Ranking the Champions League Favorites

After the first match-day of Champions League football, Kosi Benson evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of the Champions League favorites.


Despite spending €1 billion in seven seasons, the Parisian club has never reached a Champions League semi-final. This year, with a superstar forward line as well as a master tactician in Thomas Tuchel, anything less than a first ever semi-final will be seen as a failure.

Chances rating: 8.5/10


While PSG’s Merseyside opponents, who boast a 100% record in the English division, will try to replicate the form shown in the last season. Jurgen Klopp will hope his star-studded forward line will be able to fire Liverpool to victory or thereabout, as well as the world’s most expensive defender, the colossus Virgil van Dijk and the newly recruited world class goalkeeper Alisson Becker, who will do everything in his power to banish the antics of Loris Karius in the previous campaign.

Chances rating: 8.5/10


The purchase of Cristiano Ronaldo has certainly raised expectations in Turin. Having reached the final twice under Massimiliano Allegri, the Old Lady will be hoping this is the year they finally crack it in Europe’s biggest stage. However, with an aging center back pairing, the Bianconeri faithful will be hoping their warriors will give one last push and that CR7 can continue his insane performances in this competition, especially in the knockout stages.

Chances rating: 9/10


Three consecutive quarter-final exits in the last three seasons have been underwhelming by Barca’s standards, especially considering the fact that their Clásico rivals have picked up the trophy in each of those seasons. Barca will be hoping  Lionel Messi will inspire them to their 6th title. However, the little genius can’t do it alone as proved time and time again, and the Barça faithful will be hopeful that Luis Suárez will rediscover his best form and will be encouraged by the form of the dynamic Ousmane Dembélé.

Chances rating: 8/10

Real Madrid

Julen Lopetegui has a difficult job to manage the expectations in the Bernabéu. After winning three consecutive UCL titles, a summer of changes in which his predecessor, Zidane, resigned and the transfer of arguably the greatest ever Real Madrid player to Juventus, an argument could be made that the Madrid club has been weakened. However, the club still possess some of the world’s best talents in Luka Modrić, Gareth Bale, Marcelo to name a few. It will be interesting to see what will be considered success in the white part of Madrid.

Chances rating: 9/10

Atletico Madrid

A poor start to the season has vanished the joy of a positive transfer window in which they kept hold of star striker Antoine Griezmann as well as purchasing some quality young talent. The previous Champions League campaign ended in disappointing fashion, so the club will be desperate to right the wrongs this time around, but with the quality of the other teams, it is difficult to see how Atlético bring home Ol’ Big Ears in their home stadium.

Chances rating: 7/10

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola has never won this trophy outside Barcelona, but could this be the season he finally does so? A squad that broke every record in the English division has been strengthened by the transfer of Algerian winger, Riyad Mahrez, who still has some adapting to do. The Citizens will be hoping star playmaker Kevin De Bruyne recovers as soon as possible, but Bernardo Silva’s performances have helped fill the gap for the time being. A quality team with a quality manager, you get the feeling they only need things to go their way to be champions this time around. Nonetheless, that’s easier said than done.

Chances rating: 9.5/10

Bayern Munich

Despite making it to the semifinals in the past four out of five seasons, Bayern have failed to make it to the Champions League Final since 2013, where they defeated Borussia Dortmund. Despite having one of the best squads in world football, one must wonder if they have enough fire power up front to challenge.

Chances rating: 7.5/10

Manchester United

José Mourinho was once considered a master of this competition after success with underdogs such as Porto and Inter Milan. However, after the Round of 16 elimination at the hands of Sevilla, and with third-season syndrome kicking in, Mourinho is desperate to taste Europe’s top prize once again in order to keep his job. Whether he still has the locker room is another matter; a summer of disapointments combined with a mixed start to the season makes the Old Trafford club outsiders. Key men such as David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku will be absolutely vital if United are to have any chances.

Chances rating: 7/10

Tottenham Hotspur

Mauricio Pochettino has done a brilliant job with Spurs, making them one of England’s top teams. But you just get the feeling that a UCL victory would be a step too far for a club with zero additions in the summer. Spurs have one of Europe’s best strikers in Harry Kane, but there are simply too many unanswered questions regarding this squad’s mentality and ability; getting past the group stage itself will be a challenge for the North London side.

Chances rating: 6.5/10

By: Kosi Benson

Foto: AP