After three long months of waiting, the Champions League is back!! Teams are currently travelling across Europe to their opponent’s location, eager to kick start their campaign with a win.
Although the defending champions Real Madrid are keen to retain their title to establish a record of three consecutive years, the insane amount of transfer activity major teams have been involved in suggests there is going to be tough competition.
Let’s take a look at the potential squads which can lift the trophy this season.
The Manchester Clubs
Managed by people who have already won the CL, Pep and Jose are set to compete for this title yet again.
These two clubs have been extremely active this summer. While Mourinho procured the services of Romelu Lukaku, Guardiola opted to strengthen his defence, signing two of the most expensive full backs ever.
Traditionally, United have been a team to have competed at the highest levels. Ever since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, United have dropped into the shadow in the CL. The taking over of Jose Mourinho has been a blessing for the club.
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With the arrival of Matic and Lukaku, United are now set to compete for the PL title, maybe for the CL title as well.
City on the other hand are poised to create history. The past few seasons gave us a glimpse of what City can be, reaching the quarter finals. With now Pep under pressure to deliver after having an excellent transfer window and a trophy-less last season, City will definitely look to grab a chance.
Both teams have excellent squad depth, enough to compete regularly at both the English and European levels.
The French giants have attracted a lot of attention this summer, having signed Neymar for a world record fee of €222m and to steal Mbappe on loan.
They have had a good track record so far in the UCL, only to be ousted by teams such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Last season was a heart-break- having played so well at home to secure a three goal lead only to be given up during the dying moments of the game.
They now have the potential in the team to seriously compete for a place in the final, if not lift the trophy themselves.
The once-feared Spanish giants are definitely going through a tough transition right now. The loss of Neymar will take a deep toll on the team, especially since their failed pursuit of Phillippe Coutinho. They did manage to sign Dembele, who made his debut this weekend.
Barcelona occupy an arguable third position in this list just because of the stunning football they can play. The presence of Lionel Messi strikes fear into the opposition. The magic the little Argentinian can do on the ball is enough to get past most teams in the world.
Their come-back victory against PSG- three goals in the last six minutes to make it to the semi-final is something which every football fan will remember.
A team in decline. But a team to be feared.
The German super giants have been relatively silent throughout the transfer window, with all speculation turning towards France.
Yet, they managed to make good signings, especially the piece of business with Real Madrid which saw James Rodriguez move to the Allianz Arena on loan.
Bayern have performed consistently for the past few years in the UCL. Playing in a relatively easier league, the squad depth which they have is something every team envies.
The likes of Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and now James make them a formidable force upfront whereas a rock in Neuer behind Hummels and Alaba ensure solidity behind.
They style of football they play- a possession based game with quick counters gives them an edge over most teams in Europe. There is no dearth of talent in the squad. And yes, talent enough to win the league.
The defending champions are the favorites to lift they trophy, third time in a row.
The dominant force in Europe last season, they have had an excellent transfer window right under Barcelona’s noses. The signing of young stars in Dani Ceballos and Theo Hernandez has given Zidane a plethora of talent to explore.
The rise of Marco Asensio has been meteoric, big enough to make the starting eleven competing against Ronaldo and Bale for his position. Their midfield is arguably the best in the world- experience in Modric and Kroos and the raw fierceness of Isco.
Ronaldo’s presence is also heavily felt, with the Portugese superstar’s keen eye for poaching goals, popping up in the right place at the right time. Benzema has reformed himself, and RBB together make a deadly combination up front.
Most of all, they are favorites because they will be playing with so much passion and fire like no other team do- to set the first ever hat-trick of UCL titles. That is what makes them the top contender for the Champions League title, 2017-18.