Group A – Basel, Benfica, CSKA Moscow, Manchester United
Leading the way for Group A is this absolute beauty from Basel. Having produced of a number of current Premier League stars, from Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka to Stoke’s Xherdan Shaquiri, the runaway champions of the Swiss Super League kick off their UCL campaign at Old Trafford, hoping the likes of midfielder Luca Zuffi can bang in a goal or two with his Puma evoPOWER Vigor 1s.
Basel’s home kit for 2017-18 likely won’t get a run-out in Manchester, but it’s still one of the best of the whole first round. With a spotless use of white at the sleeves, sides and collar, its central design stylishly emphasises the red and blue colour blocks of the club crest, with a smart Henley collar to finish.
Group B – Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich, Anderlecht, Celtic
The first team from the British Isles to ever win what was the European Cup, Celtic enjoyed an unbeaten Scottish Premiership campaign last time out, reaching the group stages of this year’s UCL after dispatching Linfield and Rosenborg in qualifying.
With target man Moussa Dembélé heading the Celtic charge in his adidas X 17.1 cleats, the Hoops’ home top for this season pays tribute to the famous Lisbon Lions team who brought the trophy home to Glasgow. With a throwback plan collar and glorious golden accents, the highlight of this hooped classic is its commemorative crest; embellished with details of the milestone win in Portugal. Can Rodgers’ men rock Europe again?
Group C – Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Quarabag, Roma
Runners-up in both 2014 and 2016, as well as semi-finalists last season, Atletico Madrid finished third in La Liga to secure automatic qualification – but begin their latest UCL adventure with a difficult trip to Roma.
Having committed to the club until 2022, superstar forward Antoine Griezmann should pose their biggest threat – the French international hoping to add to his 60 Atletico goals with a few more off his Puma ONEs.
With a sparkling new stadium and updated crest to match, the new Atletico home shirt is equally brave – disrupting the classic Colchoneros stripes with a dynamic, diagonal cut-out theme. Fully-refreshed for 2017-18, could this be Atletico’s time?
Group D – Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Juventus, Olympiacos
Securing their spot this season with a 5-1 win at Steaua Bucharest, Sporting were part of the first ever European Cup tie in 1955 – and the Lisbon side are back once again for another crack at glory.
With loan sensation Seydou Doumbia and his own Puma ONEs potentially holding the key to their progress, the Portuguese representatives will surely need a result at Olympiacos before tackling Group D heavyweights Barcelona and Juventus.
Whatever their prospects on the pitch though, Sporting will look the part should their ultra-smart third shirt get a run-out, as expected. Twisting their signature green and white into a Blackburn-style, half-and-half affair, the bold black collar with button placket provides a winning contrast, lifting Sporting to the top of the group’s style table.
Group E – Sevilla, Maribor, Spartak Moscow, Liverpool
The upcoming summer will be a huge one for Russia, as football’s biggest party, the FIFA World Cup, rocks up in Europe’s biggest nation. On the domestic front, Spartak Moscow clinched their first Russian Premier League for some 16 years last season, securing their spot in the Champions League.
The People’s Team welcome Liverpool and Sevilla to the capital after this week’s opener in Maribor, banking on the likes of Brazilian Luiz Adriano and his supercharged Nike Mercurial Superfly V boots.
While the latest Superfly is a modern wonder, Spartak’s home shirt for 2017-18 is a much more retor affair, with several shades of red covered in diagonal striping and authentically Russian sponsorship. Meanwhile, for those looking to flip the colours, the away shirt does just that. Take your pick, guys.
Group F – Napoli, Feyenoord, Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk
Staying in the east Europe, one of the most distinct looks this season belongs to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Reclaiming the Ukrainian title from Dynamo Kiev, Shakhtar bypassed the qualifying round with ease and while the club are yet to progress beyond the groups, they may fancy their chances this time – particularly if their own Brazilian winger Bernard puts his Nike Hypervenom Phantom III to good use.
But first, back to the shirt – and an all-new spin on Shaktar’s usual orange and black stripes. As with Spartak, the thin, diagonal striping make another appearance here, but it’s their colour that’s the talking point. Taking the nod from its collar trim, the upper gradient pattern soon turns into full-blown blue, tangling with the more traditional black. But we think it works. What do you reckon?
Group G – Besiktas, RB Leipzig, Monaco, FC Porto
Sensationally finishing second in their debut Bundesliga season, RB Leipzig have caused their share of controversy already, so it’s little wonder their kits are divisive too. Despite being unproven force on the European stage, Leipzig have a bunch of real difference-makers in their squad, not least the hotshot Emil Forsberg, who will look to create the German club’s first ever Champions League goal in his Nike Mercurial Vapor XIs.
Shirt-wise, it’s no surprise to find the Red Bull logo front and centre, mirroring the look of Leipzig’s sister clubs in Brazil, Salzburg and New York. Where this shirt comes up trumps is its diamond sleeve and shoulder gradient – a pattern that only intensifies as it reaches the back neck. This design really brings the shirt to life – but can Leipzig live beyond the group stage?
Group H – Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, APOEL, Tottenham Hotspur
Finally, where else to end but a look at the current UCL champions? No team has captured as many European Cups as Real Madrid and with Ronaldo running riot in his latest custom boots and Gareth Bale’s adidas X 17.1 providing even more firepower, few would bet against the back-to-back winners three-peating at the end of the current season.
With their match against Spurs at Wembley on 1st November a highlight of the schedule, Real’s 2017-18 third kit is expected to be on show – and what an absolute blinder it is. Based on a fan creation, with quarters inspired by those of two decades ago, this jersey’s monochrome details and pixelated pattern style are very much 2017. Can Real rule for a third straight year, in this third kit fit for champions? It’s almost time for the games to begin…