We’re down to our last 8 teams, which means it’s a good of a time as any to give our thoughts on the chance any one of them might become European champions, with the regular names of perennial favorites like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich are joined by PSG, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
While individual strength alone is usually good enough to form a ranking, we’ve also taken into account the rivals each team has to face in the quarterfinals, obviously affecting, at least from the preview look, their chances of going all the way.
Number 1 – Real Madrid
They might not be winning the La Liga, and they didn’t have the perfect group stage, but Real Madrid got a mostly comfortable draw for the quarterfinals, unlike other powerhouses still in the competition. They needed for Manchester United to drop down to 10 men in order to completely take over and win the second leg, although it seemed to be going their direction even before the sending off. Cristiano Ronaldo is in incredible form, and the fact that they’re booming with confidence after beating Barcelona twice, not to mention being completely free of pressures in the league because it’s going to be second or third means that at this moment, they are in the best situation to win the title.
Number 2 – Borussia Dortmund
Another team that isn’t too bothered with a title race because they’re too far behind. Dortmund, this season, are a team for special missions, focusing on the Champions League after already showing they can match Bayern’s long-term dominance in the league. Despite not beating the Bavarian side in their three meetings (Cup, Super Cup, League), they’re undefeated in the Champions League with quite a few astounding footballing displays, especially on home soil, although this is one of the few teams that can dominate home & away regardless of the opposition. They’re hungry, they’re completely focused and they have the second best draw in the QF to push through.
Number 3 – FC Barcelona
Barcelona got an unfavorable draw compared with their big rivals, but they’re still the clear favorites to make it into the semifinals, despite all the money, Beckham and Zlatan on the other side of the pitch. The second leg against AC Milan breathed new life into the ongoing legend of this team, and especially the abilities and myth surrounding Lionel Messi. When this team plays their best football, which has happened less and less in big games over the last couple of years, they’re still the most unstoppable force of nature in the sport.
Number 4 – Bayern Munich
Like Barcelona, Bayern have the title all sewn up and ready to deliver to their fans – they just need official confirmation. In the champions league, their favorite label went from number one to number 4 after both losing 2-0 at home to Arsenal in quite a panicky match that turned out to be a lot more complicated and stressful than anyone thought it would, while getting Juventus in the quarterfinals wasn’t quite the best draw they were hoping for. Bayern are the more talented side, but still, Juve have proven that this season, they’re back among the elite teams in Europe, only missing a striker so they’ll be a name everyone utters next to Bayern, Real and Barcelona.
Number 5 – Juventus FC
Not as impressive with their attacking football, and nothing seems to be finding the solution to their striker problem, but few teams have the kind of midfield trio Juventus possess, not to mention a defense that on good days can be the most frustrating on the continent. Their lack of attacking tools up front might be troublesome against an excellent Bayern side, but Juventus are possibly one of only two teams that can match the quality of Bayern’s midfield, which might be enough to tip the scales in their matches.
Number 6 – PSG
The video did show that they weren’t too pleased, a bit shocked probably, to get Barcelona in the draw. No one, except for Real Madrid, wishes to play Barcelona. And yet PSG have proven that their transformation from regular French club to European power thanks to Gulf money is going quite well with solid displays in the Champions League, turning into an Italian team in Paris, and as we all know, Barcelona aren’t that comfortable against Italian teams.
Number 7 – Malaga
At some point, this fun ride has to end. Malaga have great atmosphere at their home stadium, but will struggle on their away trip to Dortmund, seeing as they barely left their own half in the minimal 1-0 loss against Porto. Isco is a wonderful player, and Manuel Pellegrini is one of the best coaches in Europe, but unless some heroic performances from Caballero are what we have in store for us in the near future, it’s hard to see them making it through.
Number 8 – Galatasaray
While playing in Turkey against Galatasaray isn’t the most pleasant ordeal in the world, the Turkish champions and league leaders usually play better away from home. That rule can only go so far, as Real Madrid, completely focused on winning their 10th Champions Cup trophy in the form of their fourth Champions League title, are going to be too much for the upgraded side to handle.