We may have only just started the knockout stages of this season’s Champions League, but a number of teams have already shown clear statements of intent as far as the competition goes this year. We are down to the real business end now and there are already some clear winners and losers.
The top betting sites will have their own ideas of who will go on to win Europe’s most prestigious soccer tournament. But, with the second leg of the round of 16 still to play, here are which teams we think you should consider if you are betting on the Champions League winner.
Maybe Next Year
With the domestic season that Liverpool is enduring, the last team Jurgen Klopp would have wanted to come up against in the round of 16 was reigning champions Real Madrid. But after a quarter of an hour, the home fans inside Anfield could hardly contain themselves as Liverpool went two goals up. It wasn’t to last though.
Real Madrid answered with five goals of its own and made the second leg almost irrelevant. Liverpool will now have to concentrate on somehow getting back into the race for the top four in the EPL if they are to get another chance at the Champions League next season.
The other clubs that can probably already count themselves out of the running are Club Brugge and Eintracht Frankfurt. Neither would have been fancied to go too much further anyway, but 2-0 home defeats in the first leg indicate that the return games will be more of a formality for Benfica and Napoli.
Many of the other round of 16 ties seem perfectly balanced going into the second leg. Manchester City should be able to overcome RB Leipzig at home after drawing 1-1 in Germany, while Spurs will not think they are out of the running after only losing by one goal against Milan in the San Siro.
Borussia Dortmund might be considered a long shot for the title, but they are the form team in Europe at the moment – not losing a single game since the turn of the year. A tough return leg at Stamford Bridge awaits but the Bundesliga side could cause an upset if they win and then receive a more favorable draw in the quarterfinals.
We can probably count out the two Portuguese clubs – Benfica and Porto – even if they make it through to the last eight. So that leaves us with the big teams we now might expect to lift the famous old trophy in Istanbul in June.
You will have noticed that we have not mentioned PSG so far. That is not because we think the wealthy French club will win this year.
It is because we think that they will exit the competition very soon. Bayern Munich outclassed the Paris side in the first leg and will now fancy their chances of progressing. With Sadio Mane back from injury, the German champions could go all the way again.
We have mentioned Manchester City’s chances of progressing, but the owners will want nothing short of Champions League glory.
That is why they brought Erling Haaland to the club in the summer and there is a good chance that City could go further in the competition. But Pep Guardiola seems to have a problem with the later rounds of this tournament and a tough draw could spell the end of his involvement.
We would rather look at the chances of Napoli and Real Madrid. The Italian club are enjoying an incredible domestic campaign, with a third Serie A title well within its grasp. The goals of Victor Osimhen and the trickery of Khvicha Kvaratskhelia could bring even more success to Naples.
But it is the current holders that we see having the best chance of going all the way this year. After stumbling its way to the title last season, Real Madrid has looked unstoppable this time around and showed Liverpool exactly what it could do when things seemed to be going wrong.
It only seemed a matter of time before Madrid turned that first leg game around and it is that belief that could give them back-to-back titles – the first team to do so since it won three in a row in 2018.
Ken Anucha studied Information Technology at Sikkim Manipal University. He is a gaming and sports enthusiast whose aim is to keep folks in these spheres thoroughly informed and up-to-date.