Champions League 2020-21: Who can be kings of Europe? Our consultants’ predictions

Champions League 2020-21: Who can be kings of Europe? Our consultants’ predictions

Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Zinedine Zidane and Mohamed Salah
Bayern Munich wish to retain the trophy for the primary time since they gained three consecutive European Cups between 1973-74 and 1975-76

Fifty eight days after Bayern Munich lifted the trophy in Lisbon, the Champions League is again.

Final season’s disrupted competitors ended with an unlikely ultimate 4 of Bayern, Paris St-Germain, Lyon and RB Leipzig.

So who will triumph this time? And who would be the shock packages? We requested our European soccer writers to make their predictions.

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Andy West, Spanish soccer author

What are the prospects for the Spanish sides?

Sergio Ramos in action for Real Madrid
Actual Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has gained the Champions League 4 instances

Actual Madrid are, in fact, at all times harmful on this competitors and can have added motivation after failing badly prior to now couple of years with consecutive last-16 exits.

Barcelona have began the season brightly however realistically the squad is just too shallow and blighted by too many flaws for them to be thought-about among the many favourites.

Atletico Madrid, although, may go a good distance: they are going to be sturdy on the again as at all times, and if the brand new strike pairing of Luis Suarez and Joao Felix fulfils its potential they will be arduous to cease.

And Sevilla? Underestimate them at your peril.

Who’s your tip to win the Champions League and why?

Proper now it is arduous to look previous Bayern Munich, contemplating how superior they have been to each different crew on the finish of final season.

However profitable the competitors two years in a row is notoriously tough, and I’ve a sense we’ll see a really sturdy problem from the crew who traditionally prefer to consider they personal this competitors: Actual Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane can name upon real world-class high quality all through the squad and has loads of match-winning choices in assault, particularly if Eden Hazard can get match, keep match and begin to present his true capacity. So I will take Actual Madrid.

Which crew may very well be the shock package deal?

Sevilla have made the Europa League their very own, profitable it 4 instances since 2014. And below the management of canny coach Julen Lopetegui, they appear able to step as much as the Champions League. The Andalusians haven’t got the standard in assault to be potential winners, however they may go deep into the knockout phases.

Constantin Eckner, German soccer author

What are the prospects for the German sides?

Bayern celebrate winning the Champions League
Bayern Munich gained a sixth Champions League/European Cup title final season, their first in seven years

Bayern Munich addressed the problems concerning their squad late within the switch window and stay among the many strongest groups in Europe. They’re able to defending the title, however it’s extra seemingly we’ll see a slight drop in efficiency this season.

Borussia Dortmund ought to win their group and attain a minimum of the quarter-finals in the event that they handle to maintain the defence wholesome.

RB Leipzig may battle Manchester United for second spot in Group H. Even with out Timo Werner, final season’s semi-finalists are powerful to beat due to Julian Nagelsmann’s analytical thoughts and a squad stuffed with extremely athletic gamers.

Borussia Monchengladbach ought to see their participation on this 12 months’s competitors as an opportunity to study and develop.

Who’s your tip to win the Champions League and why?

I do not see a clear-cut favorite this 12 months, as the 2 earlier winners must take care of some points which may hinder them from profitable it once more.

So my cash is on Actual Madrid. They’re the overall package deal with a mixture of veteran gamers and rising stars, and an skilled coach on the sidelines.

Federico Valverde, Martin Odegaard and Vinícius Júnior signify the brand new era, whereas Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos have sufficient left within the tank to get yet another Champions League trophy.

Zidane won’t be the tactical genius that a few of his friends are, however he is aware of learn how to handle a decent schedule and information a crew by way of the obstacles of a knockout stage.

Which crew may very well be the shock package deal?

Borussia Dortmund have the uncooked expertise to be the darkish horse on this 12 months’s Champions League. They’re able to beat any crew on this planet on a very good day and can solely get higher, as most of their key gamers are pretty younger.

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport’s chief soccer author

What are the prospects for the English sides?

Pep Guardiola reacts on the touchline
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis have been knocked out of final season’s Champions League within the quarter-finals by Lyon

Liverpool, with their previous file of success, are England’s greatest prospect to win the Champions League. Manchester Metropolis have the expertise however there’s something about this competitors that at all times appears to journey them up. Is it lack of perception? Is it Pep Guardiola’s tactical errors?

I can see Chelsea making it out of a bunch that’s comparatively type however of their present type and situation I don’t see Manchester United getting anyplace close to the knockout stage when confronted with the likes of PSG and RB Leipzig. Issues can change in that point for United, however they must change lots.

