Profiling the Favourites for the Champions League: Is it between Real Madrid and Manchester City?

View of a football stadium at night with the lights on and people in the stands

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The Champions League knockouts started last week with the two favourites for the tournament playing away to RB Leipzig and FC Copenhagen respectively. The results – a 1-0 win for Real and a 3-1 win for City – did little to alter the Champions League betting odds.

According to the bookmakers Pep Guardiola’s Cityzens are the team most likely to lift the famous trophy at Wembley Stadium on the 1st of June. Just behind them in the Champions League betting outrights are Real Madrid who will be looking to win their 15th European Cup.

Are the bookmakers right to favour both of these teams so heavily? Are there other teams that could upset the odds and overthrow these European heavyweights? Read on to find out as we profile the 5 teams most likely to win European football’s top prize this season.

(Will City be celebrating again in June?)

PSG

The Parisians are the fifth favourites according to the Champions League betting odds but recent history and a quick glance at any of PSG’s games in Europe this season would tell us that the odds are a little bit off.

Talisman Kylian Mbappe is all but set to leave for Real Madrid in the summer and, as ever, there is growing discontent in the Parisian dressing room. Since Luis Enrique’s arrival in the summer PSG have been playing a smaller, more controlled style that focuses heavily on possession.

Whilst that approach is working well in Ligue 1 it has led to the team coming unstuck in Europe, particularly when faced with high pressing, energetic opponents. Can they get through the knockouts unscathed with such a glaring weak spot? We don’t think so.

Bayern Munich

We don’t know if Thomas Tuchel will be in charge of Bayern Munich next week let alone for the latter stages of the Champions League. In fact, we don’t even know if the Bavarian side will be in the quarter-finals after losing the first-leg of their Round of 16 clash with Lazio 1-0.

Sure they have Harry Kane in their ranks, but recent form combined with the memory of their absolute humbling at the hands of Manchester City in last year’s competition indicates that Bayern are nothing more than outsiders this time round.

(Bayern’s 3-2 loss to Bochum at the weekend was their third defeat in a row, something which hasn’t happened since 2015.)

Arsenal

Mikel Arteta’s men are in top form this season and could well finish the season with a Premier League trophy. What’s more is that they’ve already proven themselves of beating top teams this season, claiming City and Liverpool’s scalps in the league.

Can they win the Champions League though? Well, yes they could but if they did it would be somewhat of a surprise. When it comes to the cut and thrust of a high-pressure Champions League knockout game we don’t think they have either the attacking firepower or European experience to come out on top against a team like City or Real Madrid over two legs.

(Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Liverpool last month reaffirmed their belief that they can beat the best teams in Europe.)

Real Madrid

There’s an argument to be made that Arsenal are better than Real Madrid. What Los Blancos have though is an unbreakable love affair with this competition that more often than not seems to provide them with an extra edge.

Sure, they fell to Manchester City last season at the semi-final stage but they are more than capable of beating any side in Europe on their day. What makes Madrid more of a threat this year is the presence of Jude Bellingham in midfield.

Since arriving from Dortmund in the summer the Englishman has scored 20 goals in 29 appearances and could be the difference in the latter stages of the Champions League.

Manchester City

It’s not long since TV pundits were questioning Manchester City and wondering if the dizzying highs of last season’s treble had made them complacent as they ‘struggled’ in the league. Pep Guardiola’s ‘strugglers’ sit just three points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool with a game in hand and have all but sealed their passage to the last 8 of the Champions League.

What’s more is that this is the time of year that Pep Guardiola sides come to life. In truth there’s no other team on the planet on City’s level right now and if everything goes to form, they’ll be holding the Champions League trophy aloft at Wembley in June.

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