The UEFA Champions League campaign has got underway as Europe’s elite teams compete to be crowned champions once again.
This season will be the final edition of the tournament in its current format, before UEFA’s expansion plans are set to provide the Champions League with a revamped look.
Manchester City were crowned European champions for the first time last season, but just one team has defended the trophy in the Champions League era.
For those of you interested in sports betting and free bets sportsbook, we’ve looked at the five favourites to win the Champions League after the group stages got underway.
Ranking the five favourites to win the Champions League:
Paris Saint-Germain – 12/1
Paris Saint-Germain have failed to crack the Champions League despite the money plundered into the club across the last decade, with the superstar signings having struggled to deliver on the European stage despite domestic dominance.
PSG have relaunched their project this summer however, with Lionel Messi and Neymar among the high-profile exits. In came a wealth of new signings at the Parc des Princes as the French champions planned for the longer-term.
France internationals Randal Kolo Muani, Ousmane Dembele and Lucas Hernandez all joined the Ligue 1 champions, while Manuel Ugarte, Milan Skriniar, Goncalo Ramos and Marco Asensio had admirers across Europe before plumping for Paris.
An unconvincing start to the Ligue 1 season shows the new arrivals will need time to gel, but there’s plenty of talent in Paris this season. That, however, has long been the case.
Arsenal – 10/1
Arsenal are back in the Champions League after a six-year absence from the competition, having pushed Manchester City close in the Premier League title race last season.
The Gunners have gone from strength to strength under the management of Mikel Arteta and will be aiming to compete on all fronts this season. Arsenal are unbeaten in five Premier League games this season and strengthened their squad with the £105m club record capture of Declan Rice this summer.
The England international is one of several in the Arsenal side who will be competing on this stage for the first time this season, but the north Londoners have a squad capable of reaching the latter stages.
Arsenal have never before been crowned Champions League winners, could this be the year?
Real Madrid – 15/2
Real Madrid are often regarded as the kings of continental competition and the Spanish giants begin each Champions League campaign considered among the favourites.
Los Blancos have won the Champions League five times in the last decade alone and have reached at least the semi-final in each of the last three seasons.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side secured the signing of Jude Bellingham during the summer and the midfielder has made an immediate impact in the Spanish capital, scoring five times in five league appearances as Real Madrid have made a perfect start to the La Liga campaign.
Karim Benzema’s exit leaves Real Madrid without a proven centre-forward on this stage, but the Spaniards have the pedigree to challenge once again.
Bayern Munich – 11/2
Bayern Munich are the second-favourites to win the Champions League this season after one of the most impressive summer transfer windows in Europe.
The Bundesliga champions signed Harry Kane in a £100m club record deal from Tottenham and the England captain has started strongly in Bavaria, with four goals in four league appearances.
Kane’s decision to leave Tottenham was based on a desire to compete for the biggest trophies and his arrival makes Bayern a real threat in Europe this season. The Germans have disappointed with three consecutive quarter-final exits and will hope for an improved Champions League campaign this time around, having replaced the goalscoring void created by Robert Lewandowski’s 2022 departure.
Kim Min-jae has also arrived after an impressive Serie A title-winning campaign at Napoli, alongside free transfer recruits Konrad Laimer and Raphaël Guerreiro.
Manchester City – 9/4
Manchester City are the holders and will start the campaign as favourites to defend the Champions League.
Pep Guardiola’s side won a historic Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble last season, with Erling Haaland scoring 52 goals in all competitions to fire the Cityzens to an unforgettable success.
Their Champions League campaign ended several years of disappointment on this stage, as City swept past European royalty in Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Inter Milan to be crowned champions for the first time.
Undoubtedly the team to beat once again.