The 2022/23 Champions League season is just around the corner with 32 teams in the pot ahead of the group stage draw.
Some big names are missing again in the form of Manchester United, Arsenal, and Roma, but there’s a lot to be excited about nonetheless.
The same Champions League contenders
The favourites are the same as ever in recent seasons: Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain. There aren’t likely to be any others competing in the latter stages.
It is true that some – PSG and City – are hungrier than ever before after what they suffered last season, but they will all have to overcome the competition’s kings, Real Madrid.
Only five champions
It is curious that since Jose Mourinho‘s Inter won the competition in 2010, only five teams have managed to become European champions: Liverpool (once); Barcelona (2); Chelsea (2); Bayern (2); and Real Madrid (5).
Many others have fallen by the wayside, teams with a lot of history in their respective countries, but they have failed on the European stage.
Manchester City, PSG, Tottenham and Atletico Madrid are all good examples of how difficult the tournament is to win.
A thrilling Champions League awaits with a format that does not look like it can be improved further, at least from a competitive standpoint.
The Champions League, as it stands, attracts fans and sponsors from all over the world. Whether more money can be raised with the new format in 2024 is to be seen.
The Spanish teams
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Atletico Madrid are the Spanish teams for this year.
It is true that Sevilla and Atletico will be considered outside bets for the crown, but we should never rule out the teams of Diego Simeone and Julen Lopetegui who could be considered dark horses in the later rounds.
Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt will be, alongside Porto and Ajax, the team the sides in other pots want to draw.
A clash against the German, Portuguese or Dutch sides is more appealing than against any of the other top seeds in the first draw: Real Madrid, Bayern, Man City, PSG or even AC Milan.
Final in Turkey
The Champions League final will take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, home of the Turkish national team.
The stadium is known for having hosted the final of the 2005 edition, wherein Liverpool came from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties.
Istanbul was initially selected to host the 2020 final, but the venue was shifted to Lisbon due to the COVID pandemic.
A year later, the 2021 final was also to be held in Istanbul, but was also moved to Portugal to allow for the attendance of English fans with Chelsea and City the finalists.
For the final set to take place on June 10, 2023.