Football News

Ranked: All 16 teams left in the 2019/20 Champions League from best to biggest underdogs

By Squawka News

Champions League 2019/20 favourites - the best teams ranked

Published: 16:56, 5 February 2020 | Updated: 11:16, 7 February 2020

The 2019/20 Champions League group stages are over and the knockout rounds are nearly here.

This year’s last 16 is jam-packed with quality, with every single team coming from one of Europe’s top five leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1).

Some of the most decorated clubs in competition history have safely navigated their way to this stage and calling a winner now is almost impossible.

Nevertheless, we’ve had a look at all 16 teams to make it this far to form an opinion-based ranking list. Their performance in this season’s Champions League, their domestic division and the talent at their disposal have all been taken into account.

The 2019/20 Champions League last-16 knockout ties:

  • Dortmund v PSG
  • Real Madrid v Man City
  • Atalanta v Valencia
  • Atletico Madrid v Liverpool
  • Chelsea v Bayern Munich
  • Lyon v Juventus
  • Spurs v RB Leipzig
  • Napoli v Barcelona

So, who comes out on top? Read on to find out, and when you’re done let us know how you’d order the Champions League’s remaining 16 teams in the comments section below.

16. Lyon

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 2/2/2

Goals: 9

Conceded: 8

Currently sixth in Ligue 1, Lyon have this season been inconsistent both domestically and in continental competition, where they won just two for their six group games.

The likes of Moussa Dembele and Houssem Aouar still make them a force not to be taken lightly but given that star forward Memphis Depay and midfielder Jeff Reine-Adélaïde have both been ruled out for the season, we have little choice but to place them at the bottom of this pile.

15. Atletico Madrid

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/1/2

Goals: 8

Conceded: 5

Atletico Madrid are still as solid as ever, conceding just 15 goals in 22 La Liga games. But since the summer’s major rebuild, which involved losing Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, they’ve struggled for goals and have scored more than twice in an individual game on just three occasions this season. In 2020 the problem is no less acute. If you exclude the Spanish Super Cup, they have just one win and three goals from five games.

Champions League-wise, Diego Simeone’s men finished second to Juventus in Group D and are currently sixth in La Liga, but that doesn’t stop them from being something of a nightmare draw given their resolute defence.

Simeone, however, is a man under pressure and will be cursing the fact his side face Liverpool in the last 16. It doesn’t help that he may without a fit centre-forward to speak of at all for the first leg; Diego Costa is back in training but could face a fitness test ahead of the 18th.

14. Valencia

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 3/2/1

Goals: 9

Conceded: 7

Valencia can be proud of finishing above Chelsea, Ajax and Lille in Group H but it’s almost impossible to see them making a serious charge at the final.

Los Che have the second-highest number of goals (29) among La Liga’s top 10 this season and currently sit fifth in the table. Their defensive deficiencies, coupled with the lack of a credible, consistent goalscorer makes them a wildly unpredictable side.

That said, Valencia did beat Barcelona recently and Albert Celades will absolutely fancy his side’s chances against Atalanta in the last-16.

13. Napoli

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/3/0

Goals: 11

Conceded: 4

Napoli did fantastically well to hold Liverpool to a draw at Anfield while defeating them at home during the group stage, ensuring they qualified unbeaten having conceded just four goals in six games. However, their league form has been quite poor and off the field, they’ve had an absolute disaster.

Aurelio De Laurentiis has never been a shy owner, but his part in the civil war at Napoli shouldn’t be understated. His decision to sack Carlo Ancelotti and replace him with Gennaro Gattuso is questionable, too. In just one swoop, the San Paolo suddenly doesn’t seem that intimidating.

Taking on Barcelona is hardly an enviable task but the Partenopei did recently beat Juventus, proving they still have a big win in their locker.

12. Atalanta

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 2/1/3

Goals: 8

Conceded: 12

For a while there, it looked as if Atalanta’s Champions League debut was going to end in tears. Then they took seven points from their final three games and became the first-ever team to progress into the knockout rounds having lost their opening three group matches.

Given that this is their competition debut, Atalanta are obviously massive European rookies and are unlikely to go too much further in the competition, although their proven ability to grab shock results with their backs against the wall makes them a threat, as does the fact they’ve scored 59 goals in 22 Serie A games this season (for context, Liverpool have 59 in 25).

