OVERVIEW OF: Will The Champions League Go Back To Spain In May?
The Spanish La Liga is represented by three teams as the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 gets underway this week.
Giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are joined in the knockout stages by La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid.
The former two had shared five successes between 2014-18 with Atletico Madrid losing to their city rivals in two of those finals.
Since then, Liverpool took the Champions League trophy to England in 2019 and Bayern Munich to Germany last season.
According to a study conducted by Betway, neither of the Spanish trios should be considered among the immediate favorites. And they’re not – Atleti and Barca are both at 14/1 whilst Zinedine Zidane’s side are back at 16/1 with the bookmaker.
The infographic below explains that the most valuable squads usually go the furthest in the competition. And the three most valuable clubs are the current favourites too – Bayern Munich and Manchester City are the joint-favorites at 3/1, followed by 15/2 Liverpool.
Spanish teams should never be written off this millennium though, having won 10 of the 21 tournaments.
Atletico Madrid will be fancied as a solid outside bet by many. Diego Simeone’s side are the current La Liga leaders and have the league’s top scorer in Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan has a lot of support in the attack too – Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente, Angel Correra and Saul to name a few.
Simeone’s side has always had a strong defence too. However, they finished seven points behind Bayern Munich in the group stage, including a 0-4 thrashing at the Allianz Arena. A matchup against Chelsea should favour them reaching the quarter-finals though.
Barcelona made a very slow start to their season domestically, but Lionel Messi and co have found form in recent weeks as they look to wrestle the league away from Madrid.
Ronald Koeman’s side shouldn’t be written off, particularly after collecting 15 points in the group stage. Antoine Griezmann does need to step up though as Messi has largely carried them in recent months in the league.
Questions remain over their defence too. Despite having one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the German isn’t protected too well by the defence in front of him. The 21 goals conceded in 22 games is the most among teams in La Liga’s top five. Paris Saint-Germain are their opponents in the next round and a tie well worth finding a Champions League stream to watch.
Real Madrid was outside of the top two places with two games to go in the Champions League group stage before winning out. Zinedine Zidane’s side are having a tough time of it but are expected to progress past Atalanta in the Round of 16.
Defensively they have been performing very well but the problems have been at the other end of the pitch. Madrid have been held 0-0 by Real Sociedad and Osasuna in the league this season, whilst beaten 0-1 at home by Cadiz back in October.
Karim Benzema top scores in the league but no other player has more than four goals. If Eden Hazard, Vinicius Junior, Lucas Vazquez, Toni Kroos etc. cannot chip in with more goals then it’s hard to make a case for a 14th Champions League title.