Group C preview: Peter Pan, second-best bridesmaids and unpopular billionaires

The Back of the Net team look ahead to UEFA Champions League Group C...

Bayer Leverkusen

Bayer were created in a laboratory by the German pharmaceutical company Bayer, after their previous three attempts to create a football club ended in disaster, explosions and third-degree chemical burns. Their star player is striker Stefan Kiessling, who at international level has been the victim of Joachim Low's preference for strikers who are Miroslav Klose.

Did you know? Leverkusen's nickname is 'Neverkusen', because author J. M. Barrie used it as the setting for his Peter Pan stories.


The Portuguese champions have been runner-up in the Europa League for consecutive seasons, which is like consistently being the second-best bridesmaid. They have an intense rivalry with Porto and Sporting Lisbon, the other major contenders in Portugal’s three-team domestic league. Flamboyant manager Jorge Jesus divides opinion as dramatically as he parts his hair.

Did you know? Benfica have been the victims of a notorious curse ever since 1922, after the club's players opened the tomb of boy-pharoah Tutankhamun as a prank.


Bankrolled by billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who has overseen a revival of the club's fortunes by ending the club's policy of refusing to sign players born outside Monaco. The arrival of Russian-born Rybolovlev was controversial in France, where fans prefer their billionaire chairmen to be from more traditional backgrounds, like Qatar.

Did you know? Half the principality's population can fit inside the Stade Louis II, or all of them if you force them to sit on each other's laps.

Zenit St Petersburg

An away trip nobody looks forward to, which is a shame because St Petersburg is widely considered the Venice of the North. Manager Andre Villas-Boas was brought in to replicate his record with Porto, which he has so far been unable to do, winning a mere 16 of his 19 games in charge.

Did you know? (Former) star player Andrey Arshavin has only ever played for Zenit in his career, despite spending three years at Arsenal.