Who’s your tip to win the Champions League and why?

At this stage I might say my two favourites could be Liverpool and the holders Bayern Munich.

Liverpool nonetheless look so sturdy, though they didn’t get previous the final 16 final season once they went out to Atletico Madrid, however now in fact they’ve Thiago Alcantara, such a key determine in Bayern’s triumphs.

The standard suspects resembling PSG, Barcelona and Actual Madrid can be concerned however I’ll go for a straight battle between Liverpool and Bayern – with Liverpool my tip.

Which crew may very well be the shock package deal?

Arduous to see anybody popping out of the standard pack however Atletico Madrid, below the inspirational management of Diego Simeone, are at all times a risk, as Liverpool discovered to their price final season.

Atletico have had so many close to misses with the Champions League however they’ve added to their squad with Luis Suarez and no-one will wish to draw them.

The opposite chance? Sevilla – they confirmed as soon as once more what European specialists they’re by profitable the Europa League.

Ian Holyman, Ligue 1 podcast producer

What are the prospects for the French sides?

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe watch on during a Ligue 1 game
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe went near profitable the Champions League for Paris St-Germain however they have been overwhelmed in final season’s ultimate by Bayern Munich

It is hardly sticking my neck out to recommend PSG will problem strongly once more.

Sure, they’ve misplaced Thiago Silva, however with Marquinhos changing him in central defence and as captain, and Danilo Pereira’s arrival in midfield, Thomas Tuchel’s males are stronger and higher balanced.

Andre Villas-Boas labored a miracle to get Marseille again into the competitors for the primary time since 2013-14, however even with Florian Thauvin match once more, the squad appears skinny – a useful draw may see them sneak into the knockout phases although.

Group-stage debutants Rennes will certainly battle with the step up in school, and grabbing third place could be successful.

Who’s your tip to win the Champions League and why?

Are you able to look past Bayern Munich? The Champions League is a notoriously fiendish title to defend, however the 2019-20 winners’ success in Lisbon in the summertime will encourage, not sate, them. They haven’t stood nonetheless since both: Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting (do not snicker!) is nice back-up to Robert Lewandowski, and although Thiago has left, Bayern already had an improve in Joshua Kimmich.

Their veterans, Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, loved one in every of their greatest seasons final time period, and younger abilities resembling Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane will solely maintain enhancing.

Hansi Flick’s males will once more be the crew to beat.

Which crew may very well be the shock package deal?

They have been drawn within the hardest part of all, however Istanbul Basaksehir can be no meek victims of Group H. The Turkish champions – that already says one thing about their high quality – have former Manchester United defender Rafael and ex-Liverpool man Martin Skrtel on the again, whereas ex-West Ham United, Newcastle United and Chelsea ahead Demba Ba is up entrance.

Daniele Verri, Italian soccer journalist

What are the prospects for the Italian sides?

Andrea Pirlo and Cristiano Ronaldo at a training session
Juventus supervisor Andrea Pirlo gained the Champions League twice as a participant with AC Milan however has but to carry the trophy with the Turin membership

It’s tough to think about an Italian membership profitable the Champions League.

You possibly can’t rule out a crew fielding Cristiano Ronaldo however Juventus have a younger supervisor in Andrea Pirlo, are within the means of rejuvenating their squad and lack high quality in midfield. Their quest to finish a 24-year wait will proceed.

Inter proved their price as they reached the ultimate of final season’s Europa League and have since signed Achraf Hakimi and Arturo Vidal. Their focus can be on the league title although, one thing Antonio Conte sees as a essential step to type a profitable mentality.

Lazio don’t have the depth to battle on the home and European stage and can battle to maintain up on each.

Who’s your tip to win the Champions League and why?

Not even the Oracle of Delphi can predict in October who’s to win the Champions League in Might! Kind, accidents and Covid-19 will all play a task. Will there be one other lockdown? Who’s going to be the fittest when it actually involves it?

In my view, the eventual winner will come from England. Spanish golf equipment have not invested sufficient, a second win for Bayern appears unrealistic and Italian golf equipment lack that further little bit of high quality.

Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis, so long as Sergio Aguero recovers and Ruben Dias proves able to filling Vincent Kompany’s boots, are my favourites, with PSG their principal hazard.

Which crew may very well be the shock package deal?

Atalanta already reached the quarter-finals of their maiden Champions League marketing campaign and will do even higher.

The Nerazzurri have gathered European expertise prior to now few years and this can be Gian Piero Gasperini’s fifth season in Bergamo. His crew play with coronary heart and are a pleasure to observe. If Josip Ilicic reaches prime type they are going to be a risk to anybody.

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