The 2018/19 Champions League group stages gets underway this week and there are plenty of Dutch internationals set to be involved. 

For the first time since the 2010/11 season, two Dutch clubs have qualified for the Champions League but that is not where the Oranje interest ends this year. Every group in this year’s competition contains at least one club that has a Dutch player in their squad, expect Group H.

Group A

Club Brugge have an uphill task this year after being drawn with Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Monaco. Ivan Leko’s side won the Belgian league last year and head into the competition with Dutch international Ruud Vormer as captain, Netherlands U21 international Arnout Danjuma on the wing and former Ajax defender Stefano Denswil at the back.

Dutchmen in Group A: 3

Dutchman to Watch: Arnout Danjuma Groeneveld is knocking on the door of the Oranje squad after a great start to life in Belgium. The 21-year-old who switched NEC for Club Brugge this summer has three goals and two assists so far this season.

Group B

Eredivisie champions PSV Eindhoven head into the group of death containing Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur. Each club contains at least one Dutch international with Jasper Cillessen at Barcelona, Michel Vorm at Tottenham and Stefan de Vrij joining Inter this summer. Vincent Janssen is injured and won’t feature for Tottenham. For PSV, Jeroen Zoet, Denzel Dumfries, Nick Viergever, Jorrit Hendrix, Pablo Rosario, Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong are all part of Mark van Bommel’s prefered starting XI

Dutchmen in Group B: 13 officially registered but a number of youngsters could represent PSV.

Dutchman to Watch: Steven Bergwijn is a special talent and is finally starting to live up to the potential he has been showing since a young age. The 20-year-old is a quick and tricky winger who is on the brink of his first Netherland call-up. If he impresses in the Champions League an Oranje debut would be a certainty and the list of clubs following the attacker will grow.

Group C

Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum feature for an excellent Liverpool side which will be aiming to compete for the Premier League title and go far in Europe this season. Red Star Belgrade are surprise qualifiers and their squad contains former Ajax winger Lorenzo Ebecilio. Napoli and PSG are the other clubs in this group.

Dutchmen in Group C: 3

Dutchman to Watch: Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in January last season and has been excellent since. This will be his first full Champions League campaign with Liverpool and he will be aiming to go far in the competition.

Group D

Lokomotiv Moscow, Schalke, Porto and Galatasaray compete in a weak looking Group D. Riechedly Bazoer recently swapped Wolfsburg for Porto on loan.

Dutchmen in Group D: 1

Dutchman to Watch: Riechedly Bazoer’s career hasn’t hit the heights expected when he broke into the Ajax eleven and after a frustrating year and a half with Wolfsburg, he is now at Porto on loan. The 21-year-old still has plenty of time to get his career back on track and will be eager to make an impression in the Champions League

Group E

Ajax are back in the Champions League and have a great chance of progressing from their group after being drawn with Bayern Munich, AEK Athens and Benfica. Arjen Robben is still a star with Bayern and will be looking to lift the trophy again, while Ajax go into the competition with top Dutch talents such as Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, and Donny van de Beek, along with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Daley Blind.

Dutchmen in Group E: At least ten but several Ajax youngsters could make their debuts in the competition if selected.

Dutchman to Watch: Frenkie de Jong is grabbing the attention in Amsterdam at the moment and all eyes will be on the midfielder during his first Champions League campaign. The uber-talented 21-year-old has shown no fear so far in his career and looked excellent for Netherlands against France in the UEFA Nations League recently. The Champions League is the next test for De Jong, who is already being coveted by Barcelona.

Group F

Manchester City are the big favourites for Group F, but battling for second place will be Shakhtar Donetsk, a Hoffenheim squad featuring young Dutch defender Justin Hoogma and a Lyon side with Memphis Depay and Kenny Tete.

Dutchmen in Group F: 3

Dutchman to Watch: After a difficult time at Manchester United, Memphis Depay has regained his form in France and he was top scorer for Lyon last season as they sealed a place in the Champions League. The forward is eager to make another step up and if he impresses in the Champions League it would increase his chances of another big move.

Group G

Roma reached the semi-finals last season and will be aiming to impress again with Rick Karsdorp and Justin Kluivert in their squad. They will have to overcome Real Madrid, though, along with Victoria Plzen and CSKA Moscow

Dutchmen in Group G: 2

Dutchman to Watch: Justin Kluivert made the brave decision to leave Ajax for Rome and he will be aiming to make a big impression in the competition his father excelled in as a youngster. The 19-year-old is a hugely talented winger, who has already made his Netherlands debut.

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