Matt Pitt | Thu 08/09/2016 - 12:43 EDT

Champions League Preview

2016-7 UEFA Champions League Predictions 

By Matt Pitt

The 2016-17 UEFA Champions League has some awesome teams in it this year, giants in their respective countries, teams that are going to be there or thereabouts when the trophy is awarded. 

Below are my three teams who I think are going to challenge for the Champions League title, and a couple of so-called dark horses to keep a look out for.

Potential Champions League Winners

Barcelona: +300 to win the Champions League

BarcelonaThere is no soccer fan in their right mind who would not have Barcelona in any prediction piece about winning a major soccer tournament; if you meet one, run for the hills! Barcelona have won the Champions League, or European Cup as it was formerly known, five times, the last time being in 2014-15 when they beat Juventus 3-1.

Featuring Luis Suarez, Neymar Jr. and Lionel Messi in a star-studded attack, Barcelona have the best strike force in modern soccer, and probably the best front line of all-time, at least arguably.

They do, however, have a relatively tough group featuring Scotland’s Celtic FC, Manchester City, and Borussia Monchengladbach, but they should top that group with Man City trailing closely behind.

Barcelona are -275 to win Group C and +300 to go all the way and win the Champions League.

Bayern Munich: +400 to win the Champions League

BayernGermany’s Bayern Munich may have lost Pep Guardiola as their manager, but in Carlos Ancelotti they have a manager that could deliver their first Champions League since 2012-13.

Bayern have brought in the exceptional centre back Mats Hummels from Dortmund for £29.75 million, and also signed Portuguese youngster Renato Sanches for the same amount from Benfica. These two additions are superb signings and make me believe that Bayern could well be this year’s Champions League champions.

Munich does have Atletico Madrid in the group stages, but FC Rostov should be a guaranteed six points, while PSV Eindhoven are not the team they once were. Bayern are -250 to top Group D, easy money if you want it.

Real Madrid: +500 to win the Champions League

Real Madrid

Real Madrid are the reigning Champions League champions having beaten local rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties in the final after the game ended in a 1-1 tie.

Real have been uncharacteristically quiet in the transfer market this summer, but if you look at their squad you can see little need to strengthen any area of it.

Rumors are circulating about Cristiano Ronaldo’s future, although I believe he will see out his contract at the club so that should not be a problem. There are also ongoing contract negotiations with Gareth Bale that could play on the Welshman’s mind so watch for his performances early on.

Real Madrid face Borussia Dortmund, Legia Warsaw, and Sporting Lisbon in Group F, a group they are -200 favorties to win.

Outside Chances to Win the Champions League

Manchester City: +1200 to win the Champions League

Man CityBig spending Manchester City could be a great outside bet for Champions League glory this year, especially as they have Pep Guardiola as their manager.

Guardiola loves the Champions League and has already stated that he aims to win it during his first season at the club. The Spaniard has spent £181.05 million bringing in the likes of John Stones, Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito, and Claudio Bravo to the club, who already had a very strong squad to start with.

City should progress from Group C along with Barcelona, leaving Monchengladbach and Celtic in their wake. +1200 odds could shorten dramatically if Guardiola’s men perform well in the group, so if you want to bet on them winning the Champions League, now is the time to do so.

Atletico Madrid: +1400 to win the Champions League

AtleticoAtletico Madrid reached the final of last year’s tournament, but lost on penalties to arch rivals Real Madrid. This year could see a repeat performance not only because they have strengthened their squad, but by keeping some key personnel.

Diego Simeone stayed as manager and that is a huge bonus to the club. As was keeping Antoine Griezmann; the French forward is an immense talent.

Throw into the mix the £27.2 million signing of centre forward Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla, and talented winger Nico Gaitan, and Atletico start to look like a very good, organised team with dangerous players in all positions.

Our Picks:

Barcelona To Win Champions League +300
Bayern Munich To Make The Finals

Do You Agree These Are The 20 Best Champions League Goals From 2016?