The UEFA Champions League will resume in February, with the round of 16 clashes taking place. While usual suspects like Real Madrid, Manchester city, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all made it to the next round from the group stages, there have been a few less-fancied clubs like FC Copenhagen and RB Leipzig reaching there.
With only a little more than midway through the season, it is still difficult to predict the way things will pan out at its end. Still, we have tried to pick three favourites to win Europe’s premier competition in this article.
#3. Bayern Munich
The Bavarians are six-time champions, having last won the competition in 2020. However, they have been bolstered by Harry Kane’s presence this season. The English captain has already scored an astounding 26 goals in only 23 matches for the German giants and should be able to make things count during the latter stages of the Champions League as well.
In addition to that, Bayern have an enviable collection of attacking players at their disposal. Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Müller and Kingsley Coman combine to form one of the most lethal attacking units in Europe.
Bayern scored 12 goals in their six group matches in this year’s tournament, going on to win five of those matches. Hence, it will not be a surprise if Thomas Tuchel manages to win his second Champions League title as a manager.
Bayern will face Lazio in the round of 16, which could prove to be a tricky tie for them. However, they should have enough in their tank to go past the Italian club.
#2. Real Madrid
The most successful club in the world is the perennial favourite at Europe’s biggest competition and this year is going to be no exception. Real have a really balanced team and also enough big-match experience among their players to win their 15th Champions League title.
While Jude Belligham is having a dream debut season at the club with 17 goals and six assists in 25 matches so far, the likes of Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo are also living up to the expectations. Real also has the experience of Luka Modrić and Toni Kroos by their side.
They also have a pretty solid defence comprising the likes of Antonio Rüdiger, Nacho, David Alaba and Dani Carvajal. Real will face RB Leipzig in the round of 16, which should be a reasonably straightforward tie for them.
Overall, Carlo Ancelotti’s team remains one of the most feared ones in Europe and no other team will like to be drawn to face it from the quarterfinals on, should they be able to beat Leipzig.
#1. Manchester City
The defending champions will be the favourites this time around, too. Manchester City, who won the treble last season, has been the most consistent team in Europe for the last few seasons. The Citizens will play FC Copenhagen in the round of 16, thereby facing arguably the weakest team left in the competition.
However, Pep Guardiola should know that it will not be an easy task to repeat last season’s heroics for his team, despite its obvious quality. Still, they are almost certain to reach the semifinals at least and anything can happen thereafter.
City is a team full of wonderful players like Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker and Julián Álvarez. De Bruyne was mostly sidelined during the first half of the season with an injury, but has made a comeback in style recently.
Moreover, a new signing like Jérémy Doku has also performed quite well so far. Hence, Manchester City remains the team to beat once again in Europe’s biggest competition.