Very soon, on September 14, the group stage of the Champions League will start. The draw has already taken place, giving the audience (and the teams, too) many exciting confrontations. It’s time to plunge into the main club tournament in Europe and think about who will be triumphant this season. Let’s consider the five leading contenders for winning the tournament.
For three years in a row, Manchester City left the Champions League at the 1/4 final stage. Last season, the “citizens” overcame a sad milestone for themselves and reached the tournament’s final. At the playoff stage, Josep Guardiola’s team passed first Monchengladbach and then Borussia Dortmund, after which they broke the resistance of PSG. In the final match, City lost to Chelsea with a minimum score. The “citizens” were very close to realizing the dream of the blue part of Manchester, but rivals prevented them from London.
This season, City will again be one of the favourites of the Champions League. “Citizens” do not retreat from the idea of winning the LCH, and every year they make more and more efforts to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, Manchester City could not get a central striker but set a transfer record in the Premier League by signing winger Jack Grealish from Aston Villa for 100 million pounds. So far, the player looks a little damp in Guardiola’s team, but the specialist has time to make the most of him. Otherwise, Manchester City has a good, balanced squad, which will again fight for the” big-eared ” trophy.
Probably, few people thought that Chelsea would be so much transformed under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel. But the specialist immediately got down to business. The German returned the “blues” to the top 4 of the Premier League and led the team to the Champions League final. At the playoff stage, the Londoners passed Atletico, Porto and Real Madrid. The Blues had one goal enough to defeat Manchester City and win the prestigious tournament in the final match. At the beginning of this season, Chelsea managed to grab the UEFA Super Cup. There is no doubt that the Blues will be one of the favourites in the current draw of the LCH.
Chelsea has a young but promising team that has already tasted great victories. For sure, the team of Tuchel will not want to stop there. In addition, the Londoners received an excellent reinforcement in the person of Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has already scored a goal in the derby against Arsenal. In addition, Chelsea has hired Atletico midfielder Saul Nyiges. This is also a perfect transfer. The Spaniard will help the Blues, including in European competitions. Thus, a good team has gathered in London, which is developing and progressing. The current Chelsea has excellent opportunities and a great future.
The Munich club is among the favourites of any tournament in which it participates. Moreover, Bayern will want to rehabilitate themselves for their unsuccessful performance in last year’s Champions League draw. “Rekordmeister” then left the tournament already at the stage of the 1/4 final. Munich confidently passed Lazio in the 1/8th but could not defeat PSG in a two-legged confrontation. However, the German champions then had a difficult personnel situation; Robert Lewandowski remained in the infirmary. But a departure is a departure. There is no doubt that Bayern will try to perform better and more confidently in European competitions this season.
The “Recordmeister” had an uncertain pre-season preparation and started the new campaign with a draw in the match against Borussia M.. Still, the Munich team quickly returned to the winning path. Bayern has already managed to win the German Super Cup during the current season and won the last two matches with a total score of 17:0. Borussia Dortmund does not look very confident, Leipzig has lost two key players (both, by the way, moved to Munich), so it seems that in the Bundesliga, Recordmeister should not have big problems. This means that Bayern will pay special attention to the Champions League, where it has a good chance of success.
The Champions League is the main tournament for PSG. Parisians do not hide this and openly declare a great desire to win the “big-eared” trophy. But so far, it is not possible. PSG came as close as possible to the cherished goal in the 2019/20 campaign but lost to Bayern in the final match with a minimum score. It is noteworthy that the winning goal of the “red-blue” was scored by their pupil – Kingsley Coman. Last season, the Parisians took revenge on the “recordmeister” but lost to Manchester City in the semi-finals, after which they left the tournament. In the current campaign, the vice-champions of France will make another attempt to win the “big-eared” trophy. They are one of the main favourites of the Champions League among bookmakers.
PSG did a lot of work on strengthening the squad last summer. The main success of the “red-blue” was the signing of Lionel Messi, and even as a free agent. Georginho Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Ashraf Hakimi also arrived in Paris. Plus, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe remain at the Parc des Princes. There are many stars in the PSG squad now, but whether the Parisians will become the new Galacticos is still a big question. In Ligue 1, the “red-blue” probably won’t have any problems, but the LCH is an entirely different tournament. A lot will depend not only on the selection of players but also on coaching decisions. Football is not the NBA. Here, the presence of superstar players does not guarantee titles yet. Theoretically, the Parisians have a high chance of winning the LCH, but they still have much work.
Recently, Real Madrid has been seriously let down by injury situations. It was the same last season. Nevertheless, personnel problems did not prevent the “royal club” from reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League. In the 1/8 finals, “creamy” passed “Atalanta”, in the 1/4‑th – “Liverpool”, and only in the semi-finals “Blancos” lost to the future winner of the tournament – “Chelsea”. Real Madrid had many problems, but the team performed well in the Champions League and fought for the championship in La Liga until the last round. Then Zinedine Zidane left the capital of Spain, but another famous specialist, Carlo Ancelotti, took his place. The Italian returned to Madrid to return the “royal club” to the leading positions in Spanish and European football.
Last summer, Real Madrid signed defender David Alaba and midfielder Eduardo Camavinga to their ranks. This is an excellent reinforcement of the already existing composition. At the start of the season, “creamy” may not look very convincing, but they should not be discounted in any case. The Champions League is a tournament of the “royal club”. After the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Blancos win in different ways: on experience, on luck, on moral and volitional qualities. All these factors will help Real Madrid in the LCH as well. As part of the” royal club”, both experienced champions and young, trophy-hungry football players play. This symbiosis can and should become a strong side of “creamy”. Ancelotti has already taken the “big-eared ” trophy together with“Blancos”. Why not take another one?