2022/23 Champions League
The more things change in the world of football, the more they stay the same and with Real Madrid winning last season’s edition of the Champions League, it meant a 14th overall victory for the Spanish giants.
When it comes to the very best that European club football has to offer, the Champions League is the place to be and with 32 teams competing for continental supremacy every year, it manages to generate interest all over the globe.
Because whether you are a football fan that is based in Helsinki or Houston, the Champions League is a competition that will certainly resonate and due to the prestige that it carries across the world, it is also incredibly popular with those who like to place a bet before or during the game.
While the reason the competition is so popular is because of the likes of Real Madrid and with the Spanish giants being the one team that is truly synonymous with the competition, they have managed to generate support that would fill their Santiago Bernabeu stadium multiple times over.
Quite simply, the Champions League is a case of the very best squaring off with the very best and although Finnish clubs struggle to move out of the early qualification rounds, there is still the dream of one day facing the likes of Manchester City or Bayern Munich in the group stages.
With that said, the Champions League has been won by Finnish stars in the past and with both Jari Litmanen
and Sami Hyypiä
lifting the trophy for Ajax and Liverpool respectively, they have set the groundwork for the next generation of our nation’s football stars.
Champions League schedule
While although the Champions League format will soon change to a competition with 36 teams, for now it is the same format that has been in place since the 2003/04 season, and it is one that sees 32 teams first split into eight four-team groups.
From the group stage Champions League fixtures, two teams from each mini league will advance to the Round of 16 and from here, it is a straight knockout format which sees 16 clubs eventually whittle their way down to two finalists.
At this stage, it is a one-off final at a neutral venue which will decide who becomes the 2023 winners and with away goals no longer being a factor in the knockout phase of the tournament, it has made Champions League games even more exciting than before.
When it comes to the best Champions League teams, the list is always a rather long one and this is because the cream of the European crop will find itself in the competition. While because the cream always rises to the top, the teams involved must first finish top or very near to it in their domestic leagues.
With the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga all being permitted four automatic entries into the competition, this already makes up half of the 32 teams that reach the group stage each year.
Which means the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool are always primed and ready to represent English interests and with the latter missing out to Real Madrid last season, they will be aiming to go one better this time around.
While these two are not the only English representatives that will be involved in the 2022/23 edition of the Champions League and with the London pair of Chelsea and Tottenham already in the group stage, they will soon await to see who they have been teamed up with in the opening phase.
As for other major European interest, it is incredibly difficult to ignore Real Madrid and with them acting as holders once again, they will look to show their dominance on the continental stage once again.
Add the perennial challenge of Bayern Munich into the mix and although they are likely to say goodbye to Robert Lewandowski
this summer, that should not hamper their attempts to win the Champions League again.
While when it comes to teams that are desperate to win this competition, you must look no further than PSG and although they have easily cracked the code within the confines of French football, they continually fall short in the Champions League.
Top players and managers
When discussing the top players and managers in the Champions League, the list is almost endless and you only need to look at the makeup of Real Madrid’s squad last season, to understand why they were eventual winners.
Because with Karim Benzema
and Luka Modric
continually defeating the aging process on the playing field, they played a huge part in leading the Santiago Bernabeu outfit to a 14th overall success in the Champions League.
Then again, it was not just efforts on the field that led Real Madrid to glory and with manager Carlo Ancelotti pulling the strings in the technical area, it meant he also lifted the Champions League trophy for the 6th time as either a player or coach.
Of course, the list of exceptional talents is not just the monopoly of Real Madrid and with both Mohamed Salah
and Sadio Mane
playing a huge part in Liverpool’s march to last season’s final, they solidified their status of two of the absolute best in the world today.
An accolade that also could be handed to the pair of Erling Haaland
and Kylian Mbappe
and with them at Manchester City and PSG respectively, their employers will hope that they can finally land them to a first ever outright Champions League success.
While it would not be a list of the top players without mentioning Lionel Messi
and although his powers may be fading ever so slightly, he is still more than capable of turning it on for PSG when it really matters.
As for top managers, with Carlo Ancelotti
already being mentioned, it is time to focus on the Premier League kingpins and with the quartet of Antonio Conte
, Thomas Tuchel
, Pep Guardiola
and Jurgen Klopp
all truly world-class, either of the four will fancy their chances of Champions League success this season.
An English team qualified to Champions League final again this year.
Who will win …
As for who will win this season’s edition of the Champions League, that is a question that is easier to ask than answer and with so many of Europe’s elite being involved in the group stage, an early prediction may prove to be rather foolish.
Then again, this would not be a betting website without nailing our colours to the mast and with Erling Haaland now playing under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, the Etihad outfit will certainly be one of the early favourites.
Not to forget their Premier League counterparts Liverpool either and when you add the likes of holders Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and PSG into the contender’s conversation, it is already shaping up to be another fascinating year of Champions League action.