With the Champions League finally back and most league seasons completed, Europe’s best are once again turning their attention towards winning the most coveted trophy in club football.
In what is quite a confusing setup though, there is still the small matter of a handful of last-16 games to conclude which were halted due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
You may remember Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund falling out of the competition alongside holders Liverpool at the Last-16 stage, but there are a host of sides still looking to secure their place in the next round including Chelsea, Manchester City and Barcelona, but who are the favourites at this very tenuous stage?
As things stand, despite still having a very difficult last-16 match to come, Manchester City are the bookmakers favourites to finally end their Champions League duck, with the side fancied at 10/3 with some bookies.
This leaning towards the English giants is somewhat puzzling when you throw the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Juventus into the fold, with City always seeming to engage their deer in headlights mode when they are nearing the latter-stages of the competition. With Pep Guardiola at the helm and managing the in-form Kevin De Bruyne though, who would bet against City finally winning the trophy and giving David Silva the swan song he so desperately deserves.
Bayern and Barcelona meanwhile are two of the most experienced teams in the competition and simply know how to win. Admittedly, Barcelona may be a side that are more of an outsider than they are used to being, and rightly so. A disappointing league campaign saw them miss out on the title by five points to Real Madrid, and while they once again smouldered up front by scoring 86 goals with Lionel Messi shining, they conceded 38 times, which is one goal a game, as their woes at the back continued. This is likely a large reason as to why they have drifted out to 11/1 with some bookmakers.
Bayern meanwhile arrive with a 3-0 aggregate lead over Chelsea ahead of their second leg and they look in imperious form. A resounding title win by 13 points over Borussia Dortmund along with 100 goals scored in 34 games (just short of three goals per game) along with Robert Lewandowski’s exceptional 34 league goals this season see the Germans at last seen as a real threat again at 10/3 with some bookies.
Away from our three favourites are the likes of French champions PSG (11/2), Atalanta (11/1) and Juventus (14/1). For PSG, it is a genuine case of nobody taking them seriously in the competition until they win it. Such is the domination they enjoy in their domestic league on a constant basis that they almost look half-cooked when they play in Europe.
Atalanta constitute a real David and Goliath story in pretty much every match they play but what will happen if they do beat PSG? Then it will become a case of pressure and expectation well and truly being put on them, and how will they deal with that?
Finally, Juventus. The Cristiano Ronaldo spearheaded side are never one to write off and despite being 1-0 down heading into the second-leg of their last-16 game against Lyon, we expect them to make it through. However, so many near-misses in the competition have most wondering if they can turn around what has been something of a curse in recent decades, with their last win coming back in the 1995/96 season.
With the return of the Champions League sparking huge excitement and expectation, a number of the best online sports betting sites have clamoured to state our desire to watch and bet on the world’s biggest club competition, but with the eyes of the world back on the Champions League, will Manchester City prove the bookmakers right and lift the trophy?