As 16 high-profile European clubs compete for the biggest European football title in 2023, this article looks at the favorites to secure the UEFA Champions League title in Istanbul.
The opening matches for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixtures will kick off in a few days. The phase is a knockout stage; even the best teams would be extra careful in their gameplay to scale to the next round. Of course, the journey has been thrilling, with many surprising outcomes from different groups.
Currently, there are 16 teams left in the competition. These include German giants, Bayern Munich, who qualified with impressive form, and there is also the unexpected winner of Group H, Benfica. Others include Premier League Champions, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, RB Leipzig, Porto, Napoli, Eintracht Frankfurt, Liverpool, Chelsea, Dortmund, Club Brugge, Tottenham, AC Milan, and French Champions, Paris St. Germain (PSG).
A look at the current fixtures breeds excitement, as there are several heavyweight clashes to look forward to. The fixtures also provide an opportunity for punters who wager on Champions League odds to place their bets and make some money in the run-up to the final in Istanbul. Regardless, analyzing the fixtures and competence of the individual teams over time, we’ve been able to draft a list of potential winners of the trophy come June 10, 2023. We’ve made this list based on team statistics, history, and quality of players, among other factors.
Paris St. Germain (PSG)
Boasting a team influenced by the World Cup winner Lionel Messi and French poster boy Kylian Mbappe, many would rank Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as the top favorite to win the competition. These two stars combine with Brazilian maestro Neymar Jr. to form a lethal trio in the attack.
The French team also has a strong back four which balances their game technique. The team presently holds the top spot in Ligue 1. However, they finished second in their UEFA Champions League (UCL) group. Due to this, they will face German champions Bayern Munchen on February 14 in the round of 16. Success in their clash against the German giants will significantly boost their confidence and may propel them to the title.
The closest Pep Guardiola’s team had come to winning the Champions League was in 2021 when a single Kai Havertz goal for Chelsea in Lisbon proved to be the difference. Well, the current City team is among the favorites to win the trophy this year. In terms of form, the team is five points behind Arsenal in the English Premier League and scored 67 goals this season across all competitions.
Despite the team’s considerable financial strength in buying players, the biggest trophy in European soccer has eluded them over the years, and there is a desire to win the title now. Prolific striker Erling Haaland recently arrived at the blue side of Manchester to boost their hopes, and according to most fans and critics, his goals might bring the title they’ve been longing for this year.
This season’s Serie A leaders have made significant progress. Napoli comfortably sits in first place in the Italian league table with 56 points, 13 more than its nearest rivals, Inter Milan. Going by their excellent form this season – the team has scored 51 goals after 21 matches and conceded just 15, it is not out of place to rank them as one of the top contenders for the UCL title.
The team is having a fantastic UCL season, with an average of 3.34 goals per game, winning five out of six games in their group stages. Two of their players to watch out for include the Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen and Georgian superstar, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. The team will play Eintracht Frankfurt in the round of 16, and success in the game may provide them with some belief to go all out for the big title.
German soccer is dominated by one team, and that supremacy frequently spills into the league of European champions. With ten straight league championships, the German powerhouse may want to shift its focus on European success and pursue the title they last won in 2020.
Even if the team’s composition has altered since the last victory, Bayern remains a formidable force under the capable Julian Nagelsmann, as shown in how they topped a group that included Inter Milan and Barcelona this year. The Bavarians have scored 18 goals in this season’s tournament and conceded just twice. That is definitely the form of a team to fear and a potential champion.
Arguably the greatest club in European football and the most successful in Champions League history, with 14 UCL titles, the Los Blancos are one of the favorites to lift the title again in 2023. Last season, despite being written off, the Santiago Bernabeu-based team won the title in an emphatic fashion.
This season, the Madrid side finished top of Group F, securing a place in the round of 16, where they will face big-time rivals, Liverpool, in the round of 16. Real Madrid sits a few points behind league leaders Barcelona in La Liga, and although their forms have not been as great as many fans would want, critics, football followers, and those who bet on soccer know it will be foolish to rule Madrid out of winning the Champions League again.
The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of European football, with the top football clubs from the major leagues competing for the big title. Ahead of the final game billed for June 2023 in Istanbul, Turkey, this article previews the top teams who are considered favorites for the title. While nothing is ever certain in football, the squad depth, tactical nous, and history of these teams place them ahead of their rivals.