With the Champions League returning next week, we’ll be taking a look at who is most likely to come away from Lisbon with the trophy. The 2nd legs of the last 16 round will be played at the grounds of the respected teams who are still in the competition, with all the following ties to be played in the Portugal capital. The quarter and semi-finals will all be single legged ties, which is sure to provide a lot of entertainment.
My favourites to win the European cup, with the only thing in my mind preventing them from winning it all, is the long lay-off between the ending of the Bundesliga and the restart of the Champions League. They blew rivals Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig out the water by a staggering 13 points to 2nd place Dortmund. Talisman Robert Lewandowski has been on fire this season, accumulating 34 goals in 31 games in the league. The Polish striker looked set to win the Ballon d’Or, until it was voided this season by organisers. With a total of 51 goals in all competitions, thanks to the cast of Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry and Joshua Kimmich all playing pivotal roles in helping the number 9 reach that tally, makes it hard for me to comprehend that any team can stop the relentless goal scoring of Lewandowski. With a current 3-0 lead against Chelsea, it is no wonder that the German giants are joint favourites to win the tournament outright. Despite the absence of fans at the Allianz Arena, it is a tough task to go to Munich and get a result against such a team, never mind the fact that Frank Lampard’s men will have to score at least 3 to be in with a chance of advancing. At 10/3, I’m very confident that this is great value for money.
The Ligue 1 champions cannot be ruled out, purely down to their route to the final. PSG will have to overcome Italian side Atalanta first, but will then face either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig. By missing the likes of Manchester City, Barcelona and Juventus, it’s a surprise to see them come in at a value of 5/1. During the French Cup final however, Kylian Mbappe suffered an ankle injury that will see him miss the match against Atalanta, but their attacking prowess is still surely going to take them over the line. Neymar and Co should not be overlooked due to the way in which they have been seeded in the knockout stages.
England’s only hope of bringing the trophy back to home soil in my opinion. Chelsea’s deficit to Bayern is too much for them to claw back from, which means City will have to hold on to their 2-1 lead from the Bernabeu stadium, against Spanish champions Real Madrid. The Galacticos found a slight run of form that saw them leapfrog Barcelona to win the domestic league, but I believe that Pep Guardiola’s side will be eager to take the trophy home to Manchester, considering there was a possibility that their appeal on their European ban was to be upheld. Fortunately, the ruling had been overturned and the citizens will be hoping to prove others that they’re worthy of winning such a trophy. Joining Bayern Munich at 10/3, I don’t see them as being of similar value to the German side, but they are worth taking note of if they can fend off Zinedine Zidane’s men at the Etihad.