With four games down and two to go in the Champions League group stage, the early contenders for the title are beginning to emerge. There is a long way to go before the final in Istanbul on the 30th May 2020, but let’s take a look at the teams that could be worth considering for those betting on UEFA Champions League.
The current favourites to lift the European Cup this season are Manchester City. Although their league form has seen something of a blip in recent times with defeats to Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool, they have looked strong in the Champions League. Pep Guardiola’s side are top of Group C with 10 points from four games played.
The pressure is on for City to win the Champions League as it is the only title that has eluded them since they have become one of the biggest clubs in England. Guardiola, too, has struggled in the competition since his days at Barcelona, failing to reach the final with either Bayern Munich or City so far.
The club haven’t progressed beyond the quarter-finals since Guardiola took the helm, and a serious push for Champions League glory is a must this season.
Liverpool are riding the crest of a wave as far as European football is concerned. They won their sixth European Cup last season after reaching the final the year before. Victory in the UEFA Super Cup in August added an extra garnish to their recent continental success and something the club will be looking to continue this season.
The Reds are top of Group E and look set to progress to the knockout stages. With Jürgen Klopp’s side desperate to get their hands on the Premier League title, it could be that the Champions League takes a backseat. But Liverpool are too strong a team to rule out, even if attentions are focused elsewhere.
Barcelona were many people’s picks to win last season’s competition. It was looking good for Luis Enrique’s side up to and including the semi-final first-leg after a 3-0 win over Liverpool at Camp Nou. What happened in the second leg made history, as Liverpool launched a sensational comeback to win 4-0 at Anfield and reach the final in Barcelona’s stead.
It has been reported that the team is still suffering from the effects of that defeat, but that could provide the extra motivation Barcelona need to win the Champions League. They had to watch on as arch-rivals Real Madrid won three Champions Leagues on the bounce between 2016 and 2018, and there is a feeling that this is Barça’s time to step up and win their first European crown since 2015. With the team currently leading Group F, the early signs are positive.
PSG have been the most impressive side in the Champions League group-stage this season. They opened their campaign with a crushing 4-0 win over Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes and have won every game since.
There are parallels between PSG and Man City in terms of their Champions League results over the last few seasons. Both sides have almost unrivalled spending power, yet they have come up short so often in Europe. This season, there seems to be a newfound determination in the way PSG are playing, and if they can get a favourable draw in the last 16, who’s to say they couldn’t lift the trophy?
Bayern are another team who have won four out of four in the Champions League this season. The highlight of the campaign so far was the 7-2 away demolition of last season’s runners up Tottenham Hotspur in October. Former Arsenal winger, Serge Gnabry, scored four goals that night, and he is fast becoming one of Europe’s top attackers.
The German club have not reached a Champions League final since they won the competition in the 2012-13 season. They’ll be looking to make amends for last campaign’s second-round exit, and given the form they’ve shown so far, you wouldn’t put it past them to go all the way.