3 dark horses heading into the round of 16 who could win the UEFA Champions League this season

Chelsea FC v Dinamo Zagreb: Group E - UEFA Champions League
Chelsea are through to the round of 16

The UEFA Champions League will now head into the knock-out phase after games in the group stages where decided on November 4, 2022.

A total of 16 teams secured their passage into the next round of the competition, having finished either first or second in their respective groups.

Tournament favorites such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and the likes are among some of the teams who qualified.

The jury is already out as to which team will be crowned champions of the prestigious trophy this season. However, heading into the round of 16, some clubs could be dark horses in the competition.

Without further ado, this article will take a look at three underrated teams who could go all the way to conquer Europe this season.

#3 Benfica

Benfica finished top of Group H - UEFA Champions League
Benfica finished top of Group H - UEFA Champions League

The Portuguese giants were arguably one of the most impressive teams during the group stages of this season's UEFA Champions League competition.

Despite being in what many people considered a group of death, Benfica ended up topping their group which had the likes of PSG and Juventus.

Roger Schmidt's team won four and drew two of their six group stage games. They are also among the three clubs that are currently unbeaten in the competition this season, alongside Bayern Munich and PSG.

Benfica were also among the top attacking teams in the competition presently, scoring an impressive total of 16 goals in 6 games.

Should they keep up with their performances in the competition, they could be on course to win their third UEFA Champions League trophy. They last won the tournament in 1962.

#2 Napoli

Napoli against Rangers FC in Group A
Napoli against Rangers FC in Group A

One of the surprise packages in this season's UEFA Champions League competition has to be Italian side Napoli.

The Serie A giants were outstanding during the group stages. They also went on to seal top spot in Group A, which also had the likes of Liverpool and Ajax, with 15 points from six fixtures.

Napoli won five games and lost just once against Liverpool. They were also the highest scoring team during the group stages, netting an impressive tally of 20 goals.

The Italians have had a couple of players impress in the competition, including Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Giovanni Simeone, Piotr Zieliński, Giacomo Raspadori and the likes.

#1 Chelsea

Chelsea dominated Group E
Chelsea dominated Group E

The Blues were able to turnaround a difficult start to the ongoing 2022 UEFA Champions League season to finish top of their group.

Chelsea lost their opening game away to Dinamo Zagreb courtesy of a 1-0 scoreline and draw at home to RB Salzburg. The results left the West London club bottom of Group E after two games.

Chelsea went on to win four out of their six group fixtures, securing 13 points. They also head into the round of 16 with the second-best defensive record in the competition, just behind Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

The two-time UEFA Champions League winners have conceded just four goals in their six group stage games. Bayern and City have the best defensive record, as they have only conceded two goals each.

While the Blues may be struggling domestically, they continue to ooze class in Europe and could be a dark horse in winning Europe's premier club competition this season.

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Edited by Mudeet Arora
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