The place Tottenham can win – and lose – the Champions League

The Champions League resumes on Tuesday as 16 groups look to make one other step in the direction of Madrid in June.

4 Premier League golf equipment superior to the knockout phases and probabilities of the competitors having English illustration deep into the event is excessive.

However standing of their means shall be 12 different groups from six completely different international locations.

The likes of Actual Madrid and Barcelona are apparent favourites, however darkish horses comparable to Lyon, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund additionally lurk.

Now we have compiled the runners and riders for Europe’s premier competitors – and dissected the tactical battles that await Tottenham in the event that they’re to win their first-ever European Cup.


Atletico Madrid

Alvaro Morata throughout Atletico’s recreation at Actual Betis


After profitable the Europa League final season, Diego Simeone’s group have returned to the Champions League with the pedigree of European champions. His group are famend for his or her hard-working and environment friendly defensive fashion, but it surely’s price noting that the expertise within the squad is sort of unrivalled.

Gamers comparable to Antoine Griezmann, Koke, Saul, Jan Oblak, Thomas Lemar and Diego Godin are included to call however a number of, and the previous finalists will in the end pose a difficult tactical risk for whoever they face.

The Spanish facet have the third greatest defence within the event in line with Anticipated Targets, having been anticipated to concede simply 4.59 throughout the group stage.




Cristiano Ronaldo is making an attempt to be the primary participant to win the event for 4 consecutive years, having moved to his new membership in the summertime. Now at Juventus, the Portuguese has continued the place he left off in Madrid by scoring decisive objectives repeatedly, as he is at present the highest scorer in Serie A with 18 objectives.

The alternatives to attain have been manipulated by head coach, Max Allegri, who’s adjusted the play of his group to incorporate extra crosses as a method of utilising Ronaldo’s aerial prowess.

Actual Madrid are the one facet left within the competitors to have hit extra crosses than the Turin facet, with 161 to 126. In the end, the present Juventus group consists of seasoned execs and the facet have mastered the artwork of profitable. The Italian champions will definitely take some beating.


Man Metropolis

Josep Guardiola (Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Photographs)


One of many favourites within the competitors is Manchester Metropolis. Pep Guardiola continues to chase the membership’s first ever Champions League trophy, with the membership offering the Spaniard with unbelievable depth to minimise any potential hurdles alongside the best way.

Guardiola’s group are nonetheless at present competing on all 4 fronts, and the prospect of the quadruple looms, however the Champions League has up to now remained out of their grasp.

Metropolis have scored essentially the most objectives in Europe up to now this season based mostly on all competitions, and arguably have one of the best assault within the event.



Baba Rahman in Champions League motion for Schalke this season. (Picture: Maja Hitij/Getty Photographs)


Arguably one of many weakest remaining groups within the competitors is Schalke. The German group managed to progress from maybe the best group in second place behind Porto, and face the intimidating prospect of Man Metropolis within the upcoming spherical of fixtures.

Schalke are at present as little as 14th within the Bundesliga, however apparently have top-of-the-line defences within the Champions League based mostly on objectives in opposition to, with Dortmund the one remaining membership to have shipped much less.

These figures point out it may simply develop into assault vs. defence in opposition to the English champions.



Alisson celebrates Liverpool’s victory at Crystal Palace


Final season’s finalists pose an fascinating risk because the event progresses into its latter phases, having evidently moved up a gear compared to their stage of efficiency in 2017/18.

The constructive additions of Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri in the summertime have contributed, however in addition to bettering their high quality, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds have additionally develop into significantly extra streetwise. Liverpool can now management matches much more successfully, and the defence is now able to withstanding strain not like in earlier seasons.

Consequently, the Merseyside membership are actually much more full and are certainly one of many contenders to achieve to remaining in Madrid.

Bayern Munich

Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben rejoice for Bayern Munich in opposition to Fortuna Dusseldorf


A group which have maybe gone underneath the radar up to now this season is Bayern Munich, the present champions of Germany.

The Bavarian membership are at present positioned second of their respective league behind Borussia Dortmund, they usually solely clinched high spot of their group forward of Ajax on the ultimate matchday. Regardless of that although, Niko Kovac seems to have lastly settled issues in his debut season in cost on the membership.

Apparently, Bayern are second behind solely Porto when specializing in their eagerness to press. When it comes to Passes Per Defensive Motion (PPDA), which focuses on what number of passes a group permits earlier than basically shifting to regain the ball, Bayern permit simply 7.8. To match with final 16 opponents Liverpool for instance, their determine on this season’s event is 10.3.



Nabil Fekir in motion for Lyon (Picture by SYLVAIN THOMAS/AFP/Getty Photographs)


One of many darkish horses of the competitors is Lyon, the French outfit that Guardiola’s Metropolis facet struggled to deal with within the group phases. The 2 sides drew 2-2 in France, with Lyon profitable the sooner contest on the Etihad by two objectives to at least one, that means that they might’ve knocked the English champions out had it been a knockout tie.

The facet are coached by Bruno Génésio, and there is an emphasis on the membership on bringing via youth expertise, comparable to Houssem Aouar. That belief in youth has in the end resulted in a extremely entertaining group being shaped, together with the likes of Tanguy NDombele and Nabil Fekir.

