As World Cup comes to an end, which teams will contest UEFA Champions League knockout stages
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If you are a fan of soccer, this has been one of the best seasons on record.
Not only did you get one of the most exciting World Cup tournaments in recent memory, but it came right in the midst of the domestic and UEFA European action.
Now that the 2022 Qatar World Cup is finished, we can get back to matches all around Europe, and there is not much of a break: Monday, December 19 was an off day, then the English Football League Carabao Cup Round of 16, along with the Spanish Copa del Rey, were back with games on Tuesday, December 20.
The Premier League is back on Boxing Day, with La Liga midweek before the new year. If you are a fan of the three UEFA competitions, though, you have to wait a little longer. Because the Champions League had to be condensed, we already know the 16 teams that will continue to play in search of the European Cup, with the final Saturday, June 10 in Istanbul, Turley.
Real Madrid is the defending champion, after completing the greatest run through a knockout stage in the tournament’s history. Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat 2020 runner-up PSG in the Round of 16, 2021 champions Chelsea in the quarterfinal, 2021 runner-up (and two-time Premier League champion) Manchester City in the semifinals, and 2019 champion Liverpool in the final.
Will Real Madrid win a 15th title this year, or will this be the year of one of the new European powerhouses like PSG or Manchester City?
Here is the schedule for the Round of 16 games starting in mid-February:
Champions League Round of 16 draw results
|Match||1st Leg||2nd Leg|
|Bayern Munich vs. PSG||Feb. 14||March 8|
|Tottenham vs. AC Milan||Feb. 14||March 8|
|Chelsea vs. Borussia Dortmund||Feb. 15||March 7|
|Benfica vs. Club Brugge||Feb. 15||March 7|
|Napoli vs. Eintracht Frankfurt||Feb. 21||March 15|
|Real Madrid vs. Liverpool||Feb. 21||March 15|
|Porto vs. Inter Milan||Feb. 22||March 14|
|Manchester City vs. RB Leipzig||Feb. 22||March 14|
Here are the odds to win the Champions League according to various online sports books:
2023 Champions League Winner Odds
As you can see, Manchester City is the heavy favorite (in fact, the Cityzens are clear favorites to win all four competitions they are in right now with SI Sportsbook bonus deal around the country) to win its first European Cup and join the likes of Aston Villa, Hamburger SV, Steaua Bucharesti, and Crvena Zvezda with one title.
But the rest of the teams behind them are going to see their odds drop once they get through the Round of 16 ties. The winners of the PSG Bayern Munich and Real Madrid Liverpool battles will see those odds drop closer to Manchester City, so if you like one of those teams, now might be the time to back them.
Last year, Real Madrid was priced at +2500 or more when the 14-time champions trailed PSG 1-0 after the first leg of the Round of 16, and you could have gotten Carlo Ancelotti’s side at +1500 before the quarterfinals.
Who will come away with the title? We will see on June 10 in Turkey.
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