When it comes to this year’s Champions League, there’s not yet a clear indicator of who’s going to reach the final. Everyone from Manchester City to Bayern Munich are being touted as potential winners, and as the tournament goes on it’s still not clear who is about to take home the trophy.
Given that Spain has produced so many recent winners, such as Real Madrid in the last two seasons and Barcelona the one before, some fans simply assume that a Spanish team will be the champions. And while it’s clear that teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona are certainly in with chances of winning, nothing’s in the bag.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of those competing against the Spanish teams and what it could mean for the eventual outcome of the competition.
The big two: could Real Madrid or Barcelona take it?
So far, things aren’t looking so good for the two leading Spanish sides in this year’s round of matches. Reigning champions Real Madrid got off to a relatively bad start during the group stages when they failed to finish top of Group H, with English side Tottenham winning the group.
And the Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, didn’t exactly sound a note of confidence shortly afterwards when he conceded that his side could well be beaten in the final by Tottenham, with him being quoted as saying: “Any team can win the Champions League and Tottenham are certainly one of them.”
In Real Madrid’s favour, however, is its record of investment in footballing talent. With players such as Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos being staples in the team and the club being led by Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid has been a force to be reckoned with in previous seasons.
Barcelona, too, are not likely to be leading the way. Though their league from in recent years has seen them win or finish second, their Champions Leagues form has faulted in recent years. For the last two seasons they’ve failed to reach the semi- finals, something they had been doing with ease in past seasons – and the odds are that they won’t make it this time around either.
There are some positive signs, though. The squad’s right flank has been doing well lately with players like Nelson Semedo, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Deulofeu being a commanding presence. The powerful strike force of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi is also firing on all cylinders.
A surprise surge: what about Sevilla?
As any follower of European football will know, it’s not just about Barcelona and Real Madrid. And while the odds suggest it’s very unlikely that Sevilla will surge ahead, stranger things have happened.
Sevilla are well known for turning the tables on competitors who think they’re going to cruise to victory. In the second to last game of this year’s group stage, Liverpool were 3-0 up against the Spanish side at half time – only for Sevilla to bounce back in equal measure after the break to end up drawing 3-3.
The side are also not strangers to European glory, they’re several times winners of the UEFA Europa League, even winning it three years straight from 2014. And while this track record may not be enough to guarantee a Champions League win for Sevilla, it just goes to show; you never quite know what’s round the next corner.
What are the odds saying?
As the competition goes on, the bookies certainly aren’t banking on a Spanish win. Manchester City are looking favourites at the moment, with odds of around 3/1 available for an outright win. Another possible contender is Bayern Munich, currently at 4/1, while French giants Paris Saint-Germain are enjoying odds of around 5/1.
The two major Spanish teams, meanwhile, come in fourth and fifth, with Barcelona garnering odds of around 7/1 and Real Madrid on 15/1. Sevilla, of course, languish much further down the chances list, with odds of around 100/1. That suggests things are not looking rosy for the Spanish sides – although, of course, there is still everything to play for.
While they give us a decent idea about how the bookies and fans across the market in general are feeling about the outcome of a game, odds are, of course, subject to change. To keep up to date with the odds, visit Stakers online to get the information you need and even place a bet on the games.
Ultimately, nothing is in the bag for any Champions League team just yet. And while it’s looking likely that Real Madrid and Barcelona may well find themselves struggling to get to the top of the tree, it’s certainly not out of the question.