Who will be crowned European champions?
The Champions League returns this week, with teams across the continent looking to either build on or bounce back from their matchday one results.
The nature of modern European football means that only around a quarter of the competition's participants have a realistic shot at lifting the trophy in May, but that hasn't stopped us ranking all 32 participants by their chances of success...
With Liverpool and Napoli alongside them in Group E, Genk knew that they would almost certainly need two positive results against Red Ball Salzburg to stand a chance of progressing to the last 16. Not ideal, then, that in Austria last week they were beaten 6-2.
A home clash with Napoli awaits this week, but it’s already hard to see the Belgian outfit finishing in the top two.
31. Slavia Prague
Slavia Prague exceeded expectations last time out, holding Inter to a 1-1 draw at San Siro. It could have been even better for the visitors, too: they led until the second minute of stoppage time, when Nicolo Barella stole a point for the hosts.
Nevertheless, it would be a sensational achievement if the Czech side were able to escape a group which also includes Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund.
30. Red Star Belgrade
One of the most famous nights in Red Star Belgrade's history came against Bayern Munich, whom they defeated in the semi-finals en route to European Cup glory in 1991. It was a different story two weeks ago, though, with Bayern easing to a 3-0 victory at the Allianz Arena.
A trip to Munich was never going to be easy, and Red Star will fancy their chances of upsetting at least one of Tottenham, Olympiacos or Bayern on their own patch. They're unlikely to have much to cheer beyond that, though.
29. Club Brugge
The good news for Club Brugge fans is that, as things stand, their team are poised to advance to the knockout stage. A goalless draw with Galatasaray - plus a superior disciplinary record - puts them in second spot in Group A, but they probably won't stay there for too long as Real Madrid prepare to belatedly kick-start their European campaign.
PSG complete this section, which leaves the Belgians with everything to do if they're to progress. A place in the Europa League looks like a more realistic target.
28. Lokomotiv Moscow
All things considered, Lokomotiv Moscow registered one of the most impressive results in the first week of Champions League action, beating Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 away from home. That win put them at the summit of Group D, but it's surely only a matter of time before Atletico Madrid join Juventus in the top two.
Lokomotiv finished second in the Russian Premier League last term, and are also there after 11 games this season. In that context, a Champions League probably isn't on the cards.
27. Dinamo Zagreb
Dinamo Zagreb's 4-0 thrashing of Atalanta a fortnight ago was one of the biggest shocks of matchday one, not least because many had earmarked the Italian outfit as potential dark horses in this season's tournament.
That will give Dinamo hope of progressing to the round of 16, although finishing ahead of Shakhtar Donetsk and Atalanta - Manchester City will almost certainly finish top of Group C - remains a tall order.
Group H is one of the most open in this season's competition, with Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia and Lille all harbouring realistic hopes of advancing. Yet it was the French side who were the biggest losers in the first round of games, going down 3-0 to Ajax to leave them rock bottom.
There's plenty of time to turn things around, of course, but the pressure is on ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Chelsea. Lille have lost some of the key men who helped them achieve a runners-up finish in Ligue 1 last time out, and they may soon decide that the Europa League knockout stage is their goal.
Galatasaray have assembled an eclectic squad this season, with Radamel Falcao, Ryan Babel, Jean Seri, Yuto Nagatomo and Steven Nzonzi all now plying their trade at the Turk Telekom Stadium.
That crop of players helped the team from Istanbul to a 0-0 draw at Club Brugge last time out, a satisfactory result in isolation but a disappointing one given that PSG and Real Madrid are overwhelming favourites to make it through.
24. Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer were upset by Lokomotiv Moscow in their first Champions League game of the season, going down 2-1 at home to the Russians. All is not lost, however, and the Bundesliga side still look best placed to challenge Atletico Madrid and Juventus for the top two spots.
There's no doubt that the draw wasn't kind to Bayer, though, and they'll need to be at their best if they're to upset either Atleti or Juve. A place in the last 16 would be a tremendous accomplishment.
Olympiacos fought from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Tottenham in matchday one, when they showed that they can be a match for anyone in front of their own fans. The Greek side haven't won the Super League title for two seasons - an absolute age for a club who triumphed in 19 of the previous 21 campaigns - but are unbeaten in all competitions since March 1.
If Spurs continue to wobble there's a chance that Olympiacos could sneak into the top two, but it's difficult to envisage anything more than a last-16 exit at best.
Atalanta were talked up ahead of their Champions League debut two weeks ago, with Gian Piero Gasperini rightly credited with building an excellent, attractive side in Bergamo. A 4-0 humbling at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb was far from the start they dreamed of, but the Serie A side shouldn't be written off just yet.
Indeed, Gasperini's side are arguably still favourites to qualify from Group C alongside Manchester City, even if they can ill afford any more slip-ups. Victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday is a must.
