group. For Zagreb, making the group stages in itself is a victory but they would love to take it one further and attempt to sneak into third place at least in order to secure a place in the Europa League.

  Man to Watch - Sammir

The Brazilian midfielder, Sammir is on fire at the start of this season. He ended last season with a tally of 8 goals in 32 appearances but has already reached that mark this time around with only his first 12 outings. If he continues in this fashion, Dinamo Zagreb may well be capable of causing an upset in the group stages. At 25 years of age, Sammir is reaching the peak of his abilities and could take this opportunity in the Champions League to show Europe's elite what he's capable of.

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