Bitcoin Link

UEFA Champions League 2018-19 Team Preview

The most prestigious of soccer team competitions, the UEFA Champions League, is back. The best of the best European teams go head-to-head for the glory of being crowned as Europe’s best club. Last year, Real Madrid won for a historic third time, but “La Orejona” is once more up for the grabs and it’s there for the taking. All in all, 32 teams enter the group stage competition that ends in the final which will be held in Madrid, Spain. Let’s take a look at how teams stack up this year. 

UEFA Champions League 2018-19

18 September 2018 – 1 June 2019

UEFA Champions League Odds

Real Madrid C.F. 

Though Europe’s current champions will have to do without Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Real Madrid is still stacked with talent including Luca Modric, Isco, Benzema, Bale, Marcelo, Asencio, Mariano, and goalie Keylor Navas. 

Atletico Madrid 

The winners of the Europa League competition may not have participated in last year’s Champions, but they’re a solid team which could win it all. The team has more than a fair share of quality players including France’s Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa. 

Barcelona F.C. 

Spain’s champions have the best player in the world and after what many consider an early exit in last year’s competition, this year Lionel Messi will be out for blood. Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, and Phillipe Coutinho are among other notable players in this team that will always be expected to make it far into the competition. 

Bayern Munich 

Bayern has dominated the Bundesliga the last few years and without a doubt are among the best teams in Europe. After falling short last year, the German champions will look to make their mark and prove to the world that they have what it takes to win. 

Juventus 

The Italian squad now has Real Madrid’s former superstar striker, Cristian Ronaldo to help them bring back the glory to their fans. Ronaldo joins  Paulo Dybala and Miralem Pjanic to what surely will be a lethal squad in this year’s competition. 

Paris St. Germain 

PSG has struggled in the last few years to win the UEFA Champions cup, often making an early exit despite signing some of the most expensive players in this sport’s history such as Brazilian star Neymar Jr. Paris St. Germain has dominated in France’s Ligue 1 and now has its sights set on winning Europe’s most prestigious tournament. 

Manchester City

The Citizens had a historic run in the Premier League last season but found an early exit from the Champions at the hands of Liverpool. City returns this year with a lineup that includes Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne, and Ederson, all of whom will be looking to make their mark on the European stage. 

Lokomotiv Moscow

Lokomotiv may not be the strongest of teams, but they are Russia’s champions and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Players such as Vedran Corluka and Igor Denisov are part of a team that could surprise even the best of Europe’s clubs. 

Borussia Dortmund 

Among other things, Borussia Dortmund not only struggled in last year’s campaign but also barely qualified to this year’s Champions League competition. But, players such as team captain Marco Reus, American international Christian Pulisic and the recently hired Belgian international Axel Witsel cannot be discounted to keep this team in play. 

Porto

The Portuguese champions will attempt to break through the group stage and into the knockout round. Notable players include former Real Madrid goalie Iker Casillas, Vincent Aboubakar, and Moussa Marega, all of whom have the experience to help their team accomplish this task. 

Manchester United

Hopefully, Jose Mourinho’s third season at the helm of Man U won’t mean a meltdown of epic proportions. But, the presence of players of the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez will keep this team in the competition. 

Shakhtar Donetsk 

The Ukrainian Premier League winner of last year won’t have it easy as they’ve lost most of their talent including their best players Fred, Facundo Ferreyra, and Bernard. Between the three, they netted 44 goals which will be hard to make up even with the presence of Marlos and Taison. 

Benfica

The runners-up of the Portuguese Primeira Liga and a balanced squad that can stand up against any team. Players such as Eduardo Salvio, Alex Grimaldo, and Jardel can be lethal on the attack and will surely help Benfica stay in the race. 

Napoli 

The Italian squad just barely fell short to Juventus for the Serie A title, but this qualified them for entry into the Champions. Napoli has a few great players, including Dries Mertens and Marek Hamsik, the former who played with a Belgian squad that finished third in the World Cup. They also picked up Simone Verdi from Bologna, who should team up well with Mertens. 

Tottenham Hotspur

It’s Tottenham's third time in the Champions League competition and this time around they have the experience to do much better than in previous years. With players of the likes of Harry Kane, arguably the best #9 in the world and winner of the World Cup’s Golden Boot, mid-fielders Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli, along with Heung-Min Son, Erik Lamela, and Lucas Moura, there are big expectations on the Spurs to do well. 

