The draw for the 2024-2024 knockout stage has turned every football enthusiast’s attention to the much-awaited final to be held on 1st June 2024. The battle lines have been drawn once again as Europe’s biggest football competition enters its last stages.
Although we will have to wait until February before the competition returns, the anxiety is already palpable as the big boys of European football and the underdogs likewise smell an opportunity to get their names inked in the annals of history as among the greatest to have ever played on European soil.
The knockout stage or the round of 16 as it is also known will see 16 teams battle it out for the 8 slots in the quarter-finals. The lucky 8 will then sweat it out to be among the 4 that will play in the semi-finals where the best two will have to square it out at Wembley for the best team in Europe title.
In this article, we analyze all 16 teams and rank them from who is least likely to lift the trophy come June to the most favorites. For all your football bets including for the Champions League use GGbet for the most competitive odds anywhere. Visit the site or download the ggbet app and enjoy football betting like never before.
Lazio qualified as number 2 from the group stages in a group that included group winners Atletico Madrid, Feyenoord and Celtic. They put on a good performance to qualify but can’t seem to be consistent and put together a decent run of form that is crucial to perform well in the Champions League. A match-up against Bayern puts their hopes of progressing in doubt.
Leipzig performed well in the group stages after losing only two games against Man City. They have had a good run in the Bundesliga winning their last four games. Facing them is always a daunting task but their draw against Real Madrid looks like too much for them to chew.
Copenhagen defied all odds to qualify from a pretty tough group that included Bayern Munich, Galatasaray, and Man United. Their coach has instilled a spirit of fearlessness in the team, something they will need as they play against Man City in the knockouts.
Napoli’s form domestically has not been impressive already having lost 5 games out of 16 which is more than they collectively lost last season. They qualified second from a fairly simple group behind Real Madrid and have been paired with FC Barcelona. To beat Barcelona in a two-leg game will need a lot of improvement from their side.
The Long Shorts
Similar to Napoli, Barcelona too has been struggling domestically. They came top of their group in the group stages although unconvincingly, but have always been known to turn things around and produce top performances when required.
Porto progressed from their group alongside Barcelona and could have led the group were it not for the two defeats they suffered at the hands of the Spanish side. They have been matched up against in-form Premier League leaders Arsenal and the odds look slightly against them.
After the Messi era, PSG has been trying to pick up the pieces but always looks a second away from disaster. They needed to dig deep and draw with Dortmund to qualify second in their group. They go into the knockouts as favorites against Real Sociedad but you can’t be confident they will come out victorious.
Real Sociedad surprised everyone with their unbeaten run against Inter, Benfica, and RB Salzburg in the group stage. They also produced great defensive displays conceding only two goals. The technical ability of its players was also impressive making their clash with PSG one to look forward to.
Dortmund impressively won the group of death and appeared to use the Champions League as a distraction to a bad start to their campaign in the Bundesliga. From previous experience, Dortmund can cause an upset to any team with their free play and we wait to see how far they will progress.
Manchester City qualified top of their group although they didn’t hit the top form we have associated them with. Their form has also been poor in the recent Premier League games but you can’t just write them off. They play dangerous attacking football and on a good day can dismantle any defence.
PSV remain unbeaten in their league and put up good performances in their group qualifying second against a great Arsenal side. They also suffered only one defeat. They are a free-scoring team with more than 10 players in their squad having three goals already this season. Their star looks bright and we can only wait to see how far they will progress.
Atletico has always been a tough team to play against. They scored 17 goals in their group coming second to only Man City who had more group stage goals. Their defensive discipline and attacking prowess always produce results regardless of who they are facing.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side has only suffered one loss so far across all competitions. This plus their unbeaten run in the group stage shows they are a force to reckon with. Who knows may be they will go all they as we have become accustomed to.
Bayern made the group stage look like child’s play with convincing performances that showcased why they are a top team. Harry Kane can’t seem to stop scoring, adding a lethal aspect to their game. They have had defensive lapses like the recent one against Frankfurt that saw them go 5 down but they always pick themselves up and respond when required.
Arsenal has started to silence their doubters with great performances both in the Premier League and Champions League. They seem to never accept being beaten with their late goals and attacking football that is leaving teams tattered. They have a winning mentality that they are yet to turn into trophies. Will this be their year?
Inter Milan looks to build on their experience from last year’s defeat at the finals to cause an upset this year. They are playing impressive football with a squad rich in depth, experience and tactical prowess. They score when they want and are difficult to break down. This may just be their year.