The UEFA Champions League is ready to kick off. The preliminary rounds have concluded and the draw has been made. Now, the group stage is about to start with 32 teams vying for the European Cup.
Real Madrid are the reigning Champions League winners. Los Blancos have won three European Cups in a row and could make it an unprecedented fourth this season. It won’t be easy with Cristiano Ronaldo now playing for Juventus. The tournament’s other top clubs have reloaded in talent and will be gunning to knock off Real Madrid this season. Will Real Madrid hold onto their Champions League title or will a new club lift the European Cup in 2018-19?
Champions League 2018 – 2019: Our predictions for the group stage
- 1 Champions League 2018 – 2019: Our predictions for the group stage
- 2 Predictions for English teams in the Champions League 2018-19
- 3 Who will be the Champions League top scorer?
- 4 Our Favourite: Manchester City wins the Champions League in 2018-19
- 5 The UCL 2018 Battle
- 6 Finals Odds
- 7 2 possible candidates left for the title
- 8 Prediction: Real Madrid to win UCL 1/1 at Paddy Power*.
Predictions for Group A
Our bet: Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund to qualify
Atletico Madrid are coming off of a European League title win last term. The club may have played poorly in the 2017-18 Champions League group stage, but part of that was due to a summer transfer ban. The team is stacked this season with Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Jan Oblak just to name a few players. Manager Diego Simeone is one of the best in the business and Atletico will play better this season in the tournament. In addition, the club has an incentive to make it to the final. The European Cup Final will be played at Atletico’s WANDA Metropolitano Stadium. Borussia Dortmund are a top team and will just edge out France’s Monaco in the group. The continued selling of top stars will doom Monaco to third place and the Europa League.
Predictions for Group B
Our bet: Barcelona and Internazionale to qualify
Group B is a group of death with Barcelona, Tottenham, Internazionale and PSV Eindhoven. On paper, each team can take points off the other. Barcelona will top the group as Lionel Messi and company will get to the knockout stage once more. Inter will pip Tottenham to second place. It will be close, but Tottenham’s lack of depth and their difficult Premier League schedule will enable Inter to make the next round. PSV are a good side, but they are not of the calibre of the other three in the group. They may be able to get a point or two, but PSV will be Group B’s strugglers.
Predictions for Group C
Our bet: Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool to qualify
Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Napoli, and Red Star Belgrade will make up Group C. The Group will be exciting and plenty of goals should be scored. Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool will qualify from the group and their fixtures against each other should be thrilling. Both have the talent to win Group C, but PSG have the advantage in front of goal and could top Group C thanks to goal difference. Napoli have started life without Maurizio Sarri well in Serie A. But the Champions League is a different beast and they will struggle to adapt. Manager Carlo Ancelotti is experienced, but Napoli don’t have the firepower PSG and Liverpool possess. Red Star have already played in the qualifying rounds. They didn’t impress too greatly and will struggle to gain points in Group C.
Predictions for Group D
Our bet: Porto and Schalke to qualify
Group D is one of the more open groups in the Champions League. Each team has the chance to go through, but it will be decided by which club gets hot during the tournament. Porto are the best team in Group D on paper and will be able to navigate its tricky waters. Regardless of selling top players each summer, Porto reload their squad with capable footballers. Schalke will join Porto in the knockout round with a second-place finish. Young manager Domenico Tedesco is one of the best up and coming coaches in football currently. He led the side to a second-place finish in the Bundesliga last season surprising everyone. Schalke have their eyes on the Champions League already and will be tough to beat. Galatasaray and Lokomotiv Moscow will fight it out for the third spot and Europa League qualification. Galatasaray will edge it thanks to players like Eren Derdiyok, Sinan Gumus, and Ryan Donk.
Predictions for Group E
Our bet: Bayern Munich and Ajax to qualify
Bayern Munich are head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in Group E. It isn’t a matter of if the Germans will qualify top of the group, rather it is when. Niko Kovac may be in his first season as manager, but the Croatian is a highly skilled tactician. Bayern will have no trouble topping Group E. Ajax are back in the Champions League after a few years away. It took a qualifying campaign for the Dutch team to make the group stage, but it is now ready to push on. Ajax are better than they have been in previous seasons and the additions of Dusan Tadic and Frenkie de Jong make them a difficult proposition. Benfica are always a good team, but Ajax will be too much for them. The two clubs will play back to back matchdays which should be the turning point for qualification to the knockout stage.