Lyon are behind solely Actual Madrid, Barcelona, Man Metropolis and Juventus for photographs taken within the event, so it is a group that would simply trigger a number of upsets shifting ahead.



Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring in opposition to Espanyol (Picture by Alex Caparros/Getty Photographs)


Surprisingly, Barcelona have not gained the competitors for the reason that 2014/15 season. Actually, the group have not progressed past the quarter-finals since they final gained it. Regardless of that although and largely because of the affect of Lionel Messi, Barcelona are thought-about as one of many favourites to raise the trophy each single 12 months.

This season, that could be very a lot nonetheless the case, with Ernesto Valverde into his second full season in cost on the Camp Nou. The group are at present six factors clear on the high of La Liga, they usually eased via their group by ending high with out sustaining a single loss, despite the fact that their group was robust.

The Catalan facet have had essentially the most makes an attempt on purpose within the event up to now, with 118 alongside Actual Madrid, so it is seemingly that an admirable defensive show shall be required to defeat Messi’s males.


AS Roma

Justin Kluivert in motion for Roma.


Final season’s shock semi-finalists Roma, seem to have one other alternative to progress into the latter phases with a comparatively straightforward draw in opposition to Porto.

The Italian facet are at present sixth in Serie A they usually progressed from Group G in second place behind the holders, Actual Madrid.

Regardless of their common home kind although, Roma have a squad stuffed with thrilling attacking instruments, they usually ranked above the likes of Actual Madrid, Napoli, Lyon and Tottenham within the group stage by way of Anticipated Targets (xG).


FC Porto

Porto’s Malian ahead Moussa Marega


The one Portuguese facet remaining within the event is FC Porto. Impressively, Sérgio Conceição’s group are the third high scorers within the competitors up to now, behind solely Man Metropolis and PSG with 15 objectives.

They’re additionally well-drilled defensively although, with a slim form that forces groups to assault utilizing the flanks.

Total, the present league leaders in Portugal ought to maybe be thought-about as one of many underdogs however with the potential to progress into the latter phases.


Manchester United

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Photographs)


Having ending runners-up in Group H behind Juventus, that is United’s 18th time within the Champions League knockout phases. Moreover, they’ll boast a formidable latest document throughout the continent, dropping simply 5 of their earlier 26 European Matches dwelling and away (W16, D5). 

Regardless of this being Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s first tie within the Champions League correct as a coach, he oversaw eight qualifiers whereas answerable for Molde (W3, D4, L1).

With United profitable 10 of Solskjær’s first 11 video games, they’ll make an actual tilt in the direction of the ultimate.


Paris Saint-Germain

Kylian Mbappe celebrates with Neymar (Picture by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Photographs)


PSG at present sit high of Ligue 1 with two video games in hand and a ten-point cushion over second positioned Lille – due to this fact all their consideration shall be switched to development on this season’s Champions League.

Regardless of this being their seventh successive marketing campaign by which they’ve reached the spherical of 16, they’re but to match their 1994/95 achievement of reaching the semi-finals. Actually, PSG have misplaced at this stage in every of the final two seasons.

That being mentioned, Thomas Tuchel’s males are the competitors’s main scorers this season with 17 and stay one of many favourites to raise the trophy in Might.


Borussia Dortmund

Marco Reus throughout the match with Hannover (Picture by Jörg Schüler/Getty Photographs)


Dortmund have loved a affluent home season up to now and are on target to beat Bayern to the Bundesliga title.

Lucien Favre’s males’s success has been largely constructed on stable defensive foundations this season. With a formidable tally of simply two, they’ve conceded the fewest objectives within the Champions League up to now.

They’ll additionally boast the best variety of clear sheets within the competitors this season (5), suggesting that solely a powerful assault can break down their resolute defence.



Matthijs de Ligt of celebrates scoring for Ajax


The Dutch powerhouses have reached the final 16 of the Champions League or the primary time since 2005/06. Together with Porto, Bayern, Barcelona and Lyon, they’re unbeaten up to now within the competitors.

They gained their first 5 video games earlier than a 3-Three draw in opposition to Bayern on matchday six resulted in them ending second behind the German membership in Group E.

Impressively, Erik ten Hag’s thrilling younger facet are the only group nonetheless concerned who got here via qualifying phases – the opposite 15 qualifiers exited on the group stage.


Actual Madrid

Gareth Bale scores his gorgeous purpose in opposition to Liverpool


Regardless of a turbulent home season by which they dropped as little as sixth in La Liga, Actual Madrid have climbed again as much as second and closed the hole on Barcelona to simply six factors. On the continent, they continue to be Kings of Europe having gained the earlier three tournaments.

The holders come alive on this stage and have been semi-finalists or higher in every of the final eight seasons. That is the 49th European Cup marketing campaign for Los Blancos – no one has featured in additional than them.

Ronaldo scored or assisted 51.51% of Madrid’s Champions League objectives final season earlier than departing for Turin in the summertime. In his absence, Gareth Bale has stepped up considerably. The Welshman has been a key determine on this marketing campaign and has instantly been concerned in 41.66% of their CL objectives up to now.


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