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10 teams that could win the Champions League this season

So far, this Champions League season is set to feature five teams from England, three teams from Spain and Germany, two teams from Italy, Portugal and France, and one team from Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey and Switzerland. The final match in the Champions League will be played on May 26, 2018, at NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.

For the past seven years, Spanish teams have been more dominant in Europe’s annual continental club competition. Real Madrid and Barcelona have won the European Cup five times in the last seven seasons. Only Chelsea and Bayern Munich have managed to win the remaining two.

Last season, Real Madrid made history by becoming the first club to defend the Champions League title successfully. They are also the first team to have won three Champions League titles in the past four seasons. Winning Europe’s most prestigious title 12 times, Real Madrid will be heading into the tournament as favourites yet again. Many bookmakers have already placed odds on Madrid winning the title, for example I’ve taken a quick look at the football betting odds on BetVictor and they have Real Madrid as the likely winners with odds of 4/1!

Considering the performances of last season, pre-season, the transfer activity and the first game week of the new season – here is a list of 10 teams that could win the Champions League this time around.

1.  Real Madrid

Why not? Real Madrid are the best team in the world right now, period. Zinedine Zidane has revitalised Real Madrid by including star players and top young talent. In a short span of time, Madrid legend Zizou has guided the team to their second consecutive Champions League title. Last season. they managed to win four titles: La Liga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. This is something that the Galacticos have never managed to do before.

Zidane has formed a strong structure with a combination of both big names and emerging players. Ever since the tournament was ‘rebranded’ to the Champions League, no club has won the competition twice in back-to-back seasons. However, with such a team at Zidane’s disposal, there is no doubt that Real Madrid could win their 13th Champions League title this season.

2.  Manchester United

The last time Manchester United won the Champions League was in 2007/2008 under the management of the great Sir Alex Ferguson. Since then, the club managed to enter two Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011, only to lose to Barcelona on both occasions.

Manchester United have failed to make a mark in any European competition since Sir Alex left. Ever since, they have faced a remarkable quarterfinals defeat against Bayern Munich in the Moyes era. Similarly, they were not able to compete in a European competition in Louis van Gaal’s first season and got knocked out of the Champions League’s group stages in LvG’s second season.

The club recruited Jose Mourinho to bring back the “Manchester United” factor in England and Europe. The odds of the club winning the Champions League this season are 14/1.

3.  Barcelona

Despite having the worst squad in over a decade, Barcelona are still one of the biggest Spanish teams. Old age centre back, inexperienced wingers and a mediocre midfield could cost the club big time in the Champions League. However, with the likes of Messi, Suarez, Busquets and Rakitic, the club could still turn things in their favour. So far, the club has had a poor summer transfer window and has failed to replace the ‘irreplaceable’ Neymar – it is now time for them to move on. We all know for a fact that Barcelona will be wanting to challenge Europe’s biggest clubs on all fronts.

4.  Juventus

Juventus have made it to the finals twice in the past three seasons. However, the squad of then and now has significantly changed. While players such as Paul Pogba and Leonardo Bonucci have left the club, they still have one of the strongest defence lines in Europe. Juventus revived its status of being Europe’s finest club only a few seasons ago. The reigning Serie A winners last won the Champions League two decades ago. However, the odds of the club winning are now 12/1.

5.  Bayern Munich

Ever since Jupp Heynckes decided to end his managerial role at Bayern Munich, the Mighty Germans have failed to win a Champions League title. Pep Guardiola also failed to win the Champions League with the Bavarians. He was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti who is the only manager in history to have reached the finals four times and won the Champions League three times. He is a coach who knows the tournament inside out. Hence, with such a strong side this year, Bayern have a real chance of winning the Champions League once again.

6.    Paris Saint-Germain

According to many experts, Paris Saint-Germain are a top contender for winning the Champions League this year. For years, the club has been heavily spending in the transfer market, but has failed to make a mark in European competition. With PSG signing Neymar Jr., it seems to be a more balanced team this time around.

The squad of PSG is filled with talented players such as Marco Verratti, Edison Cavani, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura, Dani Alves, Javier Pastore, Adrien Rabiot, Thiago Motta and so on.

This transfer window they have significantly improved their squad and can now go head to head with some of the best teams in Europe – provided that their tactics and gameplay is spot on.

7.  Atletico Madrid

Since 2013, Atletico Madrid have made La Liga a three-horse race. Diego Simeone has helped the individual talent of the club grow and excel at the biggest stages. Although the club does not have a strong squad on paper, it still finds a way to win crucial games. Atletico edged past Bayern Munich in the semi-final on away goal difference two years ago. The defence line of Godin and Giminez is known as one of the best defences in Europe. With good signings and form, the team can once again make their way to the finals of the Champions League.

8.  Manchester City

Manchester City don’t have a good history with the Champions League. The 2011/2012 season was their first time ever in the competition. However, Mancini’s men could not make it through the group stages. The club’s highest point in the tournament was two seasons ago when they played Real Madrid in the semi-finals.

The recent signings of Bernardo Silva, Mendy, Danilo and Walker has brought in talent and experience to the team. With Guardiola’s Champions League experience, the team can surely challenge other European clubs if they are able to balance their domestic and European ambitions.

9.  Borussia Dortmund

Recently, Dortmund have lost several important players to other European clubs. Mats Hummels joined arch-rival Bayern Munich, Ilkay Gundogan went to Manchester City and recently Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Manchester United. However, Dortmund are still confident that they can make good progress in the Champions League this season.

The club has made into at least three quarter-finals in the past four seasons. Thomas Tuchel is known as one of the most impressive young coaches who can bring the best out of each player in his team.

10.           Tottenham Hotspur

Surprised? Yes, Tottenham Hotspur could be one of the teams to win the Champions League this year. Considering their performance in the past two seasons, the experienced squad under the management of Pochettino is a strong contender. They have been the second-best Premier League team for two consecutive seasons. Last season, when no team could match Chelsea’s clinical performance, Spurs were challenging for the title until the end.