UEFA Champions League Power Rankings Manchester City lead Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSG We’re back! And we are ready for a Champions League season unlike any other, available to watch in its entirety on Paramount. The group stages kick off in a matter of days; by the start of November they will be in the history books. By that time you might finally have made your way through our comprehensive power rankings, which assess each team’s likelihood of winning the tournament in its entirety. Here, then, is who we view as the runners and riders to win it all in Istanbul next year.
UEFA Champions League Rankings:
They may not have the trophies to show for it, but Pep Guardiola’s side have set the standard across the continent over the last few years and the early indications are that Erling Haaland’s introduction only adds to their quality, offering a more direct route to goal to combine with the subtlety of old. The only slight concern for them might be that this summer’s transfer business has left them one top tier player light in their frontline, but even that seems doubtful.
Further down the line a season of romping past what does not seem to be the stiffest of Bundesliga competition might leave them untested, but right now Julian Nagelsmann’s clutch of forwards seem to be hitting even greater heights in the free-flowing post-Robert Lewandowski era.
An injury-plagued midfield with several options who might be too old or too young to make telling contributions has nerves jangling on Merseyside, not least those of an unprotected Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The holders will be expecting the most serene of passages out of their group, which should offer Carlo Ancelotti an insight into how easily Aurelien Tchouameni can fill Casemiro’s boots. Indeed, without wishing to unecessarily insult three solid teams in Group F, Madrid could well use this competition to blood a few other talents while holding their star veterans Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Karim Benzema in reserve so that they remain fresh later in the year.
Serious contenders: If things go right, why not us?
It certainly is not beyond the realm of imagination that any of these teams could be lifting the European Cup in Istanbul come May, though it may require a few fortunate breaks for the tournament to go their way.
PSG will naturally view themselves as being in the top tier of contenders but this summer has brought something approximating a period of reflection for Europe’s most spend happy giant. Appointing Christophe Galtier and investing in younger talent from France and Portugal suggests a club willing to build slowly around Kylian Mbappe.
The season has not started swimmingly for Todd Boehly and Thomas Tuchel, still assembling their ship for 2022-23 long after it set sail. Then the question becomes whether Tuchel can rediscover the defensive alchemy of early in his reign; if so there is nothing that is beyond this team.
These teams are unlikely champions, but then so were Real Madrid at this time in 2021. It may take a change of circumstances, or a new tactical plan, or simply Karim Benzema having the season of his life, but it’s possible. It’s certainly not probable, but stranger things have happened.
They certainly go into Group E filled with players who have a point to prove. The group stage draw was cruel to them last year but has been altogether kinder this time out; it would be a shock indeed if they are not in the last 16.
They offered quite the stern test to Liverpool last season and in holding on to Milan Skriniar they profile to head into this year’s competition a stronger, more experienced group. Indeed put them in another group and they might just shoot up the rankings. The reality however is that they may have unwittingly found themselves in a straight knockout round against Barcelona already, one where Simone Inzaghi will hope his side’s years of experience together pays dividend.