Champions League winner: City favourites to take Chelsea's crown

Champions League winner: City favourites to take Chelsea’s crown

Chelsea will have a tricky battle to successfully defend their Champions League crown during the 2021-22 campaign.

Thomas Tuchel’s side edged out Premier League rivals Manchester City in Porto thanks to Kai Havertz’s first-half goal to secure their second Champions League trophy in nine years.

Despite defeat, City begin the season as tournament favourites as we look at the leading contenders in bwin’s Champions League winner predictions.

Manchester City @ 7/2

Pep Guardiola guided City to their first European final in 51 years last season but could not get over the line in Portugal.

It spoiled their bid for a trophy treble after winning the Carabao Cup and Premier League title and it will be interesting to see how they approach this season tactically.

They enjoyed success with a false nine system but with talisman Sergio Aguero leaving the club, will they invest in a striker?

They have been linked with Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland and if they were to bring in one of these world-class strikers, it would be hard to look past City in the Champions League winner odds.

Bayern Munich @ 6/1

The six-time European champions are under the tutelage of rising manager Julian Nagelsmann, who has had successful spells in charge of Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

He guided the latter to the semi-finals in 2020, the year in which Bayern lifted their most recent Champions League title.

With Nagelsmann’s attacking brand of football and the quality squad they already possess, plus Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano also making the switch to the Allianz Arena, they are rightly one of the Champions League favourites.

Paris St Germain @ 6/1

The French side reached their maiden Champions League final in 2020 in the defeat to Bayern but they have already strengthened their squad with proven winners this summer.

Sergio Ramos, who has won the competition four times with Real Madrid, has signed a two-year deal with the Parisians, while 2019 Champions League winner Georginio Wijnaldum has also joined from Liverpool on a free transfer.

Big-money signing Achraf Hakimi from Inter and the rumoured signing of Euro 2020 player of the tournament Gianluigi Donnarumma shows PSG’s ambition to taste success on all fronts this season.

Liverpool @ 9/1

Liverpool exited at the quarter-final stage of the tournament in the last campaign but they will be stronger with the return of central defenders Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Both players were ruled out for the campaign with serious knee injuries in October, which derailed their Premier League title defence.

They have strengthened with the signing of Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate but will need to replace Wijnaldum in midfield to improve their chances of landing a seventh European Cup.

Chelsea @ 9/1

The Blues could be the dark horses once again even if they decide not to invest in their playing squad this summer.

Timo Werner and Havertz had mixed first seasons in England but could improve under compatriot Tuchel, who solidified Chelsea’s defence with a possession-based style of football which was obviously successful last season.

Barcelona @ 12/1

Barcelona are in financial peril as their debts continue to pile up, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Lionel Messi, technically a free agent, is in talks over a new deal but is not guaranteed to stay while Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia have agreed moves to the Catalan club but are reportedly blocked by La Liga due to their crippling debts.

Ronald Koeman came under fire last season and could be in trouble if these additions do not pay off.

Manchester United @ 12/1

The Red Devils slipped into the Europa League after finishing third in the group stage last season and lost in the final on penalties to Villarreal.

They have made a statement signing in England forward Jadon Sancho and will hope for a better campaign if they can get even more out of Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba.

Real Madrid @ 14/1

Like Barca, Real are struggling with their finances but it looks as though they will keep hold of their star players.

Eden Hazard has struggled since joining from Chelsea and the loss of Ramos leaves them with a huge void to fill.

They have won this competition more than any other club though so they cannot be ruled out, especially with the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema still knocking around.

Juventus @ 16/1

Perennial winner Cristiano Ronaldo continues to lead the line for Juventus but they have gone back to former boss Massimiliano Allegri for this season after axing Andrea Pirlo.

Allegri led Juve to five straight Serie A titles, four Coppa Italia victories and two Champions League final appearances during his first spell and the Old Lady will be dark horses after several of their players helped Italy win the European Championship this summer.

Atletico Madrid @ 22/1

Another outside shot is Atletico Madrid, who pipped Barca and Real to La Liga title last year.

Rojiblancos have a meticulous approach under Diego Simeone and can frustrate any of Europe’s leading teams on their day but also have the firepower with Luis Suarez leading the attack.

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