The 2021/2022 UEFA Champions League has started and so has the perennial debate with the question: “Who will win the UEFA Champions League?”.
Chelsea won the preceding edition, defeating fellow English team Manchester City 1 – 0 in the final, and both clubs have been tipped to be in the run-in for the trophy this season, and rightly so. They are not alone though, in fact, neither of them is the bookies’ favorites to win the trophy this year. Such is the level of competition.
In terms of leagues though, the English Premier League is home to more than half of the top seven favourite teams for the trophy this year with Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool all featuring. The overwhelming dominance of the EPL is not very surprising as many pundits assert that the EPL is at its peak strength in over a decade, and each of the top four teams can give any of the other league leaders in Europe a run for their money. The decline of Barcelona, especially with the loss of ace Lionel Messi to PSG further diminishes the strength of La Liga from what it was some couple of years ago when it was the undisputed top league.
The exodus of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to PSG and Manchester United respectively has had a major effect on the odds table, both clubs featuring higher than they ordinarily would.
Paris Saint Germain are bookies favourites to run home with the trophy this season. As it stands, the bookies have given them a whopping 25% chance of winning the much-coveted trophy, and it is not difficult to see why. The signing of Lionel Messi, defensive colossus Sergio Ramos and the precocious Gianluigi Donnarumma in addition to the already star-studded team puts PSG in a better position than they have ever been to win the elusive trophy.
Last season’s finalists Manchester City who for much of last season remained favourites to win the trophy are present again this year. Pep Guardiola will be hoping his wards can do one better and add to his UCL winners medal collection. The likelihood of City winning is set at 22% by the bookies, and the near-perfectly meshed team will be hoping they can finally deliver their first UCL trophy in this season’s competition.
German Champions, Bayern Munich are once again in this conversation. They have been one of the most consistent teams in the Champions League for over a decade and they will look to put their Quarter-Finals loss to PSG in last season’s competition behind them. According to the bookies, they have a 13% chance of winning the competition this season and with the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Serge Gnabry, and the rise of youngster Jamal Musiala, they will be looking to add to their already crowded trophy cabinet.
Rather surprisingly, last season’s champions, Chelsea are the fourth likeliest team for the trophy this season according to the bookies with an 11% probability of winning. Thomas Tuchel will feel that the summer addition of Romelu Lukaku and Saul Niguez can further strengthen the team and boost their chances of completing the herculean task of retaining such a trophy as the UCL. Furthermore, he will believe the players, having spent more time playing under him will execute his instructions with better understanding and improve their chances of besting any of their opponents.
Liverpool, Manchester United, and Real Madrid, with a combined 23 UEFA Champions League trophy complete the list with 10, 7, and 6 percent probability respectively. It is however not beyond the realms of reality for another club besides this seven to win the competition. In fact, any of the other 25 teams by virtue of participation have a chance at the title and that is why we love this competition!