Know PSG's rivals in Champions League Group A

PSG who were seeded in Pot 3 have been drawn in Group A in the Champions League. takes a look at their opponents and what we can expect from them..
By Kaustav Bera

FC Porto

Performance in last year's tournament: Won the Portuguese Primeira Liga but were ousted at Group Stage finishing third in Group G. Were also eliminated by Manchester City in the Round of 32 stage in the Europa League.

How they qualified this year: Finished top of the Portuguese Primeira Liga and thus achieved automatic qualification

The Manager

Vitor Pereira's stint as Porto juniors coach on two separate occasions makes him gave him an insight of what to expect at Porto when he took over from Andre Villas-Boas who departed for Chelsea last summer. He did manage a clutch of third division Portuguese clubs but with no apparent success however. He was Andre Villas-Boas's assistant during Porto's immensely successful treble winning 2010-11 season. In his first year in charge, although he failed in the continent as well as the Cup, he did manage to lead Porto to a league championship.

Formation and Tactics


With the departure of star striker Hulk for a staggering 60 million to Zenit St. Petersburg along with the departures of Freddy Guarin and Alvaro Pereira among others, Porto have a new look around them. Especially difficult to replace would be last season's top scorer Hulk who was unexpectedly sold about a week ago to big spenders Zenit. They did acquire the Colombian Jackson Martinez as a probable replacement but he has a long way to go before replicating the heroics of the prolific Brazillian. Vitor Pereira sticks to a 4-3-3 with new boy Alex Sandro taking over from Alvaro Pereira on the left of the defense. Danilo, the young wing back from Santos provides the energy on the right with his tireless running. Meanwhile, Fernando does the cleaning up work in midfield, allowing Lucho Gonzalez and Joao Moutinho to roam forward. The young duo of James Rodriguez and Christian Atsu provide the necessary ammunition, playing on the sides of Martinez who should take up central striker duties after Hulk's departure. With a talented squad, the likes of Steven Defour may slot into midfield with ease. Also, used mostly as a substitute by Vitor Pereira, Portugese winger Varela could really cement a first team position as he was at his very best during Portugal's Euro 2012 campaign.


FC Porto, after early exits in continental competition last term will try to make amends and the minimum they can hope for is qualification into the next round. They could top this group given that PSG are still finding their feet after a high soending summer.

  Man to Watch - Joao Moutinho

The Portuguese midfielder who was just minutes away from moving to Tottenham Hotspur on a deadline day deal, will be expected to make Porto tick in the midfield. A talented all round player, Moutinho not only has the vision to pick out passes at will, but can also put his foot in to break up play. A fan of the long diagonals, Moutinho has the ability to bring FC Porto's dangerous wingers to play and will really be the star campaigner in FC Porto's European sojourn.

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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