The UEFA Champions League returns on Tuesday night as the fearsome round of 16 gets underway. Only 32 teams remain as they all strive for European glory, but who are the frontrunners to win the Champions League this year and what odds are available before the knockout stage begins?
Below we take a look in detail at the outright odds and assess each team’s chances.
Manchester City @ 2/1
The reigning European champions, English champions and FA Cup holders. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are the obvious favourites having won their first Champions League title last term. Few would argue that the Citizens are the best team in the world at this moment in time, and with a favourable draw against Copenhagen, they should be able to make it through to the quarter-finals.
From there, it all depends on the draw, but with the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne now fully fit, no team in Europe will want to face them. They also got the monkey off their backs last year with that win over Inter Milan in the final, and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why they can’t go back-to-back in Europe. The only question is whether they can balance a European tilt with a three-way title race in the Premier League. In Jurgen Klopp’s final season, it will require a gargantuan effort from City to prevent Liverpool winning the league title.
Bayern Munich @ 7/2
Something isn’t quite right at Bayern at this moment in time, so I’d steer well clear of the 7/2 price that has been placed on them to win the Champions League. They were hammered 3-0 by Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend and now they may fail to win the league title for the first time since 2012.
They’re now five points off top, and while they have a decent Champions League draw against Lazio, I simply can’t see them beating several of the teams still in the competition. Harry Kane, Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane make up one of the most talented front lines in Europe, but success this time around might be too much of an ask.
Real Madrid @ 11/2
Now we are talking. Arguably the value pick out of any club listed here, the 14-time European champions are flying in La Liga. Destined to win another title after their 4-0 hammering of Girona this weekend, Los Blancos arguably boast the best player in the world right now in Jude Bellingham.
He’s been in incredible form this term with 20 goals from 29 matches in all competitions, and four in five Champions League outings. He could go on and win the Golden Boot in both competitions, but more importantly, his link up with Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr could take Real Madrid all the way. You simply cannot rule the Spanish giants out, and I believe they provide excellent value at this stage of proceedings.
Arsenal @ 6/1
Arsenal? To win the European Cup? Surely not. It’s testament to the good work Mikel Arteta has done that Arsenal are fourth favourites here, despite not winning this competition previously, and having not got past the round of 16 since 2010.
Up against Porto, they should end that particular unwanted record, but I’m not sure they’ll have enough in the big games against some of Europe’s giants. They will go deep, but backing them to go all the way feels brave.
Paris Saint-Germain @ 12/1
What can Kylian Mbappe do in what is likely to be his final season at PSG? Win the Champions League? Probably not. He is remarkable, and PSG have only lost once in La Liga this term as they look set to wrap up another league title, but in Europe they still have a clear mental block.
They face Real Sociedad in the last 16, a kind draw on paper but one they could slip up in. Remember, Sociedad won their group and went unbeaten, while PSG picked up just eight points from six matches as they finished second. I’d stay well away from backing the French champions.
Barcelona @ 16/1
Absolutely no chance. Not much more needs to be said on this one. Xavi is leaving, Barcelona are a mess and they face a really tough side in Napoli in the round of 16. They are battling for third place in La Liga and, with their financial problems, they won’t be competing for Champions League titles for the foreseeable future.
Inter Milan @ 20/1
Now these are my outsiders to go all the way. I can’t understand why Inter are priced at longer odds than Barcelona and PSG. They made it to the Champions League final last season and pushed Manchester City all the way. In Serie A, they are having another storming season and are top of the table, seven points clear of second-placed Juventus. Simone Inzaghi has proven himself to be a very talented operator on the touchline and, despite losing the likes of Andre Onana and Marcelo Brozovic over the summer, they haven’t taken a step backwards.
Benjamin Pavard was a coup from Bayern, while Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram make for an energetic and talented front two. There’s so much to like about Inter this season, and if they can knock out Atletico Madrid in the round of 16, people will begin to take them a lot more seriously. 20/1 is a huge price for a team that nearly won the competition last term.
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