Who Will Win the 2019 Champions League?

by Taylor Smith
on August 7, 2018
10

Minute Read

With the World Cup now in the rearview mirror, teams across Europe are on the verge of beginning their new domestic campaigns. Managers of the best teams in Europe will have to juggle domestic seasons, cup tournaments and European matches. The schedule can get congested quickly for teams participating in European competitions, but such is life for teams seeking the most prestigious trophy in club soccer.

Over the last few years, the UEFA Champions League has been dominated by Spanish clubs. Real Madrid have won the tournament in each of the last 3 years, though their quest to make it 4 gets more complicated with this summer’s sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to fellow Champions League hopefuls Juventus. A Spanish club has won Champions League in each of the last 5 seasons.

Bayern Munich were the last German team to win the trophy. The German giants toppled fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final back in 2013. Chelsea accomplished the feat the season prior, and the Blues are still the most recent winner from the Premier League. Liverpool came close this past season, but were beaten 3-1 in the final by Real Madrid. The last non-German, English or Spanish side to win Champions League was Inter Milan back in 2010.

Who will win the 2019 iteration of Champions League? Let’s break it down.

To Win 2019 Champions League

  • Juventus +550
  • Manchester City +550
  • Barcelona +600
  • Bayern Munich +700
  • Paris St. Germain +700
  • Real Madrid +700
  • Liverpool +1000
  • Atletico Madrid +1400
  • Manchester United +1400
  • Tottenham Hotspur +2200
  • Borussia Dortmund +4000
  • Napoli +4000
  • AS Roma +5000
  • Inter Milan +5000

Juventus and Manchester City On Top, Bayern and PSG Just Behind

Juventus haven’t tasted European glory since the 1996 season, but the Italian giants have solidified themselves as odds-on favorites with the addition of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. Juve have lacked a focal point going forward over the last few years. While he may no longer be in his peak athletic prime, Ronaldo is still an excellent target up front and a player capable of creating goals in bunches by himself.

Juve have won Serie A in each of the last 7 seasons. The addition of Ronaldo was pretty clearly a move geared toward taking the next step in European competition. Juventus have finished as Champions League runners-up 5 times since lifting the trophy in ’96. Close, but no cigar. The side last appeared in the Champions League Final 2 seasons ago, where they lost to…Ronaldo and Real Madrid.

Ronaldo was obviously the most noteworthy acquisition, but Juve have also signed ex-Valencia right back Joao Cancelo, former Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa, former Milan central defender Leonardo Bonucci, Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and Genoa keeper Mattia Perin this summer. Massimiliano Allegri’s side is clearly tired of finishing second. They’ve taken an incredibly aggressive approach to the summer’s transfer window. Obviously, they’re as stacked as any team in Europe, on paper.

As for City, they made it all the way to the Champions League quarterfinals this past season before being thrashed by fellow Premier League side Liverpool. It was surely a bitter disappointment for a side that finished a whopping 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table. City put together one of the best seasons in the history of the English top flight, but their European dreams were dashed earlier than expected.

While Juve have been active in the transfer market, it’s safe to say Pep Guardiola is happy enough with his squad’s production from last season. The only noteworthy addition to this point has been the signing of former Leicester City star man Riyad Mahrez. Mahrez was one of the biggest stars in England with the Foxes, and now he’s just one of the many stars Guardiola will be able to choose from on a week-to-week basis.

City are expected by many to finish atop the English top flight again this season. However, European glory remains elusive. The Citizens have not advanced past the semifinals in Champions League since their current run of excellence began in 2010.

Will City focus more on Europe this season than they did last year when winning the Premier League was their clear top priority? It’s tough to say. Of the two listed at the top, I prefer Juventus at +550 to City at the same value. Juve have by far the easier domestic campaign, which means they would theoretically have more gas in the tank to give a deep Champions League run their full attention. Juventus are an excellent value here, but I’m willing to pass on the idea of Manchester City as favorites.

Bayern Munich and Paris St. Germain are interesting values at +700 apiece. Of the two I slightly prefer the upside that comes with Paris. As is the case with Juve, the Parisians should have little issue running roughshod over Ligue 1 again. Between Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani, PSG have more talent in their front-three than the rest of the French league combined.

PSG have routinely disappointed in Champions League over the last few seasons, but we can give them something of a pass for their shortcomings last term as Neymar was forced to miss the latter half of the season with a foot injury. The Brazilian international has a legitimate claim to be the second-best player in the world, so his absence was obviously felt as Paris tried to survive without him.

