Ranking the Champions League favourites and the best of the dark horses

 7 months, 30 days ago 0 Comments

Although the 2021/22 campaign is barely 10 weeks old, we’re already starting to get a glimpse of who might be successful this term and who might not.

For most, domestic success is the first port of call, although, of course, the lure of winning on the continental stage is difficult to overlook.

The Champions League pages at sites like Scoop Six remain among the most popular, and lifting the famous trophy has to be considered the pinnacle of club football — even if there are plenty who will try to convince you otherwise.

For the likes of PSG and Manchester City, the need to win the Champions League is almost pathological on the part of all involved with the respective clubs, and they both look close to finally achieving their objective.

Also in the conversation among the favourites is Bayern Munich, who once more are dominating German football and who have notched three wins from three in the Champions League group phase. Blessed with talent in abundance and one of the deadliest frontmen in the game in Robert Lewandowski, Bayern is very much in the hunt.

The bookmakers fancy two other English teams to do nicely as well. Chelsea, the reigning Champions League victors, have improved with the signing of Romelu Lukaku and they look tremendously difficult to beat under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel.

Liverpool know what it takes to win the Champions League too, and at the moment they are in devastating, free-scoring form. If that continues, how long before Mo Salah and company are being described as the favourites?

Under the radar

It will be interesting to see how long Manchester United persevere with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager, with proven winners like Antonio Conte sitting at home twiddling their thumbs.

It is suspected that not even Cristiano Ronaldo has the mega power to lift the Red Devils to Champions League contenders, and far more appealing in the ‘dark horses’ category is his former club Real Madrid. Mind you, they were rather humbled at the Bernabeu by surprise package Sheriff Tiraspol.

Ajax’s odds of winning the Champions League have halved since the start of the campaign, and they do look to be an irresistible force at times, as victories over Dortmund (4-0) and Sporting Lisbon (5-1) confirm. In Antony, they have unearthed another gem, and while they might not win the tournament, they will certainly entertain along the way.

If you’re looking for genuine dark horses, how about the Spanish duo of Barcelona and Sevilla?

Yes, this is not the Barcelona of yesteryear that was all-conquering, but they’re not as bad as you think. They have a handful of extremely gifted youngsters emerging and in Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay, they have goals in abundance.

As for Sevilla, they have started the La Liga campaign in fine fashion, shipping just six goals on their way to second in the table. They have won the Europa League four times since 2014, so clearly they have the ability to succeed in knockout competitions, and they might just go all the way under the radar.

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