The most condensed Group Stage in the history of Champions League concluded on Wednesday, when the last fixtures from Matchday 6 were contested across the continent on another evening of thrilling European football.
In the final shake-up, the Champions League waved goodbye to some household names, and with their reputation tarnished, three former winners, Ajax, Inter Milan and Manchester United were eliminated from the tournament at the first time of asking.
When the running order of the groups was established, we discovered that FST had correctly predicted the identity of all eight group winners – and you can read more about our success along with our huge 57/1 Champions League acca win here.
Below, we’ve taken an early look at the some of successful group campaign contenders best equipped to push favourites Bayern Munich in the Champions League outright winner stakes.
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Champions League winner odds
- Bayern Munich – 11/4
- Manchester City – 4/1
- Liverpool – 6/1
- PSG – 9/1
- Chelsea – 12/1
- Juventus – 14/1
- Real Madrid – 14/1
- Barcelona – 16/1
- Atletico Madrid – 16/1
- Borussia Dortmund – 20/1
- RB Leipzig – 28/1
- Atalanta – 33/1
- Sevilla – 40/1
- Lazio – 80/1
- Borussia Monchengladbach – 100/1
- FC Porto – 150/1
FST’s Pick – Bayern Munich
Hansi Flick’s Bavarian juggernaut breezed through what had initially looked a potentially tricky Group A field, that included Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, Austrian dark horses RB Salzburg and Russian outfit Lokomotiv Moscow.
The defending champions Bayern Munich sailed through the Group in typically explosive style, taking 16 points from a possible 18 while scoring more goals (18) than any other team in the tournament’s opening phase.
Bayern’s 4-0 Matchday 1 battering of Atletico Madrid in Munich set the tone for their performances, and with quality to burn in every department, and a less taxing domestic schedule than some of their European rivals, Die Roten are the team to beat again.
Liverpool looked comfortable without every really impressing on their way to topping Group D ahead of Atalanta, Ajax and Midtjylland, though some of the Reds’ lacklustre displays could easily be explained away by a major injury crisis.
Jurgen Klopp’s players are starting to return however, and some of the Premier League champions recent domestic showings hint that Liverpool are starting to scratch at their massive potential again.
The 2019/20 Champions League winners have a team built perfectly for double-legged knockout football, and with key defender Virgil van Dijk on course to return from an injury lay-off a little earlier than anticipated, the Reds could be looking very strong by the time the final rounds of the competition roll around.
Somewhat surprisingly, Manchester City are a shorter price than their Premier League rivals Liverpool to lift the Champions League trophy this term, though the vast improvements in the Citizens’ defending this term could hand them the edge in the race for continental silverware.
Manchester City danced through Group C with ruthless efficiency, winning five and drawing one of their six group matches to top the charts with 16 points, and remarkably, Pep Guardiola’s side conceded just a single goal during their campaign – a defensive record that no other team came close to matching.
While City’s attacking play has looked a little less expansive this season, the refining of their defensive shape and discipline could make them a more dangerous prospect when the going gets really tough in the Champions League.
Paris St. Germain
Last season’s beaten finalists PSG took the scenic route to top spot in Group H after the Parisians recovered from defeats in two of their opening three matches to win the section ahead of RB Leipzig, Manchester United and Istanbul Basaksehir.
Thomas Tuchel has been trying to replace ego with energy and endeavour in Paris, and last season’s showing in the Champions League hinted that the big-spending Ligue 1 giants are capable of landing the trophy they crave the most.
With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in tow, PSG have a match-defining duo capable of winning any game, and with a star-studded supporting cast behind them, Paris St. Germain look ready to match last season’s run.
Dark horses: Juventus
Juventus’ excellent 3-0 triumph at Barcelona on Matchday 6 allowed the Old Lady to steal top spot in Group G away from their hosts at the death on Wednesday evening, and their performance at Camp Nou against one of the Champions League’s most successful sides felt like a statement one.
Juve’s squad is a cocktail of quality, experience and stardust that should prove a potent combination in Europe this season, and having won 11 of their last 13 matches in the competition, the Serie A champs have already have a taste for victory on the continent.
From Matthijs de Ligt to Dejan Kulusevski and Paulo Dybala to Federico Chiesa, Juve high-calibre players at different and exciting stages of their development, though veteran Cristiano Ronaldo remains the jewel in their crown.
The 35-year has already scored 12 goals in 10 appearances this season, and his brace against Barca in mid-week showed that his ability to perform on the biggest stage hasn’t diminished.
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