Predictions for Group F
Our bet: Manchester City and Lyon to qualify
Manchester City will dominate Group F with little resistance. Pep Guardiola’s team showed so much strength in all areas of the pitch during last season’s group stage. Football fans should expect the same once again this season. Lyon may not be up to Manchester City’s level, but the French team boast a number of top players. Memphis Depay has found a home with the French team and scores big goals for the club. Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk will battle for Europa League qualification from the group. Last season, Shakhtar defeated Manchester City on the final day of the group stage. That will only happen again if Manchester City have already wrapped up the group.
Predictions for Group G
Our bet: Real Madrid and Roma to qualify
Real Madrid and Roma will have no trouble getting through Group G. In fact, compared to the Champions League’s other groups, this one looks a bit dull. CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen will make up the numbers in Group G. There shouldn’t be any surprises and even without Ronaldo, Real Madrid will win the group.
Predictions for Group H
Our bet: Juventus and Manchester United to qualify
Group F is another group of death in this year’s Champions League. It features two former winners in Juventus and Manchester United along with Valencia, who made the final twice in the early 2000s. There are also Switzerland’s Young Boys, who will want to shake things up against the big boys. Juventus are the strongest team in the group. Even before Ronaldo arrived, Juventus would be fancied to go through. Manchester United are not the team of old. Jose Mourinho’s tactics are dull and the Red Devils are flat-track bullies. Valencia will push them, but Mourinho often gets things right in cup tournaments. His management will get Manchester United into the knockout stage. Young Boys may take a point or two off of the rest of the group, but Valencia are good enough for third.
Predictions for English teams in the Champions League 2018-19
Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Manchester United make up the English clubs playing in this year’s Champions League. Liverpool were the beaten finalists last term after swashbuckling their way to the final behind the goals of Mohamed Salah.
Liverpool are even better than they were last season and will be difficult to beat. However, Manchester City may be the most difficult English team to play. The combination of Pep Guardiola’s tactics along with star players such as Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, and David Silva can defeat any team in the Champions League.
Manchester United crashed out of last season’s tournament with a whimper. The club did little in the summer transfer window and is no different than it was last term. Manchester United will make the knockout stage but will crash and burn there. Tottenham were the only Premier League team not to make a transfer signing. Mauricio Pochettino’s team is lacking in depth and it will haunt the club in the Champions League.
Who will be the Champions League top scorer?
Our bet: Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has topped the Champions League goal scoring charts in six consecutive seasons. Each time, Ronaldo has scored double digit goals. The Juventus player will have plenty of opportunities to score during this season’s tournament. Not only will Juventus play six group stage games, but the Bianconeri should make it deep into the knockout rounds. Due to the number of games Ronaldo will play, he should once again lead the way in goals scored. The Portuguese legend was signed by Juventus to lead them to the European Cup and he has a lot to prove after leaving Real Madrid in the summer.
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi is always a dangerous player in front of goal in the Champions League. Like Ronaldo, Messi has a lot to prove this season due to Barcelona’s capitulation in the Champions League against Roma last year. The 2011-12 Champions League was the last time Messi led the goal scoring charts. He scored 14 times during that season.
PSG forward Neymar is fit and will have every opportunity to once again show he is as good as Ronaldo and Messi. If he can top the goal scoring table, Neymar will be able to make the claim that he is on par with the other two stars.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah tallied 10 goals last season. Had he not got injured in the Champions League Final, he may have been able to add to the tally. Salah will be full of confidence when Liverpool kick off their campaign against PSG.
Finally, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski should be considered for the top scorer trophy. The Bayern man has scored goals for fun in Germany. He is the team’s undisputed No.9 and barring injury, he will have plenty of opportunities to score goals.
Our Favourite: Manchester City wins the Champions League in 2018-19
Manchester City are the same team they were last season. Just one player arrived during the summer transfer window. Winger Riyad Mahrez joined for £60 million and his presence will add even more quality depth to Guardiola’s team. Manchester City’s single player purchase shows just how strong they already were. Manchester City were in no need to overhaul the squad or add a number of players. Despite being beaten in the quarterfinals last term by an inspired Liverpool, Manchester City are still one of the best teams in all of Europe.
