Who will win the Champions League?
An inside look into the favourites for this year's Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is revered as the most prestigious tournament in European football. Millions around the globe tune in every season to watch the best clubs from Europe’s domestic leagues compete to be the continent’s crowning champions. As the enthralling tournament is entering its quarter-final stage, eight clubs have fought their way through an exciting round of 16 and are a step closer to the throne. We will focus a little more in-depth on the top two clubs that are expected to achieve football glory. 

Manchester City

The defending champions, Manchester City, are the favourites to win the tournament again. Since the crown prince of Abu Dhabi took financial ownership of the team in 2008, Manchester City has been a dominant force in the premier league. However, they did not have as much luck in the Champions League. They’ve only reached the final once, in the 2020-21 season, losing to English rivals Chelsea. However, with more than a billion British pounds invested from the Oil Gulf state and the appointment of legendary manager Pep Guardiola, they finally lifted the trophy after beating Inter Milan in the finals last year. After comfortably beating Danish club FC Copenhagen on a 6-2 aggregate score in the Round of 16, they are looking to stomp the next club in the quarterfinals as they set their sights on the trophy. 

Manchester City is a possession-dominant team. They suffocate their opponents by keeping possession and fluidly passing the ball to one another until they find an opportunity to launch devastating attacks. They’re a star-studded team with world-class players such as their central striker Erling Haaland, midfield creator Kevin De Bruyne, and rapid defender Kyle Walker. When out of possession, each player presses their man until they force their opponent to lose the ball, leading the team to inflict a lethal counterattack. 

Real Madrid 

Dubbed the “Kings of Europe,” Real Madrid is considered the most prestigious club in the Champions League, as they have won 14 times—more than any other team. Having qualified for the competition every year, the Madrid team both have the experience of veteran players who have repeatedly won the contest and young players who are eager to show their worth on the team. Even though the squad is considerably weaker than in previous years, due to the exit of their recent Ballon D’or recipient Karim Benzema and injuries sidelining their first-choice keeper and their defensive backline, they are still comfortably sitting on top of the La Liga Table and have dismantled their Ro16 opponent RB Leipzig

Unlike Manchester City, Madrid relies more on individual brilliance than on strict tactical instructions. When you watch them play, you don’t see a sense of “playstyle;” instead, they adapt to their opponent’s playstyle. When the opponent plays more defensively, they maintain possession with the help of their world-class midfielders Toni Kroos, Luka Modrić, and star player Jude Bellingham. When opponents play more offensively, they play conservatively and launch counterattacks with rapid players such as Vinicius Júnior and Rodrygo bombing down the wings. 

As the Champions League enters its quarter-final stage, football fans worldwide are eager to watch Europe’s heavyweights clash and for the following stages of the tournament to begin. Looking at tactics, talent, and squad depth, Real Madrid and Manchester City are the most likely clubs to win it all. But despite miracles often happening in the tournament’s history, upsets can occur. Any club with determination and luck can find their way to the top of European football. 

Associate Sports Editor (Volume 50) — Bilaal is in his fourth year working towards a double major in Biology and Psychology and a minor in Professional Writing & Communication. When Bilaal isn’t procrastinating doing his assignments, you can catch him singing along to early 2000s RnB, watching Seinfeld, or coming up with absurd satire pitches he can get away with.


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