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Favourites to win the 2023/24 Champions League: Can Man City retain the trophy?

In this article we look at the current favourites to win the 2023/24 Champions League with Manchester City tipped to retain the trophy.

man city champions league 2023

As the group stage of Europe’s premier competition concludes, only 16 teams remain in contention for the prestigious UEFA Champions League trophy. Among these teams, some are seasoned veterans of the knockout rounds, while others have limited or no experience in Champions League knockout football.

In the previous season, Manchester City, led by Pep Guardiola, emerged victorious, securing the UEFA Champions League title. The goal-scoring prowess of Erling Haaland, coupled with a formidable 3-2-4-1 formation when in possession, played a pivotal role in City’s success. The triumph marked a significant achievement for Guardiola and his team, completing a continental treble along with the elusive Champions League trophy.

The anticipation is building for the 2023-24 Champions League knockout stage, where 16 teams are set to compete for Europe’s grandest club football prize. The Round of 16 matchups have been determined, with group stage winners facing group runners-up in the pursuit of reaching the final at Wembley Stadium.

Top clubs from Europe’s biggest leagues, including Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain will clash with captivating underdog stories like Real Sociedad, PSV Eindhoven, FC Copenhagen, and Lazio. As the competition advances, the excitement grows, setting the stage for thrilling encounters on the journey to the Champions League final. Hundreds of thousands of fans will be desperate to get their hands on tickets for the big games but they are likely to sell out quickly. However, supporters can still buy sold-out Champions League tickets from reputed resellers like seatsnet.

Here are the top five favorites to win Europe’s most covetous trophy:

Manchester City 

Manchester City successfully secured the coveted Champions League trophy as the pinnacle of their historic treble in the previous season. Their performance in this term’s group stage have been commanding, although not flawless, winning each game but managing only one clean sheet.

In the upcoming Round of 16, they find themselves pitted against FC Copenhagen, a seemingly favorable draw that positions them well for a Quarter-Final berth, barring an unforeseen upset. With the return of Kevin De Bruyne from a prolonged injury, the Cityzens aim to gather momentum and recuperate lost points, particularly after relinquishing valuable points in November against Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Aston Villa.

Despite their current form, the defending champions received a favorable draw, pairing them with the most lenient unseeded team remaining in the competition. FC Copenhagen performed admirably in overcoming Galatasaray and Manchester United in a challenging Group A, but their profile suggests they may not be equipped for a substantial upset in the Champions League knockout stage.

While acknowledging Copenhagen’s achievements, it is improbable that they will pose a significant challenge to Manchester City’s quest for a second Champions League title. With key players like Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne available and in peak form, thwarting City’s progress will require a monumental effort.

Real Madrid 

Commencing their pursuit of a record-extending 15th European Cup triumph, Real Madrid, the winners in 2022, accomplished a flawless group stage with six wins, scoring 16 goals and conceding seven. Currently, they stand among the top contenders in the Champions League rankings this season, and it’s reasonable to place them at the forefront.

Los Blancos have exhibited dominance in every Champions League match, securing victories against Napoli, Union Berlin, and Braga with apparent ease. Jude Bellingham’s outstanding performance places him as the standout player, likely earning him a spot in the tournament’s Team of the Group Stage.

However, the sheer quality of Madrid’s squad, including Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Luka Modric, Antonio Rudiger, and Danny Carvajal, adds to their formidable presence. With a perfect win record in Group C, led by Carlo Ancelotti, their unbeaten streak in the tournament is expected to continue in the round of 16.

Madrid now face RB Leipzig in the round of 16, recalling their previous encounter where Madrid suffered a 3-2 defeat at Red Bull Arena.

Leipzig pose a formidable challenge, and they appear ripe for a potential upset, especially with the first leg possibly favoring the German side. However, as long as Madrid keep the margin close, it’s challenging to envision Los Blancos failing to stage a recovery at home.

The expectation is for Madrid to emerge victorious in the two-legged tie, with the stellar performances of players like Jude Bellingham, who is currently regarded as one of the best in the world, adding to their competitive edge.

Bayern Munich 

The perennial contenders, Bayern Munich, consistently feature prominently in Champions League knockout stages, despite not clinching the title for nearly four years. Their performance in the group stage, while not flawless, was formidable, with wins over Manchester United and a draw against Galatasaray in a challenging group.

The upcoming round of 16 poses potential challenges for Bayern as they face Lazio, a side capable of causing problems. However, given their strong league form and the exceptional performance of Harry Kane, who has scored 26 goals in 23 games, including four in the Champions League, Bayern remain poised to navigate through.

As Kane seeks his first piece of silverware with Munich, and with the Bundesliga and DFB Pokal slipping away, the Champions League stands as their last opportunity for glory.

The six-time Champions League winners boast an impressive squad with the likes of premier goalscorer Harry Kane, reminiscent of their 2020 winning campaign led by Robert Lewandowski. The Bavarians enter the Champions League knockout stage in stellar form.

Despite trailing in the Bundesliga to the formidable Bayer Leverkusen, Bayern’s overall performance remains formidable. An isolated 5-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the league appear as a mere blip, affirming Bayern’s capability to dominate any opponent.

Having finished second in Serie A last campaign, Mauricio Sarri’s side have propelled themselves to fifth place in the Serie A standings after a shocking start to the season. Despite benefiting from a lenient Champions League group, they are expected to be outmatched by Bayern Munich, a side in sensational form and considered among the favorites for the European title.

Inter Milan 

Serie A log leaders, Inter Milan face a tough draw against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16. Despite considering themselves superior on paper, Inter acknowledges Diego Simeone’s Atletico as a formidable opponent, always known for being a tough challenge.

Recent league defeats against Girona and Real Madrid have seen Atletico slip to fourth place in La Liga, but they emerged unbeaten from a relatively easy Champions League group. The matchup promises to be closely contested, with Lautaro Martinez’s goal-scoring form for Inter contrasting with Atletico’s dip in defensive prowess this season. Despite the even odds, the balance leans toward supporting the stronger side, which in this case is Inter.

The Nerazzuri face a tougher challenge in the Champions League Round of 16 after not finishing first in their group. This draws them against the formidable Atletico Madrid, impacting their chances compared to a scenario where they could have avoided heavyweight opponents.

Although facing Atletico’s squad will pose challenges for the three-time Champions League winners, Inter remain confident in their abilities.

With talented players like Marcus Thuram, Nicolo Barella, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, and Federico Dimarco, Simone Inzaghi’s side are expected to exemplify their excellent domestic form in the European front.

Their unpredicted journey to the finals last year showcases their resilience, making them a team not to be underestimated.

Paris Saint-Germain 

Paris Saint-Germain navigated their way through a challenging group, securing a second-place finish behind Borussia Dortmund. Despite facing setbacks, including a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle, Les Parisiens managed to progress and will hope to secure the trophy especially with Enrique already being a European Champion.

The departure of key players like Neymar and Lionel Messi added an element of upheaval, but PSG remain determined to end their European title drought this season.

Fortune favored the French Champions in the draw for the round of 16, offering them a seemingly favorable matchup against Real Sociedad.

Despite the Spanish side’s solid defensive capabilities and their sixth position in La Liga, PSG are expected to navigate through this tie comfortably. The draw spared them from a potentially challenging encounter with a top-tier opponent, providing an opportunity for Les Parisiens to progress smoothly to the quarterfinals.

While acknowledging Real Sociedad’s potential to spring an upset, the overall consensus leans towards PSG securing a convincing two-legged victory and advancing to the next stage with relative ease.

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