The UEFA Champions League has reached the quarter-final stage and each of the remaining eight teams will have realistic hopes of being crowned champions of Europe this season, the reformatted competition meaning each side are now just two wins away from a final appearance.
Somewhat remarkably, only two of the remaining sides have ever lifted the famous old trophy previously, with the prospect of a new name being engraved into Champions League history becoming ever more realistic.
Ahead of this week’s quarter-final fixtures we’ve decided to look at the key contenders to be crowned as European champions. So for those of you who like to keep up to date with the latest odds and best online casino, here are the bookmaker’s five favourites to win the 2019/2020 Champions League.
Atletico Madrid – 8/1
Could this finally be Atletico’s year?
Diego Simeone’s side have plenty in their favour heading into their last eight meeting with RB Leipzig, entering the quarter-finals on the more favourable side of the draw and full of confidence after eliminating holders Liverpool in the last-16.
The switch to one-legged ties could also work in Atletico’s favour, the reduced format meaning the Spanish side now have less time in which to implement their notoriously resilient style, sitting deep and compact before punishing opponents on the break.
Simeone’s side finished the league season with a 16-game unbeaten run and will be cautiously optimistic heading into their tie with Leipzig, their German opponents having reached this stage for the first time before suffering the blow of losing leading scorer Timo Werner to Chelsea.
Perhaps crucially, however, Atletico will be free of the demons of a potential latter stage meeting with city rivals and arch nemesis Real Madrid – a side which eliminated Atleti in four consecutive campaigns between 2014 and 2017, including heartbreakingly in two finals.
Barcelona – 7/1
Five-time winners and in possession of the world’s finest footballer, Barcelona’s odds may surprise many but are a reflection of a disappointing season for the Catalan giants thus far.
Quique Setién’s side surrendered their Spanish league title to Real Madrid and look in desperate need of a refresh, an ageing squad having looked some way short of the Barcelona teams which have conquered Europe in the past.
After overcoming a Napoli side which has struggled this season domestically in the last-16, their reward is a meeting with the juggernaught that is Bayern Munich and it will take a much improved showing to eliminate the German champions and progress.
Any side containing the talents of Messi has a chance – especially in a one-legged clash – but the Argentine will need the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez to step up if Barcelona are to have any hope of winning a first Champions League title in five years.
Paris Saint-Germain – 11/2
Paris Saint-Germain may never have a better chance of reaching a first ever Champions League final, the Parisian outfit meeting first time qualifiers Atalanta in the quarter-finals before a last four meeting with either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig – two sides also seeking their first European crown.
Thomas Tuchel’s side are in search of a quadruple after once again dominating in France to secure a domestic treble, whilst their form in the Champions League has been strong, breezing through a group containing Real Madrid unbeaten before showing character to overcome a first leg deficit and eliminate Borussia Dortmund in the last-16.
PSG are, however, short of key personnel for their last eight meeting with a free-scoring Atalanta side, with both Marco Verratti and Angel Di Maria set to miss out through injury and suspension respectively.
Kylian Mbappe also remains a major doubt after only just returning to light training from an ankle injury which threatened to rule out the forward for the remainder of the Champions League campaign. Much may depend on the performances of Neymar – who has been in fine form this season – in Mbappe’s absence, the Brazilian having been signed to influence occasions of this magnitude.
Bayern Munich – 3/1
Can anyone stop Bayern?
The Bundesliga champions are heading towards a historic treble in flawless fashion, winning all eight of their Champions League fixtures to date amid minimal fuss after claiming a domestic double in Germany.
Bayern scored a century of goals during their Bundesliga campaign and have been similarly prolific in continental competition, registering 7-2 and 6-0 wins in the group stages against Tottenham and Red Star Belgrade respectively before thrashing Chelsea 7-1 on aggregate in the last-16.
Key to their hopes has been a sensational season from talismanic forward Robert Lewandowski, who must surely be aggrieved at the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or following a season which has delivered 53 goals in all competitions to date, the Polish international the leading scorer in the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League.
Lewandowski has incredibly averaged a goal every 47 minutes in the Champions League this season and is just four goals shy of breaking Cristiano Ronaldo’s single season record of 17, whilst the forward is ably assisted by the pace and dynamism of talents such as Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies.
Bayern have a difficult last eight meeting with Barcelona and a potentially tricky path to the final, but any side with ambitions of lifting the trophy are likely to have to beat the German giants to do so.
Manchester City – 9/4
Manchester City head into the quarter-finals of the Champions League as the favourites to lift the trophy with the bookmakers, Pep Guardiola’s side seeking to progress beyond the last eight for the first time since the Spaniard’s arrival at the Etihad four years ago.
The club’s European ambitions have crumbled in recent years following disappointing defeats to compatriots Liverpool and Tottenham, but the lack of English opposition and altered one-legged format may boost City’s hopes of landing a maiden European crown.
Guardiola will need his side to eradicate the defensive mistakes of past campaigns – notably conceding clutches of goals in quick succession – to go deep into the latter stages, but City will be confident of progressing as they prepare to face Lyon in the last eight.
The French side were shock conquerors of Juventus in the last-16 but finished seventh in Ligue 1 and represent as straightforward a quarter-final clash as City could have wished for, ahead of a defining meeting with either Barcelona or Bayern in the last four.
City’s control of the tie during a two-legged victory over record winners Real Madrid in the last-16 will further raise confidence this could be their year, Guardiola seeking a first European trophy since leaving Barcelona – and notably Lionel Messi – seven years ago.