UEFA Champions League power ranking: Paris Saint-Germain slide continues, Manchester City regains first place
The Champions League group stage ends next week on Paramount +. With 11 places in the round of 16 already acquired, here is how the great powers of European football currently rank:
The upper level: Title or bust
These teams should be disappointed with nothing less than a semi-final berth and frankly even that might not be enough, such is their talent profile.
1. Manchester City (+1)
Take your pick from the top four as the most likely Champions League winner. On the right day, each of these teams seem able to rule out the 28 others on the pitch, as City did at PSG. Although the margin of victory on the pitch may have been tight, Pep Guardiola’s men were once again the dominant team; In two encounters with an alleged rival for the crown, they scored 4.03 expected goals (xG) while allowing just 1.5.
2. Bayern Munich (-1)
Their drop in the rankings is not indicative of a failure on their part, although it might be fair to wonder how often Julian Nagelsmann’s side were really tested in what turned out. being a weak group in the Champions League. Sunday’s clash with Borussia Dortmund strength offer a closer look at their qualities after three games in which they failed to concede the same towering scores they did a few weeks ago.
3. Liverpool (-)
Perhaps the most devastating attack in Europe right now, each of Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and of course Mohamed Salah appear to be in devastating form when they step onto the pitch. Most alluring of all, however, could be Thiago’s long-awaited blooming in recent weeks. The defense is giving up more dangerous shots than other Premier League superpowers, but it looks like a team that will more than make up for it at the other end.
4. Chelsea (+1)
There are those games where Chelsea create all the chances in the world but never look like a goal, but Thomas Tuchel’s side are now at the stage where they amass an unusually high volume of xG – over 2.5 per game. in each of his last eight games – without giving up a lot of opportunities at the other end. Their crush of Juventus has been as complete a performance as the Champions League this season.
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Serious competitors: if things are going well, why not us?
It is certainly not beyond the realm of the imagination that any of these teams could win the European Cup in Istanbul in May, although it may require a few happy breaks for the tournament to unfold as it does. must.
5. Ajax (-1)
As detailed last week, it was no less impressive to see a weakened Ajax side defeat Besiktas in a brutal way than it had seen them crush any other opposition in their path. Sébastien Haller continues to stun the skeptics while Dusan Tadic leads the Champions League in created chances.
Black horses: unlikely suitors, but suitors all the same
These teams are unlikely champions, but Chelsea were too this time around a year ago. It may take a change of circumstances like that of the Blues when they appointed Thomas Tuchel, perhaps a new signing or the unveiling of a new tactical plan. It is possible, but certainly not likely.
6. Real Madrid (+1)
On a six-game winning streak, Madrid had two hugely impressive results last week, negotiating what could have been a tough trip to Moldova in an assertive fashion before coming back from behind to beat Sevilla and open a big La Liga gap. Their defense still struggles to keep their sheets clean, but with Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in the form they are currently in, it might not matter.
7. Paris Saint-Germain (-1)
While the cumulative scores may suggest otherwise, the reality is that PSG played two games against a potential rivals to win the Champions League and looked inferior in both. Almost a year later, Mauricio Pochettino’s energetic style hasn’t clicked and it’s hard to see him doing it with three passengers off the ball at the top of the pitch. Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could still win a few games for this team in the round of 16, but Jamie Carragher was right to suggest the title was beyond this team for now.
In the last 16
They might not be ready to win the tournament, but they’ll definitely be in the knockout stage next year.
8. Inter Milan (+1)
On the continent and in Serie A, Inter seem to have just taken a new step in recent weeks. Their 3-2 victory over Napoli was a real boost to their title hopes as the composure with which they crushed Shakhtar Donetsk proved that this side would not be a repeat of Antonio Conte’s sides in phase. of groups. Until the round of 16, no one will appreciate a tie that will pit them against a solid defense on one side and the Lautaro Martinez-Edin Dzeko tandem on the other.
9. Manchester United (+1)
They are of course up to the last 16 which helps, but any optimism one might have about United’s chances in the new year surely hinges on the projection of where a Ralf Rangnick side might be. to be about two months after his project. Right now they look a long way from a game for the top teams and have won a lucky draw with Chelsea. Still, with the right man in the dugout, they could be a more serious challenger in the New Year.
10. Sportsman (+8)
Their first wobbles have instead erased their Champions League notebook, but since a 1-0 defeat at Dortmund on September 28, all of Sporting have only won … and quite convincingly. Their zenith so far has been the exceptional 3-1 victory over BVB in Lisbon which earned them a place in the round of 16, a game that will certainly bolster Pedro Gonçalves’ reputation.
11. Juventus (-3)
Increasingly, the six-game winning streak in September and October feels like an odd coincidence for a team playing like they are now: a mid-range Serie A side. Admittedly, they were a long way from a game for Chelsea: overtaken in midfield, devoid of any important focal point in attack. Injuries don’t help Massimiliano Allegri’s side, but it’s not what Juventus expect.
The contenders for the knockout stage
Before the final round of matches, these teams can still qualify for the last 16.
12. Lille (+8)
Apparently out of nowhere, the Ligue 1 champions have tipped Group G in their favor. Only Chelsea have conceded fewer goals than Lille in the group stage as they have the fifth best opponent xG. On the other hand, Jonathan David asserts himself as a great star coveted by a multitude of the best European teams. A point in Wolfsburg – no certainty, but certainly in their power – and Lille is over.
13. Porto (+2)
14. Benfica (+6)
15. Villarréal (-1)
16. Red Bull Salzburg (-5)
The rise of Lille was accompanied by the rapid collapse of Red Bull Salzburg, who could have qualified on Matchday 4 but lost their last two games. The question hanging over the youth of Matthias Jassle, so dominant in the Austrian game, is whether they are seasoned enough to run the last few meters of the Champions League. The visit of seasoned European operators to Seville should tell us.
17. Atlético Madrid (-1)
18. Seville (+3)
19. Atalanta (-)
20. Wolfsburg (-3)
21. Barcelona (-8)
It’s a testament to the state of the Spanish game at the moment that all of Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla find themselves at the top of Europe’s biggest tournament after the fact.
22. AC Milan (+4)
In Barcelona and AC Milan we have two traditional powers that have given a really good blow, but it looks like they will fail against the teams that usurped them at the top of European football. After their draw with Benfica, Barcelona have to beat Bayern Munich. This will be sufficient regardless of the results elsewhere, although it is easier said than done. Milan, meanwhile, must beat Liverpool and hope that Atletico Madrid and Porto face off against each other to find themselves deadlocked. Stefano Pioli’s side have proven throughout this competition that they can test any top team, but the friction of the green just hasn’t been with them.
Europa League at destination
These teams will have European football next year but it will be in the second tier.
23. Borussia Dortmund (-11)
24. Sheriff Tiraspol (-3)
25. Zenith (-)
In the race of the Europa League
These teams cannot mathematically qualify for the knockout stages, but they can reach the Europa League.
26. RB Leipzig (+4)
27. Club Brugge (-4)
The key calculation in determining which team could get third in Group A may well be which of their opponents has the most horses on Matchday 6. PSG and City both know where they will end up, but the former always feel like they have something to prove in their performance; it just seems more plausible that Leipzig will get something at home for the Citizens than that Club Brugge can win in Paris.
28. Young boys (-4)
These teams are guaranteed to finish last in their group and have been completely eliminated from European competition.
29. Dynamo Kiev (-1)
30. Shakhtar Donetsk (-3)
31. Besiktas (-)
32. Malmö (-)