Mbappe looked like the best player at this summer’s World Cup in Russia, and he will be primed to enjoy a huge individual campaign with renewed confidence at PSG. The French powerhouse has also installed a new manager in former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel with the hopes that the German will be the one to finally carry them over the top.

Bayern managed to hold on to Robert Lewandowski despite murmurs that the Polish striker wanted out, and Leon Goretzka is the team’s major signing of the summer. Bayern typically make deep runs into this tournament, but I think PSG have the better side if both are playing at full capacity. With both listed at +700, give me the French side.

Spanish Giants

As usual, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid are among the favorites. Madrid have won this tournament 4 times in the last 5 years, while Barcelona lifted the trophy a few years back after toppling Juventus in the final. Atletico Madrid have been runners-up in 2 of the last 4 years, losing to their intracity rivals in both finals.

The Blaugrana made a run to the quarterfinals in this competition last season, where they were beaten in shocking fashion on aggregate by AS Roma. Barca weren’t operating at full strength, however, as new January signing Philippe Coutinho was unable to participate after starting the season representing Liverpool in Champions League. Coutinho won’t be cup-tied moving forward, so Barca’s chances will be instantly boosted as a result.

New splash signing Malcom from Bordeaux figures to boost the team’s attack, while the defensive half of the field has been fortified with the signings of Arturo Vidal, Arthur and Clement Lenglet. Lucas Digne and Gerard Deulofeu are really the only losses of note. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez aren’t getting any younger, but let’s not forget this side stormed to an easy La Liga title last season. Their recent shortcomings in Champions League stand out, but Barca still have an incredibly talented side capable of beating anyone in the world.

Real Madrid is much more of a question mark. Los Blancos have reportedly been seeking a couple of potential replacements for the departed Ronaldo, but they have not yet made a splashy signing, and the transfer window is on the verge of slamming shut. You have to believe they will find someone before then, but the clock is ticking. The Chelsea tandem of Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois has been linked heavily with a move to the Spanish capital.

There is still enough talent left in the side to compete, even without Ronaldo. Gareth Bale was a massive key to the club’s 3-1 win in the final over Liverpool, as he supplied 2 of the 3 goals. Karim Benzema, who scored the opener, will also have added responsibility with Ronaldo gone.

Considering we don’t yet know who will be lining up for Real, I prefer Barcelona here at +600 to Madrid at +700.

What About England?

Liverpool is the trendy pick to win the Premier League this season, and with good reason. The Reds beat Manchester City in 3 fo the 4 head-to-head meetings last season, with the lone loss coming after star man Sadio Mane was sent off early in the first half for a foul against City keeper Ederson. 2 of those wins came in the Champions League quarterfinal tie.

Jurgen Klopp’s side has loaded up this summer with the signings of goalkeeper Alisson and midfielders Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri. Liverpool has also seen the arrival of playmaker Naby Keita, who was signed last summer but played for RB Leipzig before finally coming to England. With Emre Can being the lone major loss, the Reds look primed to make another deep run into Europe’s top competition. At +1000, they are easily my favorite value bet of any on the board here.

Manchester United haven’t done much at all in terms of transfers, but there are murmurs that Paul Pogba could be on his way back out. The Frenchman hasn’t lived up to expectations since becoming the world’s most expensive player a couple of summers ago, and the player is reportedly frustrated at the way he is used by Jose Mourinho. Mourinho isn’t one to change his mind about the way he wants to approach his tactics, so it sounds as though there’s smoke where there’s fire in this instance.

United actually finished second in the Premier League behind City last season. It will be interesting to see how Alexis Sanchez fares now that he’ll have had a full preseason to acclimate to his new teammates. The Chilean never fully found his footing after making the switch from Arsenal in January, but we know what kind of impact he’s capable of making. A potential loss of Pogba could be alleviated with Sanchez already in the fold.

Tottenham also hasn’t made much noise as far as transfers during this window. Spurs are essentially planning on running it back with the same squad that finished third in the Premier League last season. This side put up a good fight against Juve in the round of 16 before ultimately falling in Champions League. It’s a talented side, but I’m not much of a buyer in Spurs’ European hopes barring some sort of dramatic transfer signing.

Who Will Win?

In terms of betting profit potential, here are my favorite values bets to win the 2019 UEFA Champions League:

  1. Juventus +550
  2. Liverpool +1000
  3. Barcelona +600
  4. Manchester City +550
  5. Real Madrid +700
  6. Paris St. Germain +700
  7. Bayern Munich +700
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