Champions League guide to Group G: Porto, Atletico Madrid, Zenit, Austria Vienna

Following the draw in Monaco, we guide you through the sides that make up Group G

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The Independent Football

Team-by-team guide to the sides that make up Group G in this season's Champions League...

FC PORTO

Porto’s Champions League glory days under Jose Mourinho are in the past but the club has continued to put in strong performances in Europe’s premier club competition. Last years campaign ended in defeat to Malaga in the last-16 and the Portuguese champions will enter this season without players Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez who left the club for Monaco in the summer.

Key Player – Jackson Martinez: The prolific Colombian forward is a strong finisher with both feet.

Manager – Paulo Fonseca: Newly appointed 40-year old former defender led F.C. Pacos de Ferreira to their first ever Champions League qualifying round last season.

Champions League best finish: Two-time winners - 1987,2004

 

ATLETICO MADRID

The Madrid side go straight into the group stages after securing third-place in La Liga last season behind Barcelona and city-rivals Real Madrid. The two-time Europa League winners may have lost the prolific Radamel Falcao this summer but the acquisition of Spain striker David Villa, as well as keeping hold of Liverpool-target Diego Costa, will help to keep their forward line a threat in European football.

Key Player – David Villa: Spain’s all-time top goal scorer is a natural born finisher with a wealth of European experience.

Manager – Diego Simeone: Former Argentina international has been manager since 2011 and has set up his side to play with counter-attacking flair.

Champions League best finish: Runners-Up 1974

 

ZENIT ST PETERSBURG

After finishing second in the Russian league to CSKA Moscow, Zenit were required to contest a play-off round with Pacos Ferriera, which they came through 8-3 on aggregate and then against Nordsjaelland, which they came through 6-0 on aggregate. Zenit have spent big over the last few seasons and will be hoping the return of Andrei Arshavin can help them reach the knockout phases.

Key player – Hulk (Brazil): The bullish forward is extremely effective when running at defenders and cutting in to shoot on goal with a powerful left foot.

Manager – Luciano Spalletti (Italy): Spalletti is well known for his time in Italy with Roma where he won the Italian Super Cup, and two Coppa Italia’s in 2007 & 2008. He then moved to Zenit where he has won The Russian league in 2010 and 2012, as well as the Russian Super Cup in 2011.

Champions League best finish: Last 16: 2012

 

AUSTRIA VIENNA

Austrian champions qualified after overcoming Dinamo Zagreb 4-3 on aggregate in the play-off round. The 24-time Austrian Bundesliga winners were runners up in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1978 before reaching the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1979.

Key Player – Philipp Hosiner: After impressive displays over their two-leg qualifying victory, the speedy forward has a real eye for goal.

Manager – Nenad Bjelica: A former Croatian footballer, Bjelica has only managed teams in Austria in a career, which began in 2007. This is his first season with Austria Wien.

Champions League best finish: Semi-Finals 1979

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