11. Chelsea

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/2/1

Goals: 11

Conceded: 9

Chelsea didn’t make it easy for themselves during the group stages and, having lost four of their lasts seven games across all competitions, are seriously off form.

Frank Lampard is inexperienced in this competition as a manager, as are the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Reece James: this could be their undoing when they face one of the real Champions League movers and shakers, Bayern Munich, over two legs.

There’s plenty of talent in that Chelsea squad, but this is a long-term project which is unlikely to bear fruit this time around.

10. Tottenham Hotspur

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/1/2

Goals: 18

Conceded: 14

Tottenham are currently enduring their most tumultuous campaign in recent memory having sacked Mauricio Pochettino and replaced him with Jose Mourinho, and that 7-2 defeat to Bayern was an undoubted low point.

That said, Spurs have genuinely improved under Mourinho and it’s easy to forget that most of this squad guided the club to last season’s Champions League final.

Mourinho is a proven winner and will always give Spurs a chance, but there’s no getting around the fact that Harry Kane’s injury leaves them at a huge deficit up top. The Portuguese tactician will look to Son-Heung Min, Lucas Moura and new signing Steven Bergwijn to plug the gap left by Kane.

9. RB Leipzig

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 3/2/1

Goals: 10

Conceded: 8

They may be loathed in Germany, but few can question the development of RB Leipzig over the past few years.

Julian Nagelsmann has guided Die Roten Bullen to second in the Bundesliga, losing just three of their 20 games so far, while they comfortably topped Group G with just one defeat in six.

Timo Werner has 25 goals across all competitions this season and is once again being linked with a number of European giants, while the likes of Marcel Sabitzer and Yussuf Poulsen offer Leipzig a number of options going forward.

Dayot Upamecano, Lukas Klostermann and Co. offer Nagelsmann’s side equally impressive options in defence and a last-16 match-up with Tottenham is one Leipzig are sure to be confident of winning.

8. Borussia Dortmund 

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/1/2

Goals: 8

Conceded: 8

So, Borussia Dortmund are a little inconsistent, but they did brilliantly to make it through their group at the expense of Inter Milan and are currently well involved in the Bundesliga title race.

Moreover, the January addition of Ering Braut Haaland to their ranks has turned Dortmund into a ruthless goalscoring machine and with the Norwegian stacking up alongside the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus, Lucien Favre’s men have an arsenal capable of hurting any side in Europe.

Their high-risk, progressive style can lead to a few cataclysmic errors but Dortmund will nonetheless prove tricky for any side they come up against.

7. Manchester City

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 4/2/0

Goals: 16

Conceded: 4

As much as Pep Guardiola insists he’s happy with the players at his disposal, that threadbare defence has seriously cost Manchester City in the Premier League, with the defending champions now a massive 22 points behind leaders Liverpool. The Citizens have already conceded 29 goals in 25 games, having only let in 23 throughout the whole of last season.

On the European front, though, things have been a little more comfortable with Man City only allowing four goals and scoring 16 in six games. Guardiola’s men went through the groups unbeaten and although a home draw with Shakhtar Donetsk wasn’t an ideal result, it did little to dampen the initial stage of their Champions League campaign.

In Kevin De Bruyne, they have arguably the best playmaker in Europe right now, while any one of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling or Bernardo Silva can unlock a defence in an instant.

It’s time to get that Champions League monkey off City’s back: although that defence will worry fans, they have an immense amount of firepower at the other end. Now it’s just the small matter of getting past Real Madrid in the last 16.

The favourites to win the Champions League, according to bookmakers…

  • Man City (7/2): Face Real Madrid in the last 16, having reached the quarter-finals last season (where they were knocked out by Spurs amid VAR-themed controversy).
  • Liverpool (9/2): Top of the Premier League and reigning European champions. They face a misfiring Atletico Madrid side in the last 16.
  • Barcelona (11/2): Napoli await La Liga’s reigning champions in the first round of the knockout stages. Barca have been semi-finalists during the previous two seasons.
  • Bayern (13/2): Will play Chelsea in their next Champions League outing. In Robert Lewandowski, the habitual Bundesliga winners have this UCL season’s top scorer so far.
  • PSG (13/2): Can they crack their last-16 mental block? With Neymar most likely available this time, they should back themselves to deal with Dortmund this month.

