Football Previews

Squawka’s (revised) 2018/19 Champions League predictions

By Squawka News

Published: 11:00, 9 March 2019 | Updated: 13:57, 18 March 2019

Finally, Europe’s biggest and best competition is back this week with some of the continent’s most established clubs battling it out for a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Eight teams play this week and eight the next, with four English sides still in the competition at the round-of-16.

Usual European giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich are all still heavily involved in the competition.

The four English sides left in Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur will all hope to go one step further than what the Reds did last season.

Perhaps a surprise package will come in and steal the crown, with Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, Lyon, FC Porto and Ajax all potential banana skins for the alleged bigger clubs.

At the beginning of the campaign, we asked some of our writers who they backed for European glory this season, with some of their predictions sinking a few matches into the group stages!

So, we gave them an opportunity to change their answers. Why? Because we’re kind like that!

Here are our writers’ predictions on what is going to happen from this point in the Champions League, with some pretty varying and surprising results.

Chris Smith (@CJSmith91)

Overall winner: Manchester City

Dark horse: Lyon

Biggest flop: Real Madrid

Top scorer: Lionel Messi

Breakthrough talent: Matthijs de Ligt

Furthest advancing English side: Manchester City

Champions League final score prediction: Man City 2-1 Barcelona

City were my pick to win it at the start of the season, so I’m not going to change my mind now – even if they did lose to Lyon, who I think are one of the most quietly dangerous sides in Europe.

Real Madrid are looking slightly better under Santiago Solari but could come unstuck against the youthful exuberance of Ajax. Even if they get past the Dutch giants, some big challenges await.

And speaking of Dutch talent, Matthijs de Ligt may well be the key to Ajax’s progression past Los Blancos. We’re familiar with his name already, but this is De Ligt’s biggest challenge at club level to date and I’m backing him to shine and guide the Amsterdam side into the quarterfinals.

I’m tipping Barcelona to go all the way to the final and with that, Lionel Messi to keep on tearing defences apart and finish as this season’s top scorer, although Man City will pip them to the main prize at the end.

Muhammad Butt (@muhammadbutt)

Overall winner: Barcelona

Dark horse: Borussia Dortmund

Biggest flop: Atlético Madrid

Top scorer: Lionel Messi

Breakthrough talent: Jadon Sancho

Furthest advancing English side: Liverpool

Champions League final score prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Liverpool

Barcelona have to be considered the favourites for the Champions League, both because Lionel Messi decreed that they should win it pre-season but also because they have shown the most competence and quality of all major challengers, with the likes of Ousmane Dembélé providing a genuine X-factor as well.

The likes of Borussia Dortmund (powered by the sensational Jadon Sancho) and Liverpool should make deep runs in the competition (unlike Atlético Madrid) but just as in 1960 it will be the Blaugrana who finally end Real Madrid’s domination of the European Cup in Spain’s capital city on June 1.

Sam Long (@samuelplong)

Overall winner: Manchester City

Dark horse: Spurs

Biggest flop: Bayern Munich

Top scorer: Lionel Messi

Breakthrough talent: Jadon Sancho

Furthest advancing English side: Manchester City

Champions League final score prediction: Barcelona 1-2 Man City

City’s progress appeared to be waning over the festive period, but they are now threatening to hit top gear at a crucial stage of the season.

The Champions League is the trophy Sheikh Mansour wants above all else and I believe Guardiola will have learned some valuable lessons from last season’s quarter-final exit.

Meanwhile, Jadon Sancho is the name on everybody’s lips, but he remains an unknown quantity to those whose sole focus is Premier League football. Expect to him to truly announce his arrival when he faces Spurs.

Tom Green (@onlyoneTomGreen)

Overall winner: Juventus

Dark horse: Manchester United

Biggest flop: FC Porto

Top scorer: Cristiano Ronaldo

Breakthrough talent: Vinícius Júnior

Furthest advancing English side: Manchester City (semi-finals)

Champions League final score prediction: Juventus 2-1 Barcelona

Having Man United as dark horses a couple of weeks ago would have been insane but with the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer effect in full swing, it’s exciting to see how they will fair in the Champions League.

However, in terms of the full competition, I’m going to have to go with Juventus and Mr Champions League himself, Cristiano Ronaldo. The man just thrives in this competition and I’m backing him to do it again.

Will Eldridge (@willgeorgejourn)

Overall winner: Barcelona

Dark horse: FC Porto

Biggest flop: Liverpool

Top scorer: Kylian Mbappe

Breakthrough talent: Vinícius Júnior

Furthest advancing English side: Manchester City (semi-finals)

Champions League final score prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Juventus

There is something in my mind that is telling me that surely it is impossible that Real Madrid get their hands on yet another Champions League trophy. Every season they defy my thought process but I think this year may be the time for someone else to claim the ultimate honour.

Step forward, arch-rivals Barcelona, who face Lyon – tough but beatable – in the round-of-16 and would be considered strong favourites against the vast majority of those in the quarter-finals.

My final four would consist of Barca, Juventus, City and PSG – depending on future draws – with Mbappe’s firepower just shy of gaining Thomas Tuchel’s side a Champions League final place.

Strong view; I can see Liverpool exiting at the hands of Bayern Munich with Premier League domination on their minds.