Real Madrid are now experiencing life without Ronaldo. Los Blancos are without the X-factor he brought to the table. Barcelona are ageing and Messi showed last season that he cannot carry Barcelona through every match. This season will see the Spanish dominance of the Champions League end and it may be a long time before it reappears.
Juventus may be Manchester City’s toughest task, if the two clubs meet. Ronaldo has made Juventus better and his mere presence improves the squad. Guardiola is a master of tactics, however. His ability to coach Manchester City through the tournament’s highs and lows will be key to the team winning the tournament.
Of course, Liverpool did eliminate Manchester City last year. But Guardiola and his players will have learned from their experience. Lightning won’t strike twice if Manchester City face off with Liverpool once more.
Manchester City will be the final team standing on June 1 at Atletico Madrid’s WANDA Metropolitano Stadium. Guardiola will mastermind the club’s first European cup win and years of waiting and spending will come to an end.
Only 2 teams left at this stage of the competition: 1 English team (Liverpool) and 1 Spanish team (Real Madrid) for a game between two teams who have not met in final since 1981.
The UCL 2018 Battle
This season of the Champions League has given much to talk about after the double title won by the Real Madrid. Not only because of the entry of “new” teams into the competition but because of the surprise that some small teams have shown a lot of strength against the bigger teams. Another point to note is that the same teams of last season, Real Madrid, aim to be the winner of the title. That would be 3 titles in a row, something never seen in this competition.
Even if most of the bookmakers see Madrid win the title, Liverpool is on fire lately and Salah would be very helpful to defy the Spanish giant:
Updated after the Quarter Finals Draw
The 2017-2018 season already offered a lot of surprises, like every year. Past year, in the playoffs for the qualifiers, Apoel, a team that almost always qualifies, was eliminated by FC Copenhagen. Another team that qualified was Mönchengladbach which eliminated the Young Boys. To the sadness of some Italian fans, Roma was left out to be removed by Porto. After defining the groups, some big teams earned an “easy” group. For example, SSC Napoli is in the group with the weakest teams, in group B is the only team that has double digits in points with a total of 11 points, 3 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat.
At the beginning of the group phase very predictable results were expected, and so with the most powerful teams. FC Barcelona beat Celtic 7-0. Bayern München received Rostov at home and scored 5-0. Another big team that obtained a triumph in the first phase of groups was Atletico Madrid, 1-0 against PSV. On the second date of the group stage in the Champions League, Juventus won 4-0 at Zagreb, Real Madrid tied 2-2 with Borussia Dortmund and Leicester 1-0 at Porto. These were some results of the beginning of the first 2 weeks of the Champions League.
The bigger teams have shown that they are in good shape, have lost almost no match, despite some clashes they have had between them.
Predicting which team will get the UEFA Champions League title requires a look at the team’s most recent odds* and statistics.
The UEFA Champions League promise will be a tight match between two teams who loves to attack. There’s no doubt it will be an exciting match between Liverpool and Real Madrid.
- Real Madrid – Liverpool: Can the Spanish win three title in a row?
- Scorers : Salah vs Ronaldo: the duel between the two superstars will be astonishing
To bet, on this match, it is better to wait for the last moment in order to be sure of the players who’ll be able to play. If Ronaldo, Salah or Ramos get injured a few days before the match, the odds and the predictions won’t be the same. However, the odds are always interesting in this kind of game.
2 possible candidates left for the title
Therer are only teams who can still win the title: Liverpool and Real Madrid, the two finalists.
1- Real Madrid: They have a good level in the Champions League, but they have had problems to win in the local league of their country. The team already has 12 UCL titles and aspire for another. This would be the third crown for Zidane In 2018, the team look even stronger than in 2017, especially after beating the Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich. They look stronger than ever this season and will do everything they can to realize something that has never been done before: winning 3 UEFA Champions League titles in a row.
2- Liverpool: With their amazing attack and Mohamed Salah in a shape we have never seen, Liverpool has been very impressive. Their victory against Manchester City in the 1/4 and the first game against AS Roma in the semi finals were incredible. Jurgen Klopp, and all the Reds fans are confident that can beat anyone in the UEFA Champion’s League with such a great team. They recruited Van Djik last winter, who became the most expensive defender on the market. He really changed their defense and they are now way stronger than they use to be. Everything is possible with this club.
Prediction: Real Madrid to win UCL 1/1 at Paddy Power*.
Full Odds for the Champion’s League Winner 2018:
*Odds being correct at time of publishing