Last year saw Real Madrid relinquish their stranglehold on the UEFA Champions League trophy in a manner not many people both in both the world of sports and crypto betting could have easily predicted. Every year, some 32 teams from about 8 leagues lock horns in a tournament that sees the emergence of the best team. This is achieved after six group stage games per team and four knockout stage games – each stage having a first and second leg excepting the finals.
Last year, Liverpool lifted the trophy for the first time since 2005 having fallen short of that glory a year prior when Real Madrid stole the show – no thanks to series of iconic bloopers from Karius, their shot-stopper at the time. Before Liverpool dethroned Real Madrid on the altar of the European Championship, not many people were willing to wager against the Galacticos. They had recorded three consecutive Champions League triumphs which brought their continental trophy tally to a staggering 12.
Fast-forward to 2020 and a good number of teams are hungry for the same glory. Barcelona unceremoniously crashed out of the tournament at the semifinals last year when they floundered at the sight of Liverpool. The Reds’ Mo Salah and Divock Origi would go on to contribute winning goals against Tottenham Hotspur shortly after.
Knockout Stage Begins: Who Are Favourites to Win?
The group stage and its league-like format has come to an end. 16 teams have already been sent home while another 16 are on their way to the Ataturk Stadium in Turkey – only two will reach there by the way. This is where it gets interesting as tears of victory and defeat begin to take centre stage. In this article, Football bh takes a look at the remaining teams in a bid to find out who seems most likely to go home with the continental trophy.
Let’s start with the underdogs. A more suitable term would be the not-so-likely winners of this year’s tournament. This might be a shock to lovers of football but the biggest winners in the competition’s history – Real Madrid – are underdogs in this term. It would seem that since Ronaldo left the Galacticos, the team has struggled at the continental stage where it used to show awe-inspiring dominance.
Real Madrid: Head coach Zinedine Zidane returned as boss last year to put things in place having been instrumental to Real’s recent trophy hat-trick in European competition. He shows promises of doing great things with the team as he did in his first term as boss in Madrid. Of course, his resolve to reclaim the team’s lost trophy will begin if he successfully guides Real Madrid past Pep’s Manchester City. They have 8% chance of returning to the top of the European food chain.
Juventus: Any team that has Cristiano Ronaldo in it has a decent chance of winning the UCL. He is the competition’s highest goal scorer and (at the time of writing this) is the leading goal scorer among active footballers. The Ronaldo threat is enough to throw opposition into total disarray. And smart betting requires that you wager in favour of a team like Ronaldo’s Juventus when they go face-to-face with a much younger, less experienced team like Ajax. But who would have believed it if earlier told that the Old Lady would stumble and fall before Ajax last year. They were taken unaware by a much younger team who were perhaps hungrier for glory. However, with Higuain and Gigi Buffon back for the Bianconeri, their chances rise to 10% in this campaign.
PSG: It is near impossible to imagine that a team with Kylan Mbappe, Angel di Maria, Edinson Cavani and Neymar Jnr., leading its attack, has never won the UEFA Champions League. It is incredible! But this is football, and stats like this make up the reality of the game. Albeit PSG have been impressive in France, winning eight Ligue 1 titles in just five decades of the club’s existence – six of those trophies coming in the last 7 years alone – they are yet to prove their mettle in Europe.
Now here are the biggest contenders for the trophy this year.
Manchester City: When Pep Guardiola leads a team, that team is bound to achieve great things. While this has been true for Manchester City in England; it has proved otherwise in Europe. It is also a surprise that a team that parades the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling should have won the Champions League, you would argue. We agree. They agree. And they seem determined to clinch the trophy this time. 25/% probability looks great on City.
Bayern Munich: They have won this trophy five times and hope to win it a sixth time this year as their consistency in the UEFA Champions League has shown in the last couple weeks. Lewy and his teammates will look to go past Chelsea who will be determined to put up a fight. Bet365 gives them a solid 11/2 chance at winning.
Barcelona: They last tasted European glory in 2015 when they broke the hearts of the Old Lady. Since then, they have crashed out almost consistently at the knockout stages. Leo Messi and his teammates will be looking to return to the top of European football as they seem unsatisfied with their conquests in Spain. Given the odds, the Catalans have a strong 14% chance of emerging Champions in Turkey.
Liverpool: Currently unbeaten in the English Premier League this season, The Reds show no signs of relinquishing the UEFA Champions League trophy this season. They may have lost some essential three points having fallen to Atletico in the first leg of their encounter in the round of 16. But then, they came back against the likes of Barcelona, and against greater odds. No doubt, they are capable of easily neutralizing and bettering this 0-1 lag.