21. Shakhtar Donetsk
Shakhtar were also beaten on matchday one, but unlike upcoming opponents Atalanta, their defeat by Manchester City was to be expected. The Ukrainians will hope that their greater Champions League experience will give them the edge over both Atalanta and Dinamo Zagreb as Group C plays out in the coming months.
Yet while it wouldn't be a surprise to see Shakhtar in the knockout phase, the round of 16 is likely to be where their dream ends - they haven't made it further than that since 2010/11.
20. Red Bull Salzburg
Erling Braut Haaland was the star of matchday one, netting a hat-trick as Red Bull Salzburg won their first ever Champions League group-stage match 6-2 against Genk. They will now be seeking to cause a major upset at Anfield, the home of the reigning European champions, this week.
Jurgen Klopp won't be underestimating the Austrian champions, but they're still outsiders to reach the knockout stage in a group featuring Liverpool and Napoli.
19. Zenit Saint Petersburg
Zenit are back at the top table after three seasons in the Europa League, and they'll be looking to replicate their 2015/16 achievement of reaching the knockout rounds.
Group G is certainly one of the most competitive, with the absence of a genuine heavyweight boosting optimism around Saint Petersburg. The same feeling is being experienced at RB Leipzig, Lyon and Benfica, however, and Zenit's recent history suggests the last 16 is their limit.
Benfica head to Saint Petersburg this week knowing that defeat will put a huge dent in their chances of reaching the knockout stage following a 2-1 home loss to RB Leipzig last time out.
Despite that setback there is reason to believe Benfica can escape Group G: they were superb in the second half of last season, winning 18 of 19 games en route to the Portuguese title, and have a talented squad astutely led by the bright Bruno Lage.
For a team that was supposed to be in turmoil following the shock sacking of popular manager Marcelino, Valencia didn't do too badly in beating Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in matchday one.
Los Che shouldn't get ahead of themselves, though, with last season's semi-finalists up next and a potential tricky trip to Lille following in late October. Valencia may advance to the last 16, but there will be no repeat of their runs to the final in 2000 and 2001.
Rebuilding a squad is a semi-regular challenge for Lyon, who are having to adapt following the departures of Nabil Fekir, Ferland Mendy and Tanguy Ndombele in the summer. They're also under new management this term, with former Arsenal left-back Sylvinho now at the helm.
A season of transition therefore awaits for OL, who won't be replicating their 2010 charge to the semi-finals. Making it to the last 16 for the second year on the bounce would represent success of sort.
Antonio Conte doesn't take kindly to suggestions that his European record is sub-par, but it's certainly true that the Italian's best managerial achievements have all come in the domestic game.
A three-time Italian champion with Juventus and one-time Premier League winner with Chelsea, Conte has taken Inter to the top of Serie A after five games this term. A stuttering 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague two weeks ago suggests that the league remains his principal focus, which will be music to the ears of fellow Group F participants Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund.
Inter would probably beat Chelsea in a two-legged Champions League tie, but the Blues are still probably better placed to go all the way this season.
That doesn't mean we think they will - Frank Lampard's side have struggled enough against Premier League attacks, so the prospect of them beating Europe's leading lights to the continental crown is a little fanciful - but a favourable draw certainly works in their favour. Notwithstanding their 1-0 loss to Valencia, Chelsea should still be able to progress alongside one of los Che, Ajax or Lille.
Predictions that Ajax would be plundered after their superb run to the Champions League semi-finals last season didn't come to pass. Granted, Erik ten Hag is having to make do without Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt in 2019/20, but Hakim Ziyech, David Neres, Donny van de Beek and Andre Onana remain in situ.
A 3-0 victory over Lille two weeks ago served as notice that Ajax shouldn't be written off this term. Drawn into a winnable group, the Amsterdammers are potential dark horses this campaign.
12. RB Leipzig
Now under the management of Julian Nagelsmann, RB Leipzig look to have moved up a gear in the early weeks of 2019/20. The Bundesliga's most unpopular club led the way in Germany until defeat by Schalke last weekend, but do in their Champions League group after beating Benfica 2-1 last time out.
It's possible that Leipzig will sacrifice their European campaign if they're in with a genuine shout of the Bundesliga title in the new year, but they're certainly good enough to give any team in the competition a scare.
Given the malaise surrounding the club, it feels like a lot longer ago than five months that Tottenham were in a Champions League final. Mauricio Pochettino’s future is uncertain, and Spurs have developed an unfortunate habit of failing to win away from home – as they did against Olympiacos in matchday one.
Theirs is still a talented squad featuring an excellent centre-back partnership in Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, the varied talents of Son Heung-min, Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Winks, and one of the world’s best centre-forwards in Harry Kane. Spurs should reach the knockout rounds, but a repeat of last season’s achievement is unlikely.
10. Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Dortmund led Bayern Munich by nine points at one stage of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, only to miss out on the title on goal difference. That was undoubtedly the most painful outcome of last term for BVB, but a 4-0 aggregate defeat by Tottenham in the Champions League wasn't far behind.
It will be interesting to see how Dortmund attempt to balance domestic and European commitments this time around. If they're able to escape a group containing Inter and Barcelona, they certainly have the quality to go deep in the competition.
Napoli beat Liverpool at home in the Champions League last season, yet they still weren't able to get out of their group. That's likely to be different this term - PSG advanced with the Reds in 2018/19 - given that Red Bull Salzburg and Genk complete this section, and Carlo Ancelotti's side did their chances no harm with a 2-0 defeat of the holders on matchday one.
Ancelotti has a fabulous record in this competition, having lifted the trophy three times in the past. Napoli aren't as strong as his continent-conquering Milan and Real Madrid sides of old, but they're certainly worth keeping an eye on.
8. Bayern Munich
Bayern may have won the Bundesliga title last term, but Niko Kovac could easily have lost his job in the summer. The Croatian remains in the position for now, but it would take a huge improvement for Bayern to reach their first Champions League final since they won the tournament in 2013.
Robert Lewandowski has started the campaign on fire and could take the Bavarians further than expected, but a quarter-final or semi-final placing appears most likely.
7. Real Madrid
As far as starts go, a dismal 3-0 loss to PSG on matchday one wasn't ideal for Zinedine Zidane. Madrid haven't looked overly convincing in La Liga this season either, and stories have begun to circulate about potential successors to the Frenchman.
Yet although los Blancos' European invincibility was pierced by a fearless Ajax side last term, would anyone write them off once the Champions League knockout stage kicks into gear?
We've been here before with PSG. There's no doubt that their 3-0 triumph over Real Madrid on matchday one was impressive, but Ligue 1's perennial champions have turned in terrific performances against Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona in recent years, only to fold when the going gets tough.
If everything clicks then it's possible to envisage PSG finally going all the way in Europe, particularly if Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are at their best. But even after that defeat of Madrid, Thomas Tuchel's charges have a lot of convincing still to do.
5. Atletico Madrid
Atletico probably deserved to win at least one Champions League between 2014 and 2016, when they reached two of three finals but missed out to rivals Real Madrid on both occasions. Diego Simeone evolved his team in the summer, as Diego Godin, Juanfran, Filipe Luis, Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez bid farewell to the Wanda Metropolitano.
Nevertheless, Atletico remain one of Europe's toughest teams to beat, as Juventus found to their cost in squandering a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 in Madrid a fortnight ago. Don't bet against Simeone masterminding another run to the latter stages - although the trophy may be just beyond them.
Last season's semi-final collapse against Liverpool was one of the most embarrassing episodes in Barcelona's history, as they relinquished a three-goal lead from the first leg to bow out at Anfield.
Ernesto Valverde has since added Antoine Griezmann to his attacking arsenal, but there are few signs that Barcelona have made any progress since last term. Still, with Lionel Messi in tow, Barcelona are one of the leading contenders for the continental crown.
Having long since made a monopoly of Serie A, Juventus signed Cristiano Ronaldo with the express purpose of helping them to take the next step in Europe. For a club of their size, a record of just two Champions League triumphs is hugely underwhelming.
The main doubt about Juve right now is how well Maurizio Sarri's philosophy will align with a club who have historically prioritised winning over everything. There aren't many better crack-papering tools to have at your disposal than Ronaldo, though, while there's plenty of quality and experience elsewhere in the side.
Liverpool were disappointing in their 2-0 loss to Napoli in their first Champions League fixture of the season, but they won't give up their trophy without a fight. Some may argue that a Premier League title challenge could cause them to take their eye off the European ball, but Jurgen Klopp did a magnificent job of balancing the two in 2018/19, and it's difficult to see that not being the case again this year.
The one concern would be if Virgil van Dijk or one of the front three were ruled out for a significant amount of time, but Liverpool's first-choice XI is a match for anyone in Europe.
1. Manchester City
Pep Guardiola is undoubtedly one of the best managers of all time, but the absence of a Champions League winner's medal from his post-Barcelona collection is something he'll be desperate to put right. Guardiola has created arguably the Premier League's greatest ever team at the Etihad Stadium, and it's now time for Manchester City to claim the biggest prize of all.
Aymeric Laporte is a huge loss at centre-back, but there are very few other holes to pick in this side. Guardiola has been accused of excessively tinkering with his team in crunch European ties, but it's impossible not to make City favourites given the phenomenal talent at their disposal.
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