Juventus and Barcelona have been beaten out as favorites to win the UEFA Champions League this season. The competition recommences tonight as Europe's elite battle it out to see who can qualify for the quarter finals of Europe's biggest cup competition. The upcoming Round of 16 fixtures have some exciting clashes in store for the footballing world.
Barcelona have been given the daunting task of taking on last year's finalists, French champions PSG, in what will be the standout fixture of the the round of 16. Barcelona infamously lost 3-0 to Juventus in the group stages, and the Blaugrana ended up finishing 2nd in their group, which in turn gave them a tougher draw going into the knockout rounds.
Juventus, on the other hand, have been handed a tricky fixture as well. Andrea Pirlo's side will face off against Liga NOS champions FC Porto. But the Bianconeri should come out on top with the quality they have in the squad.
Other obvious contenders for club football's most prestigious prize include last season's winners Bayern Munich, record Champions League winners Real Madrid, and English sides Liverpool and Manchester City.
Data analysts FiveThirtyEight, have calculated the odds of each team winning the Champions League this season and have come to a rather surprising conclusion. With Barcelona and Juventus boasting the two best players of the 21st century in their squads, the expectation would be that one of these two teams would be the favorites to lift the trophy this season.
However, according to FiveThirtyEight, English side Manchester City are runaway favorites to win the Champions League. The report states that Pep Guardiola's side have a 37% chance to win the competition this season.
Barcelona do have the 2nd best odds according to the report, coming in at 13%, with Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Real Madrid rounding out the top 5. Surprisingly, however, Juventus are ranked 7th in the report, tied with Chelsea at a 5% chance of winning the competition.
Barcelona and Juventus have not been at their best this season
Both Barcelona and Juventus have endured turbulent seasons so far. The two teams are way off the pace in their respective domestic leagues and have been through rough patches this season.
Barcelona started the season horribly, even finding themselves down in 10th place in La Liga during the first half of the campaign. Ronald Koeman's side have since steadied the ship, but are still nowhere in the running for the La Liga title, with Atletico Madrid seemingly favorites to win the league this season.
Juventus, on the other hand, had a strong start to the season but faltered during the holiday period and now find themselves 4th in the table, 8 points off the top of Serie A.
Both teams might have to turn their attention to the Champions League if they want to win any silverware this season.