Following the feast of World Cup football on offer over the summer, fans of the sport were still delighted, no doubt, to see the return of the domestic game and the club match-up’s we adore as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and a whole host of other major divisions made their comeback in recent weeks.
The next big football attraction yet to get underway is the Champions League – a competition which certainly rivals the World Cup, especially when it comes to entertainment and unpredictability. The quality of talent on show is immense also, making it a gripping contest from start to finish.
A number of sides are capable of mounting a challenge this season, as usual, but just who are the realistic contenders for the final on June 1 at the Wanda Metropolitano?
Currently priced at 12/1 (bet365) to win the competition, Diego Simeone’s side tend to be there or thereabouts when it comes to European football’s top trophy. In a kinder group than most, including Dortmund, Club Brugge and Monaco, Atleti are sure to advance to the knockout stages, where nobody will want to face such a tough nut to crack. The final of the competition is being held at their stadium too, which would certainly give Atleti a huge advantage should they reach it.
The mighty Barcelona aren’t so mighty anymore, with odds of 6/1 on them to win the Champions League reflecting that somewhat. Any side with Lionel Messi in it will always cause problems though, and with a group containing Inter Milan, Tottenham and PSV, the Catalan giants could gain real momentum ahead of the knockout stages, where anything is possible.
Klopp’s Liverpool will be desperate for success after last year’s final defeat to Real Madrid. With summer improvements made in the shape of goalkeeper Alisson, midfielder Naby Keita, tough tackler Fabinho and a game-changer in the mould of Shaqiri, the Reds are looking stronger this campaign. Odds of 12/1 represent fantastic value for a side more than capable of going one better this time around.
In arguably the easiest group of the lot, the holders will surely advance and make the latter rounds of the competition. Certainly, a more beatable proposition without Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid, who are priced at 8/1 to win the whole thing, still possess a whole host of quality and are still the team everyone wants to beat.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be desperate for European success this season – it’s all that’s missing from the club’s trophy cabinet and Pep himself, a lover of the competition, will be determined to win it. Currently 9/2 favourites, which still represents decent value – especially if it’s a free bet, the Premier League champions will be right up there.
#SerieA – RESULT:
Juventus 2-1 Sassuolo
Ronaldo is off the mark for Juve! His double earns the league leaders another win. pic.twitter.com/isTQ2ojiPT
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) September 16, 2018
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, as they’re now known, are a dangerous proposition partly down to the man himself. Ronaldo knows how to win this competition, and if he clicks with his talented teammates then Juve could deliver the prize. In group featuring Manchester United, Valencia and Young Boys, it won’t be easy but advance from it and no side will want Juve in the knockout stages.
Currently priced at 15/2 to win the Champions League, which is a fantastic return, could this be cash-rich PSG’s year? Neymar and Mbappe will need to step up if they’re to finally deliver a competition the club’s hierarchy are so desperate to win. With Gigi Buffon now on board, the Italian could help provide the mental strength PSG have arguably missed in the past too.