It’s still early to talk about who’s going to win the Champions League this season, but it’s never too early to put some wagers on our favorite European interclub competition. After a detailed analysis, we’ve figured out which are the best bets to put your money on right now. Game week 5 will be here real soon, so you’ll need to make a decision quickly!
Which team do you see going all the way? How about this season’s goalscorer? Will we see at least one big disappointment before the knockout stage of the competition? We’ve tried to answer all these questions and below you have our 10 predictions for this Champions League campaign.
10. Lionel Messi top goalscorer (2.75 odds)
Barcelona’s star Leo Messi leads the way in the Champions League’s goalscorers table, with 5 goals after the first four rounds of the group stage. Alongside him stands AS Roma’s striker, Edin Dzeko, with the same number of goals. The only difference is that the Argentinian missed both meetings against Internationale Milano due to an injury.
On his first game back on the pitch, Messi scored a “double” in a 3-4 home defeat against Betis, in LaLiga.
Considering Barcelona’s chances of advancing to later stages of the competitions, there are plenty more matches in which Leo can leave his mark. AS Roma won’t be a factor this season, Lewandowski’s Bayern is going through a tough time, while at Juventus, Dybala, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Mandzukic will most likely split their goals. Manchester City does have a goalscorer, Sergio Aguero, but the Citizens are able to score with every other player from the midfield up.
9. Manchester City to win the League (4.75 odds)
And speaking about Pep Guardiola’s team, maybe this is Manchester City’s season in the Champions League. The one where the Citizens prove that they are able to beat anyone in Europe. It won’t be easy though, with Premier League in the background, but we bet the CL trophy will be the Spaniard’s main goal this campaign.
Manchester City has a deep enough squad to be a contender on both fronts and we fancy the Citizens’ chances in Europe’s most important interclub competition.
However, we haven’t yet seen Manchester City take up a serious opponent in the Champions League, so we must not get all that excited. City is on a roll right now, but later tiredness and injuries could become a factor, making Guardiola’s men seem human again. Kevin de Bruyne is once again out, this time until mid-December, so you never know what’s about to happen to the players.
But if things go accordingly to plan, Manchester City is our favorite this year in the Champions League.
8. Manchester City to win the league and Barcelona to finish 2nd (23.00 odds)
We’ve discussed why we see Manchester City playing the final, but now let’s try and justify why we think Barcelona will join the Citizens in the final act and the English side will take home the trophy.
First, let’s begin with Barcelona. It’s hard to imagine how the Blaugrana club will look without Leo Messi, yet we saw a glance with the Argentinian out and it wasn’t that bad. Suarez took the goalscorer role, while Coutinho can dribble his way past the opponents. The addition of Arthur in the midfield was an excellent one, but the comparison with Messi is still too early. Basically, Barcelona looks good even without Leo Messi, yet with the 31-years old star on the field, the Catalans look scarier.
Why would Manchester City pass Barcelona in a potential final? The fact that Guardiola trained Messi and knows how to handle him is the most important one. Then, there are the backups, as Manchester City has more viable solutions on the bench, especially in the offensive compartment.
7. Borussia Dortmund to qualify for the quarter-finals (2.20 odds)
Since Lucien Favre took over Borussia, the German side has been sensational. Dortmund is first in the Bundesliga, seven points ahead of Bayern Munchen. The two met before the international break and Borussia obtained a 3-2 home victory, although the visitors were 1-0 and 2-1 up.
In the Champions League group, Dortmund also leads the way, with 9 points after 4 games, the same amount of points as Atletico Madrid, but the Germans stand better on aggregate. Borussia was pretty clear about its Champions League intentions with that 4-0 home win against the Spanish side. The defeat on the reverse, 0-2, remains the only one that Dortmund has suffered this season.
With the ⅛ spot already secured, there’s just one team standing between Borussia and the quarter-finals. A bit of luck and we won’t have too many worries about this bet.
6. Paris Saint-German to qualify for the quarter-finals (2.25 odds)
There’s no way a team that has Mbappe, Neymar and Cavani upfront can miss the ⅛ of the Champions League. But PSG is in danger of doing so, being 3rd in group C, with 5 points after 4 matches. However, the first spot is just one point shy and the French side has the qualification in its own hands. First comes a trip at Red Star Belgrade and then a home duel with Liverpool. The game against the Reds could prove to be a decisive one, but PSG will have the home ground advantage.
If Tuchel’s men manage to surpass this danger, we think that they will fly over the next phase of the competition (if they manage to avoid Real, Barcelona or City). The odds are pretty nice as we can’t imagine Champions League ⅛ without Paris Saint-Germain.
