We’re still more than two weeks away from the Champions League group stage draw on August 25th in Monaco, but already Napoli fans are starting to look at who’s in the draw and wondering what their group will look like. There’s no way to know just yet — but there is a way to look at the possibilities.
Thanks to Github and their Champions League Draw Simulator, fans can experiment with all the draw possibilities by simulating the actual draw process. Pop open one draw ball to see what team you’re drawing, then another to place them in a group. Repeat until all 32 teams are seeded in their groups.
The simulator follows all the rules for the draw, so it’s as accurate as a simulation can possibly be — though with Champions League qualifying still going on, the teams involved can still change. You can play with it yourself, but I ran through it a few times just to see what happened.
Simulation 1: It Looks Worse Than It Is
At first glance, this group is pretty brutal. Real Madrid are the defending Champions League winners, Dinamo Kiev are the best Ukranian team around these days, and Besiktas are no pushover.
But this Napoli side is one that should be able to beat Dinamo at home and can work a draw away, and they absolutely dominated Besiktas away. Add in potential shakiness from a Real Madrid team that arguably over-performed last season and Napoli should definitely be able to get out of this group.
Simulation 2: The Dream
It’s hard to envision a much easier group for Napoli. Leicester City are good, but aren’t scaring a team of Napoli’s quality too much. They should definitely be able to beat them at home, and getting a result in England is far from out of the question.
Basel are a tricky team who have the ability to show up against just about anyone, but they lost their best attacker in the transfer market and haven’t really replaced him. They’re also a decidedly unsteady team in European play, and Napoli should definitely be able to work a few points out of them. Then there’s Legia Warsaw, and we saw how that ended up in the Europa League last year.
Simulation 3: The Nightmare
Now, there’s worse draws for Napoli out there. Tottenham are the cream of Pot 3, and a couple of the Pot 4 teams are more threatening than Besiktas, but Bayern are legitimately one of the best teams around and Villarreal are a legitimate threat to Napoli.
Getting out of this group is doable, but very, very difficult. They’d have to avoid losing to Villarreal away while winning at home, and their record in Spain has been rather poor of late. Napoli dominated Besiktas when last they met, but trips to Turkey are rarely easy for anyone, giving them no room for error — something Napoli have struggled with in European play the last couple of years.