The Champions League is entering its crucial stage as the last 16 knockout matches edge closer. These are the type of games that can make or break a season, get a manager the sack, or help establish a club legend. Put simply, after months of group stage matches; it’s crunch time.
We’ve had a feast of football so far this tournament, and with some of the best sides in the world facing off against each other from February 18th onwards, we could be spoilt even further. It’s fairly hard to call too, although there are a few standout sides left in the competition.
With that in mind, we thought we’d go through the contenders to ultimately reign supreme and end up lifting the Champions League trophy in Istanbul, Turkey on May 30th.
Flying high in the Premier League and the current holders of the Champions League, Jurgen Klopp’s side are the team to beat. A tough tie against Atletico Madrid awaits but they are strong favourites, currently priced at 1/4 according to the latest online sports betting markets at Bet365, to make it through to the quarter-finals. Liverpool are among the favourites for the tournament, priced at 9/2. Atletico, of course, are no mugs, but Liverpool look unstoppable right now.
Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t exactly setting the Premier League alight this campaign, but their Champions League hopes are still alive. In fact, they’re currently favourites to win the competition with odds on offer of 4/1 (bet365). It’s certainly no foregone conclusion that City will even get past their last 16 tie, though. They’re playing Real Madrid after all, although, with the firepower they possess and desperation from Guardiola to win this trophy for the club, they might just scrape through. After that – and with the abundance of talent Manchester City have in their ranks – anything is possible.
Chelsea is a decent team, but Bayern Munich might be a step too far for Frank Lampard’s young Blues side. Bayern, who have recently returned to good form domestically, are currently priced at 13/2 (888sport) to win the whole competition, which represents superb value for a team likely to get past Chelsea and have the talent to win it. No team will want to face Bayern Munich in the latter stages, that’s for sure, especially with the lethal Robert Lewandowski up front.
Big spenders PSG clearly possess the quality to mount a real challenge in Europe this season. The Champions League is a trophy they crave and with world-class stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe leading their attack, odds of 7/1 (888sport) on them to win the whole thing represent fantastic value. First, though, they must see off Dortmund
(Image via https://twitter.com/BarcaWorldwide)
Lionel Messi and his teammates will fancy their chances against Napoli in the last 16, which is understandable given the Argentine magician’s amazing ability and the other talent they have in the side. Currently priced at an excellent 6/1 (Bet365) to win the Champions League, Barca are always there or thereabouts.
After winning it a mightily impressive three times in a row in recent times under the returning Zinedine Zidane as manager, it’s virtually impossible to write off Real Madrid. Odds of 16/1 (888sport) suggest they’re underdogs this season, but should they defeat Manchester City in the last 16, then Real have the know-how and experience to make it to the final in Istanbul.
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