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Here are the 10 teams most likely to win this year's Champions League

Real Madrid and others in a strong position to challenge this season.

10. Napoli

Ukraine Europa League Source: AP/Press Association Images

Last season’s Serie A runners-up may have lost their best player in Gonzalo Higuaín, but his replacement, Poland international Arkadiusz Milik — a €35m summer signing from Ajax — looks up to the task of filling the void left by the Argentine international’s departure. Piotr Zieliński (€16m from Udinese) and Emanuele Giaccherini (€1.5m + bonuses from Sunderland) could also prove to be smart signings, while their squad already features top-class talent, including Marek Hamšík, Kalidou Koulibaly and Lorenzo Insigne. Moreover, they have been drawn in a group — alongside Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv and Beşiktaş — that they should be strong enough to emerge from. How far they can go thereafter remains less certain, but they certainly have the potential to cause a surprise or two.

9. Borussia Dortmund

Germany Soccer Bundesliga Source: AP/Press Association Images

Dortmund may have lost key players in the form of Mats Hummels, İlkay Gündoğan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, but they also lined up some pretty impressive summer signings, including Portugal’s Euro 2016 hero Raphaël Guerreiro (€12m from Lorient), Mario Gotze (€26m from Bayern Munich), Marc Bartra (€12m from Barcelona), André Schürrle (€30m from Wolfsburg) and Ousmane Dembélé (€8m from Stade Rennais). In Thomas Tuchel, they have one of Europe’s most impressive young coaches, while they also have one of the world’s best strikers in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A repeat of their 2013 run to the final may seem fanciful, though they looked hugely impressive in spells during last season’s Europa League, particularly in their clinical last-16 5-1 aggregate defeat of Tottenham.

8. Sevilla

Liverpool v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Final - St. Jakob-Park Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Remarkably, Sevilla have won the Europa League the last three seasons in a row and five times since their first triumph in 2006. Like Atletico Madrid, they are a team who manage to compete with some of the top sides in Europe with comparatively little spending, and despite losing important players this season, including Yevhen Konoplyanka, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Coke, they have begun the campaign promisingly as they find themselves unbeaten and second in La Liga after three games. The one disappointment has been their inability to make an impact in the Champions League in recent seasons, though they were unlucky to be paired in a difficult group last time out with Juventus, Man City and Mönchengladbach. This year, they have been given a tricky but slightly less daunting draw alongside Juventus, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb.

7. PSG

France Soccer Champions League Source: Christophe Ena

Like Man City, PSG have spent heavily, but have yet to be rewarded in Europe’s top club competition, having bowed out at the quarter-final stage in the past four consecutive seasons. They also have a modest history in Europe — claiming only one Cup Winners’ Cup (1996) and one Intertoto Cup (2001), in comparison with six domestic league titles and 10 Coupe de Frances. They lost two key players in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Luiz in the summer, as well as promising young left-back Lucas Digne, who has joined Barcelona. Nevertheless, the signings of Jese from Real Madrid and Grzegorz Krychowiak from Sevilla for €25million each will certainly improve their squad.

6. Man City

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League - Old Trafford Source: Martin Rickett

Man City’s history in European football is far from illustrious. They have just one European trophy to their name — the 1970 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup. In addition, considering all the money that’s been pumped into the club in recent times, their Champions League record of late has been a little underwhelming. However, last season’s run to the semi-final suggests they are gradually getting to grips with the competition, while there is a renewed confidence about the club since Pep Guardiola took charge. They are the only Premier League club to still have a 100% record this season, while they have highly impressive strength in depth — top players such as Vincent Kompany and İlkay Gündoğan have yet to play this season, while £37million summer signing Leroy Sané has made just one appearance from the bench.

5. Atletico Madrid

Spain Soccer La Liga Source: Francisco Seco

They may not have the individual talent of other teams, but Atletico have still found a way to win games in recent seasons, as two final appearances in the last three campaigns attests. The 2015-16 finalists are a young team, however, with arguably the best defence in Europe, and in Diego Simeone, the Spanish side have one of the best managers in the world who will be more desperate than ever to make up for the penalty-shootout agony of last May.

4. Juventus

Italy Soccer Serie A Source: ALESSANDRO DI MARCO

They may have lost Paul Pogba, but Juve have gained a top-class striker in Gonzalo Higuain (bought for an astronomical €90m from Italian rivals Napoli). Their defence, which contains the world-class likes of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, is the envy of most sides in Europe. Although the reigning Serie A champions last won the Champions League in 1996, they’ve been beaten finalists four times since then, including in the 2014-15 campaign, when they were unlucky to come up against a Barca side in inspired form.

3. Bayern Munich

Germany Soccer Bundesliga Source: AP/Press Association Images

Carlo Ancelotti is the only manager in history to have won the Champions League three times and reached four finals (three times wih Milan and once with Real Madrid), so Bayern have a coach who knows the competition inside out. They have individual talent at least on a par with most of the top sides in the competition. The German side have won the competition twice (2001 and 2013) since the turn of the century and have got at least as far as the semi-finals in six of the past seven seasons.

2. Real Madrid

Bayern Munich Real Madrid Soccer Source: Bill Kostroun

Real Madrid have won two of the last three Champions Leagues and have a number of players, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric, good enough to get into virtually any team in the world. That said, winning the competition on back-to-back occasions is notoriously difficult — only eight teams have managed it before and no one has achieved the feat since AC Milan in 1990, back when it wasn’t called the ‘Champions League’ and you only had to play nine games in order to triumph.

1. Barcelona

Spain Soccer Copa del Rey Source: Francisco Seco

The Catalans edge Real Madrid as favourites owing to their marginally better strength in depth and individual talent. Barca, this season, will be aiming to win the Champions League for a fifth time in 16 years. With Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar looking as formidable as ever in recent times, who would bet against them?

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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