European football was in serious danger this year due to the ongoing pandemic. Most national leagues suspended their seasons “until further notice” in the wake of the virus’s spread, and UEFA itself decided to wait things out. Ultimately, the public health situation in most European countries improved enough for football seasons to resume, so the Champions League could also proceed. The officials decided for the tournament to return on August 7, with no spectators allowed on the stadiums, and with strict safety and health measures in place.
The first half of the year was a really bad one for football fans, with little more than the weather, politics, and Kylie Jenner’s baby to bet on. Now, in turn, the time has come for Europe’s highest-profile club competition. So, let’s see which teams are the most likely to win this year?
Atletico Madrid’s best performance in the Champions League was runner-up in 2016 (and twice before, in 2014 and 1974). This year, Los Rojiblancos seem to have rediscovered the form and play style from 2014, improving their chances to perform well in the Champions League – maybe even win it.
Barcelona missed the La Liga title by five points, falling short of rivals Real Madrid. When it comes to the Champions League, in turn, its chances of winning the title are pretty good. Remember, this will be Messi’s farewell year with the team, so they’d better make the most of it.
The Catalan team won the Champions League three times before and reached the semi-finals five times, so their chances to win are pretty good, even if not stellar.
Paris Saint Germain
PSG won this year’s Ligue 1 season by decision rather than skill: when the French authorities decided to end the season early, the team was crowned champion based on the standings at the time. This doesn’t mean they lack the skills to win on their own right. On the contrary: with their squad strengthened by the likes of Mbappé and Neymar.
Actually, PSG never won a Champions League but its chances of breaking this streak are still pretty good this year.
For quite some time, Manchester City wasn’t even considered to participate in this year’s UEFA Champions League after it was banned from it (and Europa League) for two years. Apparently, the club has “overstated its sponsorship” (as in disguising money received from its owners as sponsorship revenues) revenue for years – this practice was brought to light by a series of documents obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks.
The ban was recently overturned, so Manchester City is back in the competition this year. And, considering its previous records, it is considered one of the teams likely to win this year’s Champions League.
Bayern Munich is another team very likely to exert its dominance in this year’s Champions League. The team won the Bundesliga this year (their eighth time in a row), and has five UEFA Champions League titles under its belt, with their most recent in 2013.
Back in January, Bayern beat Premier League team Tottenham 7-1 in a stunning victory this January, and they had time to return to their form recently, so their win is pretty likely.