It’s time for me to eat my words.
After Barcelona were demolished 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain, no one thought it was possible for them to come back in the second leg — myself included. The bookmakers wrote them off completely. Everyone, barring the most die-hard (read: delusional) fans, thought their Champions League campaign was dead in the water, and manager Luis Enrique even announced he would step down at the end of the season.
But then the impossible happened. Barcelona returned to Camp Nou and trounced PSG 6-1, staging the greatest comeback in Champions League history. Sure, Barca were helped by some Oscar-level acting and some questionable refereeing (cue the cries of match fixing!). But when the score is 6-1, you have to give them credit for what they achieved.
In hindsight, it was a little premature to rule Barcelona out after the first leg. Just look at some of their recent results: 5-0 against Celta Vigo; 6-1 against Sporting Gijon; and 6-0 against Alaves. And those are just results from the last two months! As we’ve seen time and time again, Barcelona are more than able to pull off huge wins.
So it’s time to put the Catalans back on the UCL odds map! Here is the revised outlook for the 2017 title.
Odds to win the 2017 UEFA Champions League
Well, look who’s back on top!
After their performance against PSG, anything is possible for Barcelona. They’re currently on top of La Liga; they have what should be an easy Copa del Rey final against Alaves; and they’re once again the favorites for the Champions League. Once again, it’s shaping up to be a stellar season for Barcelona.
Bayern Munich: 16/5
For the first time in 86 months, Bayern have a fully fit squad. That’s a scary thought considering how dominant they’ve been with an injury-riddled line-up. Bayern have so much firepower in their ranks that even their substitutes are among the best players in the world.
Like Barcelona, they just put a beat-down on their Round of 16 opponent in the second leg, downing Arsenal 5-1. Unlike Barcelona, they did the very same in the first leg, winning a resounding 10-2 on aggregate! They’re also running away with another Bundesliga title.
Real Madrid: 6/1
Real Madrid had a near-perfect start to the season, but after their 40-game unbeaten streak was broken, they haven’t been the same. That’s not to say that they’ve been playing badly. They’re currently just one point below Barcelona in La Liga (with one game in hand) and easily beat Napoli 3-1 in both legs of the Round of 16.
Bayern and Barca are the clear favorites, but the defending champs trail closely behind.
Juventus are yet to play their second-leg game (March 14th), but it’s unlikely that they’ll drop their two-goal lead over Porto.
While Juventus have a world-class squad, it doesn’t quite feature the star-power of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid.
In the Round of 16, Dortmund came back from a 1-0 loss to Benfica with a massive 4-0 win in the second leg. On a good day, Dortmund can hold their own against any team in the world. But they’re fairly inconsistent and when their star striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is underperforming, they have very few attacking options. Their a worthy fifth choice, but well behind the top dogs in the odds.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.