The 2020/21 UEFA Champions League was decided between Chelsea and Manchester City as the London side edged the first-time finalists in a commanding 1-0 display. That victorious night in Porto would have surprised many at the start of the season, but that expensively assembled squad proved itself on Europe’s biggest stage.
The new season brings its usual air of optimism and a clean slate to create new memories. Once again, the 2021/22 Champions League season kicks off soon with the qualifying rounds. It might be a new season the regular names remain the top contenders come the end of the season.
While the Champions League has been won by 22 clubs with just 13 having won it more than once, only a handful of teams have a realistic chance of winning the trophy every year. The prestigious sides alongside the budding superpowers hoping to win their first UCL title always make up a mix of Champions League candidates.
Having considered accurate statistics and trends for UEFA Champions League games found at the website overlyzer.com, we have put together a list of the favourites for the Champions League crown in the upcoming 2021/22 season.
Last season’s finalists will aim to quickly return to the showpiece after getting the disappointment of the club’s first Champions League Final out of their system. Pep Guardiola’s men are favourites at the start of every UCL season and 2021/22 will be no different.
The Cityzens are brimming with quality which could be bolstered by the addition of Harry Kane and Jack Grealish before the season starts. They got painfully close to hoisting the trophy with big ears with a False Nine system and the quality of two of England’s biggest attacking talents could see them over the line.
The Premier League Champions founded their exhilarating Champions League run on a solid defensive base marked by the arrival of Rúben Dias, which bodes well for the future. Guardiola would be keen to galvanize his players to dust themselves down and go again this season.
Having maintained a treble hunt for most of last season, the Etihad side would be laser focused on ruling Europe this time.
For all of Guardiola’s dominance in English football with Manchester City, the Champions League is the ‘holy grail’ that has eluded him. In fact, it would seem like that was the major reason he was brought in there as other City coaches before him also won Premier Leagues and other domestic titles as well.
Guardiola has so far indicated he is not leaving City just ‘yet’ and who knows if his final aim at the club is to get his hands on club competition’s most coveted price.
Paris Saint Germain
The Parisiens have been building towards European triumph for almost a decade and can count on some valuable experience going into the new season.
Having reached the club’s first UCL Final in 2020, PSG romped to the semifinals after defeating Barcelona and Bayern Munich albeit with a depleted squad, they failed to get past City but would fancy their chances this season.
Besides their near-misses in the last two seasons, the playing squad has been supplemented with world class talent and European pedigree; Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum. Mauricio Pochettino would be hoping quality depth will be enough to see them through much like it did defending champions Chelsea.
The Argentine manager has unfinished business himself in Europe’s top competition after coming short in the 2019 Final against a superior Liverpool side.
With Neymar’s future sorted and Kylian Mbappé likely to stay for at least one more season, the PSG hierarchy are desperate for Pochettino to lead them beyond the finish line.
Similar to Manchester City, the Champions League is also the one title that has eluded the giants despite their dominance of French football over the past decade. They’ll be hoping a new added breath of experience and quality can perhaps power them over the line this time around.
Indeed, there is no doubting the crucial UCL-winning experience and supreme ability present in the current PSG squad. Their biggest obstacle next season appears to be PSG themselves.
The 2019 Champions will be motivated and wide-eyed after an injury-derailed season prompted a trophyless campaign that was yet compensated by qualification to Europe’s premier competition.
Jürgen Klopp would be delighted by the return of central defensive stalwarts Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joël Matip as well as the recruitment of Ibrahima Konaté. Liverpool are expected to make a prompt return to the race for Premier League and Champions League glory.
Needless to say, the return of the Anfield crowd should also galvanize the players further and what better way to mark a return to normality since the pandemic than a seventh European crown.
Indeed, their famous frontmen remain, and Mo Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota are well capable of supplying Liverpool’s firepower.
The Blues enjoyed a spectacular run to their second Champions League title last season, having undergone a revolution after Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January.
Chelsea are desperate to strengthen their squad with a world class finisher in the mould of Erling Haaland, a move which would make them heavy contenders in all competitions. Indeed, their 2020/21 season was highlighted by the lack of a prolific frontman and despite winning it in Porto in May, Tuchel will be confident of another sensational campaign.
The German tactician became the first manager to lead different teams to consecutive finals thanks to how he quickly implemented his methods on a ridiculously talented squad. Full preparation for the upcoming season as well as key squad adjustments would see Chelsea amongst the front runners for the Champions League.
The command with which they navigated last season’s knockout ties will have Europe’s best wary of facing Chelsea.
Their adaptability, experience and incredible depth coupled with Thomas Tuchel’s technical capacity bodes well for the West-London outfit.
The Bavarians’ supremacy in their 2020 campaign rocked Europe to its core and they have rebuilt adequately for the new season.
Hansi Flick has been replaced by the finest young manager in Germany and Julian Naglesmann would be stepping into the job hoping to recreate his predecessor’s heroics. The 33-year-old will call upon his RB Leipzig defensive pillar in Dayot Upamecano who should hit the ground running at the Allianz Arena.
The Bayern squad could arguably win the Bundesliga without a tactician, having won the last 9 domestic titles. However, their new boss who led Leipzig to the Champions League last four for the first time is also the youngest manager to reach the Semifinals.
Last season, they were favorites to retain their Champions League crown but an injury to Lewandowski in the semis more or less derailed their plans. Many argued it would be different if the star Polish forward was available.
For the upcoming season, the prolific Robert Lewandowski will continue to lead the line and the club’s fortunes while his world class teammates make a claim for modern day domination.
While a 10th consecutive German top flight title would be a unique achievement due to the mere fact it was under different managers, the title of Europe’s best would be just as enjoyable.