Source: Efrem Lukatsky
Updated at 15.55
THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE’S last 16 teams were confirmed on Wednesday night.
We’ve decided to assess each team’s chances of winning outright, in addition to including the bookies’ odds in brackets below…
16. Basel (175/1)
Source: SIPA USA
Impressed in beating Man United 1-0 at home, but had an easy enough group, with CSKA and Benfica proving nothing special. A Swiss side has never won the European Cup/Champions League and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
15. Shakhtar Donetsk (125/1)
Source: Efrem Lukatsky
The classic ‘tricky place to go,’ Shakhtar have arguably overachieved simply by reaching the last 16. The Ukrainians proved they are a decent side in becoming the first team this season to beat an admittedly weakened Man City outfit. Nonetheless, finishing ahead of relatively strong teams in the form of Napoli (who are currently just one point off Serie A leaders Inter) and Feyenoord should not be disregarded. That said, they are still probably the type of side most seeded teams will be privately hoping to draw in the next round.
14. Porto (80/1)
Source: Luis Vieira
Came through a fairly difficult group, finishing ahead of the side currently second in the Bundesliga, RB Leipzig, and last season’s semi-finalists Monaco. In general, they have punched above their weight in the competition in recent times, getting past the group stages in five of the last six campaigns despite being far from a European powerhouse. That said, a repeat of their memorable 2004 triumph remains highly unlikely.
13. Besiktas (55/1)
Most people would have tipped Besiktas for a group stage exit, as they were drawn in a difficult-looking group alongside Monaco, Porto and RB Leipzig. However, they overcame the odds to finish top. Anything from this point on will be a bonus, as they bid to achieve the improbable feat of becoming the first Turkish team to win the European Cup/Champions League.
12. Sevilla (50/1)
Source: Darko Bandic
Impressively came back to earn a 3-3 draw at home to Liverpool, while they have plenty of experience with European football, winning the Europa League in three of the past five seasons. They are currently eight points off La Liga leaders Barca, so have been in decent form domestically. However, there are doubts as to whether they possess the sufficient quality to go much further in the competition.
11. Tottenham (16/1)
Source: Mike Egerton
No team finished on more points in the group stages than Tottenham, who appear to be adjusting to Champions League football after an underwhelming group stage exit last year. Mauricio Pochettino’s team demonstrated their potential by beating Real Madrid recently, but their inconsistent Premier League form indicates they could be exposed as the level of competition in Europe intensifies.
10. Liverpool (16/1)
Source: Tim Goode
Hoping to win the Champions League/European Cup for a sixth time, Liverpool’s formidable attack — 21 goals is the most by an English side ever in a single group campaign — makes them outside contenders. Nevertheless, their defence has looked vulnerable on more than one occasion this season — most notably during the collapse in Sevilla — while they were put in a group with two very ordinary sides in Spartak Moscow and Maribor.
9. Chelsea (20/1)
Source: SIPA USA
The reigning Premier League champions have endured a few hiccups domestically and consequently find themselves third, 11 points behind leaders Man City. In Europe, they have been inconsistent too, earning an impressive 2-1 victory away to Atletico Madrid while also losing 3-0 to Roma. However, the last time they won the Champions League in 2012, they finished sixth in the Premier League, so sometimes the lack of a title race to contend with can be beneficial.
8. Roma (35/1)
Source: Giampiero Sposito
Came top of a difficult group that included Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, Roma have also been going reasonably well in Serie A and find themselves five points off leaders Inter. Eusebio Di Francesco’s team are bidding to become the first Italian side to lift the Champions League trophy since Jose Mourinho’s Inter in 2010, and while the odds are stacked heavily against them, they have already shown themselves to be capable of the occasional upset.
7. Man United (16/1)
Source: PA Wire
Jose Mourinho recently suggested his side are not Champions League contenders. However, given that they are among the biggest-spending teams in Europe, United should be expecting to compete with the continent’s elite. They certainly have good experience to back that up, winning the Europa League last year and coming through the group stages fairly comfortably. However, there remains a sense that the Red Devils are not quite at the level of potential champions just yet, with some ultra-defensive performances against many of the better teams they’ve faced this season highlighting a lack of confidence in their ability to go toe to toe with top teams.
6. Juventus (18/1)
Source: Petros Giannakouris
Underestimate Juventus at your peril. The Italians have reached the Champions League final twice in the last three seasons, ultimately imploding last year as they were beaten 4-1 by Real Madrid. However, there is a sense that this side is not quite as good as its previous incarnations. In Serie A, they have fallen behind the pace and are currently third. In recent years, a failure to keep hold of important players such as Dani Alves, Paul Pogba, Leonardo Bonucci and Carlos Tevez indicates they still struggle in comparison to Europe’s biggest-spending teams.
5. Bayern Munich (13/2)
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Seem to have recovered following a disappointing start under Carlo Ancelotti. The man who replaced him as temporary manager, Jupp Heynckes, was boss the last time Bayern prevailed in the competition in 2013. They have a decent mix of youth and experience also, with veterans such as Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben complementing the exuberance of Kingsley Coman and Joshua Kimmich.
4. Barcelona (13/2)
Source: SIPA USA
Having underperformed last season, not many people were tipping Barcelona to triumph after losing a star man in Neymar during the summer. However, they progressed through the group stages comfortably and are currently top of La Liga, while any team with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi cannot be written off lightly regardless of form.
3. Man City (9/2)
Source: Efrem Lukatsky
Surely the most improved team in Europe. People should not read too much into Shakhtar Donetsk bringing the club’s 28-game unbeaten run in all competitions to an end on Wednesday night. City have been phenomenal this season, storming ahead in the Premier League while comfortably progressing in Europe. Whether they have a squad strong enough to cope with both these challenges is a key question, and there is a caveat in that they had a fairly straightforward group. But on the evidence of their displays so far, they certainly deserve to be considered as one of the primary contenders to lift the Champions League trophy in May.
2. Real Madrid (6/1)
This season has been poor by Real Madrid’s standards. They were comprehensively beaten by Spurs in the group stages, while they trail Barcelona by eight points in La Liga. Nonetheless, a Spanish side has won the Champions League in all of the past four seasons, and three of those were Real, so it would be no surprise if they came good when it mattered most.
1. PSG (7/2)
Not since 1993 when Marseille won the inaugural Champions League has a French team been better placed to secure Europe’s top club competition. Their attacking trio of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Edinson Cavani is the envy of most football teams in Europe. They are already nine points clear at the top of Ligue 1, while they were highly impressive for much of the group stages, scoring 25 goals and conceding only four. Given their spending power, at best anything less than a semi-final appearance would likely be perceived as a failure.
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