AS Roma 

Roma did great in last year’s Champions despite the naysayers who couldn’t believe Roma made it all the way to the semifinals and almost defeated Liverpool. I Giallorossi also finished third in Serie A, captained by Daniele De Rossi who is still going strong despite reaching the ripe age of 35. If everything goes well, Roma could make it to the Champions League final this year. 

Liverpool 

Nobody could have expected Liverpool’s accomplishment in last year’s Champions. Reaching the final in this competition is one of the hardest feats in professional soccer and to give Real Madrid a run for their money in the finals has to be a team’s dream come true. Led by Egyptian phenom Mohammed Salah, who led the Premier League in goals last year with 38, they head into this year’s competition with plenty to look forward to. 

Shalke 04 

Under coach Domenico Tedesco, Schalke 04 has received a breath of new life. Even if the club from Gelsenkirchen doesn’t do well in this year’s edition of the Champions, it should give them a boost for years to come. 

Lyon 

France’s League 1 may be overshadowed by other country leagues like Germany’s Bundesliga. But, Lyon has always been among the top clubs not only in that country but in Europe as well. Whether or not they succeed in breaking through the group stage remains to be seen but with young players such as Memphis Depay, Nabil Fekir, and Bertrand Traore in their ranks, they could end up raising more than a few eyebrows. 

AS Monaco

A couple of years ago, AS Monaco made some waves in the Champions and even reached the quarterfinal round as a pot four team. They’ve lost much of their talent to bigger clubs including French star Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar, Benjamin Mendy, and Tiémoué Bakayoko but have a few key players like Radamel Falcao who can make this team a dangerous contender. 

AFC Ajax 

To not give credit to Ajax of making it to the Champions’ group stage after going through the qualification round would be unfair. Ajax won a couple of two-legged ties over Standard Liege and a difficult Dynamo Kyiv so they’ve earned their spot in the UEFA Champions. 

CSKA Moscow 

CSKA finished second behind Lokomotiv in the Russian Premier League and qualified to play in the Champions. Russian World Cup hero Igor Akinfee led his team to a quarterfinals appearance and can now help his club to make its mark in the Champions. 

Valencia 

The Spanish squad has been absent from the Champions for the past two years but snatched a spot after pulling away from Villareal in the last weeks of “La Liga” season. Valencia has acquired a few key players, most notably Kevin Gameiro and Michy Batshuayi, who could help this club make a name for themselves. 

PSV Eindhoven 

The current Eredivisie champions pulled through two qualification rounds like their country rivals, Ajax to secure their spot in UEFA’s most prestigious competition. Their two-pronged attack of Steven Bergwijn and Luuk de Jong has proved effective in the Netherlands and could also be dangerous against other European giants. 

Viktoria Plzen 

The defense-minded Czech team only allowed 23 goals in 30 matches last season and finished well ahead of their competition in their country’s First League. Top scorer Michael Krmencik led the way, finding the back of the net on 16 occasions for his team. 

Club Brugge

Belgium’s First Division is always one to keep an eye on and last season, Club Brugge secured their spot in the Champions behind a solid defensive stratagem. 

Galatasaray

The Turkish squad managed to win the Super Lig last season, finishing three points ahead of their closest rivals Fenerbahce. However, they have their work cut out for them to replace Bafetimbi Gomis, who scored 14 goals and is now playing in Saudi Arabia. 

BSC Young Boys

The Young Boys haven’t had much success in the Champions, having to settle for appearances in the Europa League. But, the Swiss champions have finally made their way to the biggest competition in Europe and gained plenty of motivation ahead of its start. 

Inter Milan 

It’s Inter Milan’s return to the Champions, something which they haven’t been able to do since the  2011-12 season. Fortunately for the Italian squad, the new rules for UEFA allowed them to snatch a spot in the competition. 

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 

It’s the first trip to the Champions for this German squad behind a surprise third-place finish in the Bundesliga. However, whether or not they can replace Serge Gnabry who is back to Bayern Munich’s ranks remains to be seen. 

Red Star Belgrade 

Serbia’s champions made it through the qualifiers from the very first round which is a feat unto itself, so although the road won’t get any easier in the Champions nobody can deny they’ve earned their spot in the competition. 

AEK Athens

After their historic unbeaten run in the mid-2000s, it’s the Greek’s return to the Champions League. The squad led by team captain Petros Mantalos is set to make another try to bring back the glory to their home.