The UEFA Champions League is by far the most prestigious cup competition in Europe. Featuring 32 of the best teams across the continent, the UEFA Champions League promises stellar individual displays, thrilling clashes, and an abundance of drama.
Last season, the most decorated team in the competition’s history, Real Madrid, took home the 'Old Big Ears,' marking their 14th Champions League triumph. They have effortlessly qualified for the Round of 16 this season and are aiming to defend their European crown once more. Getting the job done, however, will not be straightforward, as plenty of challengers are licking their lips to dethrone them.
With the Round of 16 fixtures just a month away, American website FiveThirtyEight has used statistics to predict the likely victors of this season’s UEFA Champions League. Below, we will check out who they are.
Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the five statistical favorites to win the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League.
#5 Paris Saint-Germain — 6% chance
FiveThirtyEight has given French giants Paris Saint-Germain a 6% chance of winning the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League. Given their form this season and the number of match-winners they have at their disposal, it could feel hard done by that number.
Under Christophe Galtier, PSG have lost only once this season, with their first defeat of the 2022-23 campaign coming against Lens on Sunday (1 January). They have won 14 of 17 (two draws, one defeat) matches in Ligue 1, once in the French Cup, and four times in six Champions League group stages (two draws).
Coming to standout performers, they have the fearsome trident of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar in their ranks. Combined, they have scored 49 goals in all competitions this season.
PSG did finish second in Group H, behind Benfica, which has pitted them against Bayern Munich in the Round of 16. If they can get past that particular hurdle, they should fancy themselves going the distance and bagging their first-ever UEFA Champions League.
#4 Real Madrid — 7% chance
Defending champions Real Madrid only have a meager 7% chance of defending their UEFA Champions League crown, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Los Blancos, who beat PSG, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool to win their 14th Champions League trophy last season, have not been at their best this season. They currently find themselves three points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga after 16 rounds of fixtures and have already endured a defeat in the Champions League as well. Their only defeat in Group F came against RB Leipzig (3-2) on October 25. They won four games and drew the remaining match in Group F.
Los Merengues will face last season’s finalists Liverpool in the Round of 16 in February and March. Unless they fix their act, the English giants could do quite a number on them in the pre-quarterfinals.
#3 Liverpool — 7% chance
Six-time European Champions Liverpool have also been given a 7% chance to win the UEFA Champions League this season. Considering their lackluster performances this season, they can hardly blame FiveThirtyEight for its lack of faith in them.
In the 2022-23 Premier League season, the Merseysiders have only won eight of their 17 matches, losing five and drawing four. Their poor run sees last season’s Premier League runners-up in sixth place in the rankings. Additionally, they have been knocked out of the EFL Cup and will need to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in their FA Cup fourth-round replay to progress.
In the Champions League, too, they failed to top their group, finishing behind Napoli in Group A. They will face a wounded Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League and must make it a point to plant their best foot forward.
#2 Manchester City — 22% chance
As per FiveThirtyEight, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have a 22% chance of winning their first UEFA Champions League at the end of the 2022-23 season. The Cityzens were knocked out by Real Madrid last season and will look to go a step further and book their place in the final this season.
City, who are currently second in the Premier League rankings, have looked sharp this season. Their passing has been spot on, they have created chances at will, and thanks to Erling Haaland, they have scored for fun as well.
The Mancunians won four matches and drew twice to win Champions League Group G with 14 points, finishing five points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund. Given the plethora of talented players they have at their disposal, City are big favorites to win their Round-of-16 tie with RB Leipzig.
#1 Bayern Munich — 25% chance
FiveThirtyEight believes German juggernauts Bayern Munich have a 25% chance of winning the UEFA Champions League this season. The six-time European champions would equal AC Milan’s haul of seven if they manage to nick the trophy at the end of the season.
Bayern Munich endured a rocky start to their Bundesliga campaign, enduring three draws and a defeat in August and September. They have since steadied themselves and emerged as the front-runners in the title race. Julian Nagelsmann’s side have picked up 34 points from 15 games, carving out a four-point lead over second-placed SC Freiburg.
Bayern also won all six of their Group C games to qualify as group winners, finishing a whopping eight points ahead of second-placed Inter Milan. Despite their Group C heroics, Bayern are set to play one of the strongest teams in Europe, PSG, in the Round of 16.
It will be interesting to see if they can use their European experience to beat the Parisians, just like they did in the 2020 UEFA Champions League final (1-0 win).