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Five favourites to win Champions League after last 16 draw

The Champions League will resume in the new year at the knock-out stages, with the draw for the last-16 having pitted together some heavyweight clashes. 

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all face difficult tasks in reaching the last eight after being drawn to face leading opposition, though each of the Premier League’s four representative sides will have hopes of reaching May’s final in Istanbul in what looks like one of the most open tournaments in recent years.

So for those of you looking to PowerPlay your Champions League betting, here are the bookies five favourites to win the 2019/2020 Champions League…

Paris Saint-Germain – 7/1

The French champions are yet to truly make their mark on European competition following some years of heavy investment, though their breezing of a Champions League group containing Real Madrid to secure qualification as group winners has seen them backed amongst the favourites.

Thomas Tuchel’s side possesses the firepower to go far in the tournament with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe amongst the finest attacking talents in world football, whilst the club’s strength in depth was boosted significantly by the summer arrivals of Mauro Icardi, Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gana Gueye.

A lack of strong competition at domestic level might once again be their downfall, though the Parisian’s will be out for redemption following last season’s collapse in the last-16 against Manchester United.

Tuchel will be confident his side can progress to the last eight at the expense of the German’s former club Borussia Dortmund, though how far they can go remains to be seen.

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Bayern Munich – 7/1

Bayern were the only club to navigate the group stages with a flawless record, registering six wins out of six including that 7-2 thrashing of Tottenham.

The German champions will once again face London opposition in the next round after being drawn to face Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, though they will be confident of securing their place in the quarter-finals.

Beaten by eventual winners Liverpool last season, the Bavarian side will confident of reaching the latter stages this time around having reached at least the semi-finals in six of the previous seven seasons before their defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s side.

The career-best form of Robert Lewandowski will be key to their hopes, the Pole is the leading scorer in the competition so far with 10 goals in just five appearances and 30 for the season in all competitions.

However, Niko Kovac’s sacking means that interim manager Hans-Dieter Flick is in charge for the foreseeable future, and the former Germany assistant is unproven as a senior manager at this level.

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Barcelona – 5/1

Lionel Messi and co were on the verge of yet another Champions League final in last season’s semi-final, only to capitulate in memorable fashion in their second leg at Liverpool to add another chapter to their recent European woes.

The Catalan side have blown comfortable first-leg leads in each of the last two seasons, and the club will want to banish those memories this time around as the five-times winners seek a first title since 2015.

Barcelona are yet to go past the quarter-final stage since their final victory over Juventus four years ago, but having come through a Group of Death featuring Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan as group winners, will be confident of reaching the latter stages.

A last-16 meeting with Napoli has the potential to be difficult but the club will need to overcome the Serie A side if they are to harbour realistic ambitions of lifting the trophy, and backed by the talents of the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, few would bet against them making an impact.

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Liverpool – 4/1

The holders are once again amongst the favourites to lift Europe’s biggest prize and rightly so, the club having reached successive finals in the past two seasons and have never lost a two-legged European tie under the management of Jurgen Klopp.

It’s a remarkable record, though it indicates the progress the Reds have made under the German’s stewardship in recent seasons.

The Merseyside club possess a forward line capable of troubling any defence on the continent, though they will be made to work for a place in the last eight after being drawn against an Atletico Madrid side who have the defensive capabilities to stifle their attacking threat.

The club’s key ambition this season is to lift the Premier League title and they are currently comfortable leaders at the top of the division, and whether Klopp’s side can juggle both competitions will likely be a key factor in their hopes.

Their short odds are testament to their success in recent years, and the club are well placed to become just the second side ever to defend the trophy in the Champions League era.

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Manchester City – 7/2

Despite their struggles domestically this season, the Premier League champions are the bookmaker’s favourites to secure a maiden Champions League title this season.

Having fallen 14 points adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool in the title race, Pep Guardiola’s sole focus may be on European success once the knock-out stages get underway next February.

Aymeric Laporte should also have returned from his long term lay-off by then, in what would be a huge boost for his side who have struggled defensively in his absence so far this season.

City are yet to make their mark on the Champions League since their billionaire takeover over a decade ago, with their best performance being reaching the semi-finals under Manuel Pellegrini four years ago.

It’s a poor return from a club which has dominated domestically in England in recent seasons, though their Achilles heel in Europe has been Premier League opposition in recent times having exited to Liverpool and Tottenham in their past two campaigns.

Their draw for the last-16 has presented a formidable task in the form of 13-times winners Real Madrid, though Guardiola’s side must show they are capable of beating the elite in a two-legged tie if they are to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time.

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