Bayern’s Niklas Suele, center no 4, celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s opening goal during the Champions League Group A soccer match between Bayern Munich and Lokomotiv Moscow at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.(AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
- With the Champions League Group Stage now completed, we now await the Round of 16 draw on Monday
- Bayern Munich still remain the favorites to win their second straight UCL title, followed by Manchester City who looks to be a contender
- Do any other sides offer value in this year’s competition? Get the full odds, preview, and best bet below
With the knockout stages now ahead, Champions League football is about to get very exciting. Undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the group portion of the competition was Borussia Monchengladbach, who managed to advance out of a very competitive Group B thanks to Inter’s draw with Shakhtar on Wednesday.
As for the favorites in Bayern Munich and Manchester City, they both flew through their six matches with ease in their respective groups, each finishing at the top with 16 points. The Bundesliga giants bagged an impressive 18 goals, while the Citizens scored 13 times and conceded just once.
Ahead of the Round of 16, Champions League Odds favor Bayern at +275 to lift this year’s trophy, followed by City at +450.
2020/21 Champions League Odds
Odds taken Dec 9 at DraftKings
Can Bayern Repeat?
After winning the treble last season, Bayern Munich have continued their dominance this term, currently sitting at the top of the Bundesliga while also breezing through the UCL group stages. They’ve already netted a total of 52 times in just 16 matches between domestic and European play, led by Robert Lewandowski who’s already scored 15 goals.
Considering they’ve ran riot on all their opponents this season other than their one defeat and draw, it’s hard to not look at Hansi Flick’s men as a favorite to repeat as European champions. In every aspect of the pitch, Bayern have looked the part and certainly enter the Round of 16 as favorites to win it all once again.
All the opponents they could possibly face in the next round don’t pose any serious threat to them either (Porto, Barcelona, Atalanta, Lazio, etc) so it shouldn’t be any surprise to see the current title-holders advance to the quarterfinals.
Manchester City Looking Steer Clear of Early Exit
Pep Guardiola’s side was also a co-favorite alongside Bayern last season, but a shocking defeat to Lyon in the quarterfinals saw Man City exit the competition a lot earlier than anyone expected. The English giants have struggled to enjoy any real success in the Champions League after drawing two easy groups in the last two European campaigns.
This term, the Citizens once again breezed through the first stage finishing atop a weak Group C. It’s important to note that clashes between league rivals won’t happen in the last 16, so City will steer clear of any meeting with Liverpool or Chelsea for the time being.
But, Man City could play a bevy of teams that are capable of upsetting the cart in Atalanta, RB Leipzig, Lazio, and Barcelona, to name a few. It’s no secret this side has been in dismal form to begin the Premier League season, but only one could hope they will step up their level of play in a competition they’ve never won.
Chelsea, Liverpool Are Teams to Watch
The Blues have been in tremendous form after a productive summer transfer window that saw Frank Lampard bring in a boatload of talent, highlighted by Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, and Kai Havertz. The bolstering of their squad has seriously paid off thus far, currently sitting in second place in England, while winning their Champions League group.
Along the way, they buried last year’s Europa League winners Sevilla last week by a 4-0 scoreline while proving they’re a legitimate force to be reckoned with. They conceded just twice in the group stage while bagging 14 goals. After an embarrassing defeat to Bayern in the Round of 16 last season, expect the Blues to be a lot more competitive this time around with a much more capable squad.
Jurgen Klopp’s side always needs to be considered as a favorite to win the Champions League after capturing Europe’s most prized competition in 2019 and appearing in the final the year prior. They were also lucky enough to be handed an easy group, where they had no issues finishing in top spot. Liverpool did suffer one defeat though to Serie A standouts Atalanta on Matchday 5, but other than that, it was smooth sailing for the current Premier League title holders.
Although injuries have hit their squad hard this season, the Reds still have one of the most deadly frontlines in world football with Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino. Diogo Jota has also been a wonderful addition in the final third after enjoying a goal-filled start to life at Anfield.
Champions League Best Bet
Personally, I once again have a hard time seeing Manchester City just turning on a switch and competing in the latter stages of the Champions League. I think they will exit out earlier than expected for the second year in a row. As for their fellow English counterparts in Chelsea and Liverpool, I believe you’ll find them both in the quarterfinals at the very least.
As for the winners right now though, I’m going with Bayern Munich. No one has proven to be capable of stepping up to their level this season and with speedy left-back Alphonso Davies now back in the squad as well, this team is deadly. Another Champions League title is definitely in the books for the Bundesliga giants at this point.
Pick: Bayern Munich +275
Quinn Allen is a sports journalist, with a background and education in broadcast journalism (BCIT ’17). He writes about European Football, Basketball, and Baseball for numerous sites across the globe.