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UEFA Champions League 2021-22: Ranking the 5 favorites for the title

UEFA Champions League is entering its final stages
UEFA Champions League is entering its final stages
Nnanna

The UEFA Champions League heads into the second leg of the round of 16. These are the matches that will determine the final eight clubs in the competition as the race to the crown winds to a close.

Being the premier club football competition in Europe, and arguably the world, the Champions League boasts of the best players and managers in the world, representing the best teams. The competition is immersed in rich history and will often see the most valuable players in the world go head-to-head.

Every club currently vying for the coveted trophy is an impressive European football institution. They have all been at the forefront of football on the continent in the last 12 months. However, some teams seem more likely to lift the coveted trophy than others.

Some of these clubs have invested in high-quality coaching staff and fantastic teams with phenomenal players, setting up a long-term project. They have set themselves apart and will each have to be considered potential champions, as of now.

So without further ado, here is our list of the 5 most likely teams to lift the Champions League trophy this season:


#5 Chelsea | English Premier League

Chelsea will not find it very easy to defend their Champions League crown
Chelsea will not find it very easy to defend their Champions League crown

There's a good chance that the Blues can go all the way to defend their crown when the Champions League Final comes around in May. However, their odds are quite low compared to some of the other European juggernauts who are aiming for the trophy.

Last season, convincing wins against Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid saw the Blues reach the Final, where they beat Manchester City with a single goal.

Which @ChampionsLeague winning @ChelseaFC team would win if they played against each other? The 2012 team or the. 2021 team? https://t.co/p447LxWSQf

This season, however, Chelsea were unable to finish in pole position in their group due to some poor outings against clubs like Zenit St. Petersburg. Their most recent knockout game against Lille ended 2-0 in the Blues' favor at Stamford Bridge, and they'll be hoping to take that momentum into the away fixture.

Amidst the current turmoil going on with the club, with Roman Abramovich putting Chelsea up for sale, it might be difficult for the players to keep their focus on the looming games, if they make it to the quarterfinals.

With the club dealing with injuries and fitness issues, alongside their most expensive striker struggling to score goals consistently, Chelsea might not retain their European crown this season.


#4 PSG | France's Ligue 1

PSG too are in running for the Champions League crown this season
PSG too are in running for the Champions League crown this season

The Blues might not be at their very best, but they still have a chance to win the Champions League title, and the same can be said for the giants of Paris. Having snatched Barcelona's maestro Lionel Messi from the grasp of the Catalans last summer, PSG have looked a formidable force on paper.

Two seasons ago, the French outfit fought their way to the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich, which they lost without being disgraced. It looked like Messi would be the touch PSG needed to finally take hold of a crown that has long eluded them, but so far, they have seemed inconsistent.

🗣️ Mbappé: "When you know what Zlatan did here, it’s symbolic. Obviously being PSG’s all-time top scorer is nothing to be scoffed at, so we’ll see what happens."🔴🔵 All-time top scorers for Paris: ⚽️2⃣0⃣0⃣ Cavani⚽️1⃣5⃣6⃣ Mbappé⚽️1⃣5⃣6⃣ Ibrahimović#UCL https://t.co/39BjSnjI69

While the Qatar-run outfit have outclassed everyone in Ligue 1 and are clearly set to win the domestic title this season, they've had quite a few close shaves and injury-time wins. It also doesn't help that they crashed out of the French Cup, a competition that they were expected to win without stress.

Although Messi has brought his playmaking to Paris, his goal-scoring has lacked, and Kylian Mbappe has had to handle the load of scoring the goals instead. The front three of Messi, Mbappe, and Neymar seem like too much work for any defense in the world, but they are yet to hit the expected heights.

If they can gel together, PSG have a strong chance of winning the Champions League this season, and they've already beaten Real Madrid to show seriousness. A potential Final awaits the French giants if they see off Los Blancos in the away fixture and keep the momentum going till May.


#3 Bayern Munich | German Bundesliga

Bayern Munich could take their domination of German football to the Champions League this time
Bayern Munich could take their domination of German football to the Champions League this time

While PSG rules France, the Bavarian giants have maintained their ruthless rule over the affairs of German football, winning nine Bundesliga titles in nine years. Their DFB-Pokal and Supercup records are eerily similar, which shows how well Bayern Munich have dominated domestic football in Germany.

In the previous decade, Die Roten won the Champions League twice, and they look set to start this decade in similar fashion.

🔴 Bayern Munich were founded on this day in 1900.🏆 x31 German champions🏆 x20 German cup winners🏆 x6 European Cup/Champions League winners🏆 x2 Club World Cup winners🏆 x1 UEFA Cup/Europa League winners#OTD https://t.co/9TfguL6Cx6

It is very hard to forget Barcelona's shocking 8-2 loss at the hands of Bayern, with the German outfit relentlessly attacking with flourish and clinical prowess. While the Bavarians may struggle to teach another European powerhouse a similar lesson, every club in the Champions League is rightfully worried about facing them.

They finished top of their group this season, winning all six games, and they could continue the rest of the campaign in similar fashion. The side drew 1-1 against RB Salzburg, a surprise result as many expected the Bavarians to beat the Austrian side easily.

Bayern will likely see off Salzburg when they meet again at the Allianz Arena, with the German side intent on winning the coveted Champions League trophy this season.


#2 Liverpool | English Premier League

Could it be Liverpools time to rise to the top in this Champions League season?
Could it be Liverpools time to rise to the top in this Champions League season?

Thanks to a brilliant performance in the transfer market over the last half decade, the Reds have become a ruthless force to be reckoned with in Europe. Liverpool managed consecutive Champions League Finals, eventually winning the second time around, in 2019, and becoming the champions of Europe after 14 years.

Although they fell off slightly in the last couple of years, the Reds are back again and are clearly out for blood. Liverpool are currently fielding Mohamed Salah, arguably the most in-form player in European football right now.

Salah's fellow attackers have kept him on his toes, with nearly all of them set to hit double digits in direct goal contributions this season. The Reds are currently in the Premier League title race, having won the Carabao Cup recently, and they could potentially add a Champions League trophy to boot.

Like the Bavarians, Liverpool finished first in their group, winning all their games and setting the momentum for the rest of the season. A 2-0 win against Inter Milan at the Giuseppe Meazza already puts them in prime position to enter the quarter-finals once they finish off the Italians in the home fixture at Anfield.


#1 Manchester City | English Premier League

Manchester City look, arguably, the most likely team, at this stage, to win Champions League
Manchester City look, arguably, the most likely team, at this stage, to win Champions League

Liverpool's title race with Manchester City has started once more, with both sides clearly in control of the proceedings in English football. However, City have been the truly ruthless outfit, taking on every team with the same attacking vibrance and quality.

The Cityzens remain unmatched in England, with even Liverpool struggling to turn City's monopoly into a duopoly.

“We see things they'll never see...” 👁💙#ManCity https://t.co/CjfmUVfrne

Although Pep Guardiola is yet to make his mark at the Etihad with a Champions League trophy, Manchester City know he's the best man to make it happen. With the way things are headed, this season could be the one where they finally become European champions - a title that has eluded them for the last decade.

Thanks to their ruthless and possessive style of play, City tend to enjoy a goalscoring advantage, irrespective of who they play. Scorelines like 5-1 and 4-1 against Club Brugge, as well as their more recent 5-0 win against Sporting, show just how clinical the Cityzens can be.

They currently sit at the top of the Premier League table, having enjoyed a rich vein of form throughout the season. If they can take that form into the Champions League, Manchester City arguably have the best chance of winning the coveted trophy.

Edited by Akshay Saraswat

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