Top 5 teams most likely to win the Champions League

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By Carlos Espinoza, Reporter

Let the beautiful game commence! Europe’s elite clubs are battling it out in the group stages of one of the most viewed sports competitions in the world. Many of these clubs look to be in peak form and will be wanting to acquire Europe’s most coveted trophy. Out of 32 teams, only 1 will be champion, and I’m here to narrow it down to the top 5 most likely teams to win this year’s Champions League.

Ajax players celebrate at the end of the Champions League group C soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Ajax Amsterdam in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Ajax won 3:1. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) (Photo by AP)

Coming in at number 5, I have Ajax Amsterdam. This team is shaking up Europe’s elite clubs and taking the cup for themselves. As Erik Ten Hag has made himself one of Europe’s most sought-after managers, Ajax’s squad is a force to reckoned with as the younger players steer the wheel. With the squad scoring 14 goals in 4 matches, only conceding 2 goals, they are at the top of their group. Ajax will try to push far in this competition. As we have seen before, they can hold out against the big boys in Europe. Could they replicate their success again this year, or will Europe’s elites be too much for them to handle?

Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring from the spot to give Liverpool a 3-2 lead. (Photo by Sky Sports)

Liverpool comes in fourth on my list, as they have already qualified for the round of 16, are first in the group – undefeated – and have, overall, played a very good brand of football.

Mo Salah looks to be the most-in-form player on the planet as of late. Salah is the highest goal scorer in the Premier League with 10 goals and is known for his good run of form in the league. With recent additions to the squad, such as defender Ibrahima Konaté, and with defender Virgil Van Djik coming back from an ACL injury, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds look to have a better season than last. They will chase after every trophy they can.

Lionel Messi scores his first goal with PSG. (Getty Images)

Messi, Neymar, Mbappe. That’s all I have to do to explain why Paris Saint Germaine (PSG) comes in on my list at number 3. Having already beaten a favorite, Manchester City once in the group stages (2-0), they look to be playing beautiful football with their attack, and getting far in the competition. Lionel Messi signed for the French club during the summer after being let go by FC Barcelona. Kylian Mbappe missed out on his transfer to Spanish giant Real Madrid, as well, which means PSG seems like a prime candidate to win this year’s Champions League. 

PSG has also reinforced other aspects of their team, such as the defense – with Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Ramos being new additions – on top of already having Marcos Aoás Corrêa (Marquinhos) and Presnel Kimpembe, both strong players. Their midfield also looks solid with the acquisition of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool, who joins Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye. Their squad looks to be very balanced, and is likely to go far in this competition. Could PSG run through everyone with their Galactico-esque squad? Or will Mauricio Pochettino have a hard time managing the huge egos on his team?

Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Muenchen celebrates after scoring his team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Champions League group E match between FC Bayern München and SL Benfica at Allianz Arena on November 2, 2021 in Munich. (Getty Images)

At number 2, I have the German Giants, the Bavarian Kings, and the nine-time Bundesliga winners coming in and winning the competition, taking the cup back to Germany. Byaern Munich recently won the 2020 Champions League by running through every single opponent they faced, even destroying the Barcelona in a 8-2 match. With club legend Robert Lewandoski leading the attack and slaying his opponents, alongside Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Kinglsey Coman. Byaern Munich’s midfield supplies the attack with Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich serving as the work horses and engines. Defense also looks to be very solid with fullback Alphonso Davies becoming one of Europe’s best young fullbacks. This squad may not have the brightest stars in each position, but the way the team works as one makes Byaern Munich look like a perfect engine. Plus, Bayern Munich has won the trophy 6 times in their past: the Champions League runs through their blood and is in the club’s DNA.

Manchester City players celebrate Joao Cancelo’s goal. (PA)

The Champions of England, Manchester City, come in at number one to win this year’s Champions League. Ever since Pep Guardiola came in as manager in 2016, he has solidified the team as an annual top contender, and this year is no different. The squad will be hungry to win the club’s first ever Champions League trophy after last season’s final defeat to Chelsea. Manchester City looks to be in form – like they always have been. They may not have a dedicated striker to bang in goals, but the fluent and attacking football that Guardiola has implemented on the field more than makes up for a lack of striker. Almost every other player has stepped up and put one in the back of the net here and there.

Every position in the squad has world class players. The midfield, led by Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, has been setting up attacks and serving as the main engine. The defense, led by newly-signed player Ruben Dias, has been amazing ever since his arrival. When partnered with John Stones, along with fullbacks Kyle Walker and Joao Cancelo, who have pinned opponents’ wingers and advanced the play as only Manchester City can, the team is nearly unstoppable. The team sits second in the Premier League, and is in top form recently. I can see them going to the final and cinching their first-ever Champions League trophy, bringing it back to the blue side of Manchester.