Champions League

Who will win the 2019 Champions League?

While things are getting very interesting at the top of the Premier League, it’s worth remembering that all the main contenders are also still in the running for the chance to win the Champions League. The last 16 for the Champions League has already been announced and it promises a string of matches that bring together the very best clubs in Europe.

All eyes will be on Real Madrid to repeat their 2018 title win, but with the Spanish side looking out of sorts now, it’s worth taking the time to see who else could be in the running. Could an English club win their first Champions League title since Chelsea delivered a winning result way back in 2012? Or will Lionel Messi produce another typically world-class performance to prove that Barcelona is Europe’s top club?

The action kicks off in mid-February when the last 16 come together to fight their way for a place in the quarter-finals. With epic clashes such as Liverpool versus Bayern Munich, and Manchester United versus Paris Saint Germain, it promises to be a fascinating couple of weeks. So here is a look at how the last sixteen are shaping up.

Manchester City

Whilst Manchester City slipped up embarrassingly in their recent Premier League clash against Newcastle United, most bookies still seem to have Pep Guardiola’s team as favorites to win the 2019 Champions League. This is more than a little surprising as Manchester City have been inconsistent recently.

With stars like Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling in their ranks, Manchester City can be truly devastating when they are in the mood. But with exceptional players like Kevin De Bruyne suffering from niggling injuries, it’s questionable as to whether they can win their first ever Champions League title. Manchester City will face what should be a straightforward clash against the German club, Schalke 04, in the last 16, and if they can hold their nerve, they should make it through into the quarter-finals.

Barcelona

We fancy Barcelona’s chances of picking up the 2019 Champions League title. Most of the attention will certainly be focused on Lionel Messi who is currently the bookie’s favorite to be the 2019 Champions League top goal scorer. But with players like Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele on their books, they have more than enough strength in depth to go the distance.

Barcelona’s first match in the last 16 takes place on 19 February when they travel to Lyon. The French club has shown that they can get quality results against some seriously formidable opposition, but we think that Ernesto Valverde has enough experience to guide the Spanish team into the next round of the Champions League.

Juventus

Can Juventus break their long spell of bad luck in European football? The legendary Italian side has suffered from some dismal form in European tournaments over the past few years, but as they are currently flying high in the Serie A league, there’s hope that 2019 could be their year.

All eyes will be on their recent shock signing, Cristiano Ronaldo, to produce another exemplary performance in their upcoming last 16 match against Atletico Madrid on 20 February. But as Juventus recently suffered a shocking 3-0 Coppa Italia defeat against Atalanta, it’s easy to see why Massimiliano Allegri’s team might not have the consistency to get the Champions League title this year.

Paris Saint Germain

A quick look at the Ligue 1 table will show that Paris Saint Germain are completely dominating French football at the moment. Whilst they will be without the injured Neymar for the next few weeks, any team with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani in the squad is sure to be a formidable prospect.

But will Paris Saint Germain’s Ligue 1 successes translate to the Champions League? Thomas Tuchel’s team will be desperate for a European title as PSG have never won this tournament before. However, they face a tricky last 16 away match against the in-form Manchester United on 12 February, and so they will need the likes of Mbappe to show his ability to rise to the challenge once more.

Liverpool

Could 2019 be Liverpool’s greatest footballing year in decades? The team look odds-on to win the Premier League, but the bookies seem to think that they have a much tougher prospect in the Champions League. At the moment the betting is that Liverpool are just fifth in line to win this tournament, but you can usually count on Jurgen Klopp’s side to deliver the goods when necessary.

Liverpool’s next Champions League match takes place on 19 February where they have to host the formidable Bayern Munich. This is never going to be an easy game, but with Mo Salah continuing to prove the doubters wrong with his goalscoring talents, we think that Liverpool could be in with a decent chance of making the final eight.

Bayern Munich

This legendary German team has had a very torrid 2018/19 season, and a disastrous run of form in autumn saw them slipping down to an uncharacteristically low position in the Bundesliga table. Much of the blame was attributed to their new boss, Niko Kovac, but he appears to have finally turned things around, and Bayern Munich are now just behind the leaders, Borussia Dortmund, in the Bundesliga.

Their upcoming game against Liverpool will see their star striker, Robert Lewandowski, keen to exploits any weaknesses in the opponent’s defence. Plus, there are plenty of talented young stars like James Rodriguez who are always on hand to create some trouble. Despite this, we think that Bayern Munich will have a tough time making it to the final of this tournament.

Real Madrid

You can’t talk about the Champions League and not mention Real Madrid, as the Spanish club has won the title for the past three seasons. But with Cristiano Ronaldo gone from their ranks, and some seriously inconsistent form in La Liga, they could struggle in their current Champions League campaign with a tough match against Ajax in the final 16 on 13 February.