UEFA Champions League Predictions

As the 2021-22 Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Champions League gets underway, we at the Register Forum seek to educate the CRLS community about the teams, odds, and our personal picks for who can take the top prize in the most prestigious competition of arguably the most popular sport on the planet.

The Champions League is an annual soccer tournament comprising the best clubs across Europe. The 2018 Champions League Final recorded 380 million viewers, nearly four times the Super Bowl and a whopping 27 times greater than the World Series. The teams competing in the tournament are decided by the results from the “Big Five” European leagues (Spanish La Liga, English Premier League, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, and French Ligue 1) as well as a few qualifying rounds. The tournament begins with eight groups of four teams for a total of six matches. The top two teams from each group move on to the round of 16, at which point, progression is decided via knockout matches until a single-match final that decides the European champion. The group stage began with 32 teams playing. Let’s take a look at the eight biggest names in this year’s tournament. 


PSG (+450)

Paris Saint-Germain has used the vast funds granted by its Qatari shareholders to acquire some of the best players in the world. Over the summer, the club brought in even more world-class talent in Gianluigi Donnarumma, Ashraf Hakimi, Sergio Ramos, and Lionel Messi—arguably the greatest player of all time. PSG may have the strongest side in Europe on paper, but they have been plagued by chemistry issues, especially with their star-studded offense. Make no mistake, the Parisian side is a force to be reckoned with as they triumphed over the overall favorite Manchester City in a 2-0 win a month ago. While the club has given glimpses of its potential, it has yet to prove that it can translate its overwhelming talent into consistent results.


Manchester City (+350)

Since the change of ownership in 2008, legendary manager Pep Guardiola has been given a near-infinite budget to assemble his dream side. The results so far: the club has won the English League five times but has yet to conquer Europe. Additionally, the club is prone to having bad days and underperforming. Just over a week ago, they suffered a 2-0 loss to the 13th ranked team in the English League. Still, the club is currently the bookies’ favorite to win the Champions League and taking the top prize shouldn’t be put past them.

Liverpool (+650)

Liverpool is one of my top picks for a spot in the final. Manager Jürgen Klopp has assembled a side capable of fighting at the top of European Soccer. The Reds boast an uber-talented side starring Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah whom many believe to be the best player in the world currently. So far, Liverpool has proved to be consistent as it is one of only four teams yet to lose a match in the group stages. While nothing is decided yet, Liverpool is becoming a team to beat in the race for European glory.

Barcelona (+4000)

The Catalonian outfit that once stood atop the soccer world has seen an ugly fall from grace. Gross financial mismanagement has left the club with debts north of €1 billion (currently $1.14 billion). The team that wowed the world with its creative style of play has been relegated to a fraction of its prior glory. The final nail in their coffin came this summer when Lionel Messi left the club for PSG. So far, Barcelona sits ninth in the Spanish League and second in their Champions League group, having put on some miserable showings. 

Real Madrid (+2000)

The most prestigious club in Europe with a record thirteen Champions League titles, Real Madrid attracts some of the best talent worldwide. The club boasts strong offensive capabilities from the likes of Karim Benzema and Vinicious Jr. However, a glaring lack of world-class talent on defence has led to them conceding 1.09 goals-per-game this season (for reference, the defending champions, Chelsea have conceded 0.3 goals). Already, Madrid has lost what some are labeling the biggest upset in the history of the tournament, a 2-1 shocker against Sheriff Tiraspol—a largely unknown Moldovan team. It is unlikely that they will mount a meaningful campaign for the title.

Bayern München (+400)

The German giant is arguably the strongest club in the world right now. The Munich-based club is on track to break their own record of nine consecutive German league titles. Bayern is no stranger to Champions League victory glory, winning three titles since 2000 including the 2019-20 trophy. Their roster is chock-full of world-class players at nearly every position. The one potential flaw in the German side is an aging goalie in Manuel Neuer and a new manager still adapting to his team. However, it’s safe to assume we’ll be seeing lots from Bayern München in the later stages of the tournament.

Manchester United (+1100)

Once the pre-eminent club in England, Manchester United has seen a major slump this season. Expectations were high for the Red Devils as the summer transfer period saw them sign exciting youth prospect Jadon Sancho, proven Champions League-winning talent Raphael Varane, and Cristiano Ronaldo. So far, the club has lost a major upset to Swiss no-name Young Boys as well as a 5-0 blowout to Liverpool in the English League. The Manchester outfit has taken a turn for the worse and it’s unlikely that they will be able to recover this season. Expect them to make the round of 16 and not much further.

Chelsea (+800)

The winners of the 2020/21 tournament, much of Chelsea’s Europe-conquering squad has carried over this season with the addition of top-notch Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. However, there looms a dark cloud over the club’s Champions League hopes: N’Golo Kante’s fitness. The French defensive-midfielder who was integral to the team’s victory last year has been out with ankle problems for much of the season. This is already causing problems for Chelsea, who suffered a 2-0 loss to Italian club Juventus recently. As it stands, it’s too soon to call anything for Chelsea. Should Kante make a speedy recovery, the club is sure to be dangerous, but without him, their tournament hopes stand on shaky ground.

(odds by DraftKings)