We’ve had the qualifying rounds, the now-tedious draw, and talks of a new Uefa competition. But now we’re down to real business and the Champions League group stage is back.
This year’s competition sees some big teams missing out and some lesser-known teams but there’s also a few well-overdue returns from the likes of Inter Milan.
With these 32 teams comes an array of attacking talent, whether it’s a striker partnership, a frightening trio or overloaded quartet.
But which team has the best attack in the 2018/19 Champions League? Read on to find out Squawka’s top 10.
10. Keita Balde, Mauro Icardi & Ivan Perisic
For Inter Milan
Inter Milan are back in the Champions League and boy it is good to see them. Though Inter’s formation may change this season, their favoured attacking trio looks mouthwatering.
Keita Balde, a keen dribbler, will likely operate as a wing forward giving Ivan Perisic another man to aim for with his decisive balls around the area. And in Mauro Icardi, Inter have one of the most exciting strikers in Europe, ready to finish off anything inside the box.
9. Jesse Lingard, Romelu Lukaku & Alexis Sanchez
For Manchester United
When Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez are on their game, Manchester United’s attack can be as dangerous as any, especially when accompanied by a third man in Jesse Lingard.
Sanchez’s time at Arsenal has seen him moulded into more of a striker than a winger, but playing out wide can still reap rewards especially with Lukaku in the middle as the raiding striker. Lingard, as an extra, will take most of the creative onus of the team dropping deeper to link up with the midfield.
8. Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski & Franck Ribery
For Bayern Munich
Believe it or not, the attacking trio of Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski and Franck Ribery is still going strong at Bayern Munich.
Robben and Ribery perfectly compliment each other with their playing styles, as they always have, with Ribery the slow creator and Robben still attacking defences at pace, cutting inside onto his left foot before scoring. And with Lewandowski in between them, Bayern can threaten from all angles.
7. Antoine Griezmann & Diego Costa
For Atletico Madrid
With Diego Costa back in the Champions League with Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone has arguably the best strike partnership in the competition.
Costa is horrible to play against, using his power and aggression to practically bully his way to goal, while Antoine Griezmann is the light-footed technical player who will dance through opponents handing out ‘Ls’.
6. Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Aguero & Raheem Sterling
For Manchester City
Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches both on and off the pitch, with so many attacking players to choose from to lead their line.
But this is their most likely go-to choice in the Champions League, utilising the pace, guile and finishing of Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Sergio Aguero respectively to hit opposition defences where it hurts.
5. Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo & Paulo Dybala
With Juventus just three games into the new Serie A season, the quartet of Douglas Costa, Mario Mandzukic, Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala are yet unable to truly show what they can do.
But when they do get running, Juventus are going to hurt a lot of defences with Costa’s pace and creativity, Mandzukic’s finishing, Dybala’s dribbling and Ronaldo’s all-round game.
4. Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema & Marco Asensio
For Real Madrid
A Ronaldo-less attack but still a Champions League-winning one nonetheless, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio will have to go some way to make up for their former team-mate’s departure.
However, the absence of Ronaldo will see Benzema and Bale get more involved with the goalscoring as they did in the Champions League final, building an understanding among themselves while Asensio can now have more freedom to push further forward.
3. Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez & Ousmane Dembélé
Though they may not have impressed too much in Europe last season, Barcelona’s attack consisting of Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi will cause untold problems when in full force.
In reality, Messi plays wherever he wants, picking the ball up from deep linking with the midfielders but will always find himself in an attacking position when the team needs him to be. In Dembele, Barcelona have an ambipedal superstar and Suarez remains a deadly finisher.
2. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino & Sadio Mané
This time last season, Liverpool’s attacking trio of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane had people dreaming of how dangerous they can be.
One year on, we all know, as they have used their pace and Jurgen Klopp’s direct style of play to become one of the most terrifying trios in European football.
With Salah and Mane attacking as wing-forwards and Firmino occupying the false nine role, these three are extremely hard to keep hold of.
Napoli (Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens & Jose Callejon), Tottenham Hotspur (Harry Kane & Lucas Moura), PSV Eindhoven (Steven Bergwijn, Luuk de Jong & Hirving Lozano), Ajax (Dusan Tadic, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar & Hakim Ziyech)
1. Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani & Neymar
For Paris Saint-Germain
This is the one.
Last season we were robbed of the true Champions League experience of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Neymar due to the latter’s injury and a tough last-16 draw against Real Madrid.
But now is the time for the trio to make their mark, with Neymar taking the brunt of the creative work, Cavani working hard up and down the pitch, getting himself into the finishing positions, and Mbappe providing the magic we have now come to expect from the World Cup-winning teenager.