5. Which nation will win the trophy? England (2.75 odds)
As we previously mentioned, we fancy Manchester City winning the trophy. Pep Guardiola’s team has everything in place to finally get its hands on the title – an extraordinary manager, world-class players, and experience in the final stages of the competition. But we shouldn’t ignore the other teams Premier League had offered this campaign. Manchester United and Liverpool still have plenty to work to get past the group stage, but they’re in a pretty good position.
Tottenham, on the other hand, needs two wins in the final two matches, against Inter, at home, and Barcelona, on the road, to make it past this phase of the competition.
But even with just three teams in the ⅛, England has enough “power” to win the first CL trophy since the 2011/2012 season, when Chelsea beat Bayern Munchen on penalties, in Munchen.
4. Manchester United to get eliminated in the ⅛ phase of the competition (1.90 odds)
Although we feel England has the right teams to win the title this season, Manchester United shouldn’t go that far. Jose Mourinho’s team has been quite terrible this season and only that sensational comeback in Turin have made the Red Devils favorites to take second place at the expense of Spanish side Valencia.
United has plenty of internal conflicts, between Mou and many of his star players. Not all footballers are behind their manager and this type of situation affects a team in the long run. While Europe’s big clubs have at least one leader, Manchester United lacks the presence of a footballer who is capable of gathering his colleagues to fulfill a common goal.
Jose Mourinho’s style is overdue and the Portuguese doesn’t seem to realize that he’s the first one who needs to change. Luckily for him, there are still some players on Old Trafford who can make the difference in some fixtures. But this can’t last for long.
3. Juventus to get eliminated in the semifinals (5.00 odds)
No doubt that Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival in Turin has made Juventus a much stronger team, as his experience and goals in the Champions League will help the Italians in their quest to reach another CL final. But with opponents like Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Bayern Munchen or even Real Madrid, a journey towards the final act won’t be like a ride in the park.
Juventus has an amazing manager on the bench, Allegri, as well as plenty of valuable players surrounding Ronaldo. This team seems to have all that it takes to get there, on Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, but we don’t see Juventus playing with the trophy on the table. The fact that they could have a serious advantage in Serie A could damage them. PSG or Bayern Munchen have encountered this issue and they were incapable of being at 100% before a deciding match.
Not to mention that, when the final will take place, CR7 will be 34-years of age. He’s still a beast, but you have to respect his younger adversaries.
2. Bayern Munchen to qualify for the quarter-finals (1.50 odds)
Niko Kovac took over Bayern’s bench at the beginning of the season and after a 5-0 win the German SuperCup, it seemed that the Croatian manager and Bayern are made for each other. But then came some conflicts with Ribery, Robben or James, and things started to fell apart. Everyone wanted to start and Kovac couldn’t make this happen. Also, he wasn’t able to explain to his players that they all will get their turns. Rumors added that Kovac spoke with his staff in Croatian, furthering more the distance between him and the footballers who are at Munchen before him.
Before the international break, Bayern lost to Borussia Dortmund, 2-3, and remained just 5th in the Bundesliga, with 20 points in 11 matches. In the Champions League, Bayern leads a group with Ajax, Benfica and AEK Athens and has already secured a place in the last 16. From there on, just another step until the quarter-finals. And if the Bavarians finish first their group, then a weaker opponent just expects them in the ⅛ of the competition.
We expect things to be figured out at Bayern before the next phase of the Champions League starts, so we should take these odds right now, while they’re fresh.
1. Schalke 04 to get eliminated in the ⅛ (1.30 odds)
The Germans have been extremely lucky with their Champions League group draw. We mean, Porto, Schalke 04, Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow looks more of a Europa League group than a Champions League one.
With two matches remaining, Schalke is second, four points ahead of 3rd place, Galatasaray. One point and Tedesco’s men will advance to the ⅛ of the competition. But can they go further? Most likely no. Schalke is 14th in the Bundesliga, with seven defeats in 11 fixtures. Their game is bad and only the fact that they had to face weaker opponents cleared a path towards the elimination phases of the Champions League.
There’s no Lokomotiv Moscow in the ⅛ and although until February Tedesco has a lot of room to work with and get Schalke back on track, we highly doubt that there will a team remaining in the last 16 that the Germans can eliminate.
There you have it! These are out 10 predictions for the Champions League season before game week 5 of the group stage begins. It will be a long journey, with probably a few surprises, but we are sure we’ll be able to avoid most of them. From what we’ve seen thus far, Manchester City plays the best football, yet the Citizens have yet to encounter a worthy opponent, being in a group with Shakhtar Donetsk, Hoffenheim, and Lyon.
We’ll figure out more after the ⅛ phase of the Champions League, but Manchester City, Barcelona, Juventus, and PSG are our favorites. The French side is in danger of exiting the competition, yet if Neymar & co. make it past the group stages, we see them reach the semifinals.