6. PSG

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 5/1/0

Goals: 17

Conceded: 2

So often guilty of failing on the European stage, PSG were unstoppable in Group A, scoring 17 goals, conceding just twice and going unbeaten.

A 3-0 thrashing of Real Madrid without having any of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe or Edinson Cavani at their disposal has been the undoubted high point for Thomas Tuchel’s side so far and they’ll head into the knockout rounds unburdened by a close title race: unsurprisingly, PSG are already 12 points clear of second-place Marseille at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG now have Mbappe back, while Mauro Icardi’s impressive run goes on, but Neymar continues to struggle for consistent fitness; if this carries on, their European hopes could be in doubt. The French champions look in decent shape nonetheless – could this be the year when they finally throw off the European shackles?

5. Bayern Munich

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 6/0/0

Goals: 24

Conceded: 5

Bayern Munich absolutely steamrollered their way through the group stages, scoring 24 goals in six games – all of which they won – while notching up that famous 7-2 win over Tottenham and a 6-0 win away at Red Star Belgrade.

Domestically, the Bavarians haven’t had it all their own way but recently returned to the top of the Bundesliga table. Robert Lewandowski has once again reminded us all why he’s the best centre-forward in world football, scoring 10 goals in just five Champions League appearances and 33 in 28 across all competitions.

If he and the likes of Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman can keep up their electric form, there are few teams in any competition that are capable of stopping this Bayern side, provided they can tighten up at the back.

4. Juventus

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 5/1/0

Goals: 12

Conceded: 4

Juventus are being pushed hard by Inter and Lazio in Serie A but in Europe, they’ve been absolutely dominant so far this season.

The Old Lady breezed through a group containing Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow in extremely impressive style, conceding just four goals in six games and going unbeaten.

On their day, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala can tear you apart going forward, while defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have bags of experience and can suffocate you into submission.

Maurizio Sarri won his first-ever piece of major silverware as a manager in the Europa League last season, and he will be hell-bent on following that up with the Champions League as he seeks to make an impression in Turin.

3. Barcelona

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 4/2/0

Goals: 9

Conceded: 4

Ernesto Valverde came in for some criticism, but he still managed to guide Barcelona out of a group containing Borussia Dortmund and Inter Milan. Now under Quique Setien, the Blaugrana have slipped to second in La Liga but remain just three points behind Real Madrid and have a favourable Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli.

As long as Barca have a fit and healthy Lionel Messi in their ranks, they stand a chance of beating anyone, while Antoine Griezmann is a match-winner of the highest order.

Barca have had to rely more on their defensive solidity this season, rather than their often unstoppable attack, hardly a bad thing considering how they collapsed at Anfield last season.

2. Real Madrid

Group finish: 2nd

W/D/L: 3/2/1

Goals: 14

Conceded: 8

Real are three points clear of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table, but they’re hardly convincing the masses this season.

Los Blancos took a beating in France against PSG in September and played out a disappointing 2-2 draw with Club Brugge at the start of October.

Still, Karim Benzema has been a force of nature of the last 18 months and if Zinedine Zidane can just get some of his other attacking pieces firing consistently, who knows what Real could achieve.

Speaking of Zidane, he’s won this competition three times as a manager. You can’t put a price on that sort of experience.

1. Liverpool

Group finish: 1st

W/D/L: 4/1/1

Goals: 13

Conceded: 8

The reigning European champions and runaway Premier League leaders, Liverpool have become absolute juggernauts and are undoubtedly the best team on the planet right now, their Fifa Club World Cup win in December only being further proof of that.

Whether it’s a front three of Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane tearing you apart, full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold peppering your box with crosses or Virgil van Dijk and Alisson making scoring a goal seem harder than flying to Mars, Liverpool really do have it all.

A last-16 tie against Atletico Madrid is never a favourable draw but Jurgen Klopp’s men have been more like a machine than a football team this season. It’s hard to see them crashing out at this stage.


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