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Power rankings -- the 8 teams most likely to win this year's Champions League

Barca, Real Madrid and Man City are among the teams to feature.

8. Man United

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - Manchester United v VfL Wolfsburg - Old Trafford Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

THINGS FINALLY LOOK as if they’re starting to come together for Man United with their win over Wolfsburg coupled with their surprise recent rise to the top of the Premier League. While the Red Devils remain considerable outsiders to triumph in Europe, stranger things have happened — is the current United side significantly weaker than the Porto team that won in 2004 or the Chelsea side that prevailed in 2012?

7. Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone’s men haven’t had the best of starts to the competition, as they were beaten 2-1 by Benfica last night. However, they still deserve respect on account of their impressive recent showings in the competition, particularly in 2014, when they were narrowly beaten by Real Madrid in the final.

6. Man City

Man City have struggled in Europe consistently, but recent seasons suggest they are at least improving to a degree. Moreover, in the past two campaigns, they have had the misfortune to come up against Barcelona in the early knockout stages. While the Eastlands outfit have stumbled a little of late domestically, they are still the best placed of the English sides to launch a challenge.

5. Juventus

The reigning Serie A champions have had a poor start to their campaign domestically, as they currently sit 15th in the league, however their European campaign has been flawless thus far by comparison, as they’ve picked up wins in difficult games over Man City and Sevilla.

4. PSG

Ukraine Soccer Champions League Source: AP/Press Association Images

Still largely the same team who knocked out Chelsea in such an impressive manner last season, PSG have been knocking on the door for a few years now and will justifiably consider themselves contenders again.

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3. Real Madrid

Not everyone is so far convinced that Rafa Benitez is the man to lead Real Madrid to glory, but with an impressive array of world-class players within their ranks, the Spanish side will inevitably be among the favourites for any competition they enter.

2. Bayern Munich

In the last four seasons, Bayern Munich have reached at least the semi-finals on every occasion, so with such a phenomenal record in the competition, they have to be again considered strong contenders. Their start in Europe has done little to dispel this notion, with the Germans convincingly winning their opening two games 3-0 (Olympiacos) and 5-0 (Dinamo Zagreb) respectively.

1. Barcelona

It’s well documented how difficult it is to win back-to-back Champions League titles, but this Barca side undoubtedly has the potential to break the trend in that regard. Their forward line alone, of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi (when fit), is unrivalled in world football, and while they haven’t entirely caught fire yet — picking up four points from two games and only narrowly beating Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night — expect the Catalans to be there or thereabouts again this year.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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