After a couple of one sided games in last weeks matchdays, the Champions League really seems up in the air this year. Over the past few years, the eventual winners have been pretty predictable, with Zidane’s new look Madrid winning last year, Enrique’s ‘MSN’ the year before and the La Decima before that. I have a feeling that this year’s winner may be a bit of a shock, just like Chelsea when they turned over Munich in the Allianz Arena. So let’s assess the remaining teams…
Real Madrid: Obviously the defending champions have an excellent chance, they haven’t won the league in ages and are in pole position right now so the Champions League will not be priority like last year. But after an impressive 3-1 win over Napoli, and a returning Gareth Bale they will be very hard to beat.
Napoli: Napoli are an excellent side and definitely will be a force to come in the coming years with their brutal attack, I do not see them overturning the 3-1 deficit against Madrid though sadly for them.
Bayern Munich: Possibly the favourites, they haven’t done anything in a few years across Europe, after that impressive thumping over Arsenal last week they may just be the team to beat. It would also be a fitting send off for Alonso and Lahm who are retiring at the end of the year.
Arsenal: Unfortunately another exit in the first round.
Benfica: They scraped a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund at home last week but didn’t look that impressive. After losing Goncalo Guedes they have lost a little fire power too, they will do well to progress to the quarters.
Borussia Dortmund: I think they will overturn Benfica at home, but will struggle in the clutch games that will come after that due to how weak their defence is and poor away form. Thomas Tuchel definitely has something to work with in the future with that young attack though.
Barcelona: Absolutely awful performance in the first leg vs PSG, might as well announce next year’s manager already.
PSG: This could finally be the year, they won’t be worrying about the league and have this solely to focus on. The midfield duo of Rabiot and Verrati looks incredible, they outclassed Barcelona’s excellent midfield last week and the other threats around also looked great.
Bayer Leverkusen: Will struggle against Atletico, not been too good this year, don’t see much for them.
Atletico Madrid: With nothing to play for in the league, I think they will have another good run in this competition. Diego Simeone has shown a ability to set up teams for crunch clashes in important games and he has virtually the same squad this year with a little added power. They have been unlucky over the last few years and it’s only a matter of time before they finally win it before Simeone moves on.
Manchester City: Simply not good enough, don’t see them making it past the quarters, Guardiola does not have the squad that he desires yet.
Monaco: One of the best home records and attacks across Europe, they may cause a couple of upsets with the attack of Falcao, Silva and Lemar but I don’t think the defence will be able to go past the semis.
Leicester City: What a story this would be, but the tie against Sevilla may get embarrassing if they perform like they have been doing in the league.
Sevilla: They have been good in the league this year and have shown that they can perform in Europe. They could be a surprise team this year, if they can replicate previous years.
Porto: Don’t see them getting past this next round, just not strong enough.
Juventus: They have a decent chance of having a good run this year, with the league already in one hand they can have a real go just like they did a couple of years ago.
There are a few contenders this year, but I am going for a PSG vs Atletico Madrid final. If this happens I will take Atletico Madrid as winners. If these are drawn against each other I will take the winner’s of the tie. Admittedly, anybody could take it this year.