Year in and year out, the talk around town for football Scores and odds prediction experts when speaking of the UEFA Champions League and its favorite teams to take home the title usually revolves around the same squads. On the one side you have French giants PSG, who after signing Messi, Ramos, and Wijnaldum, all veteran players with ample UCL title winning experience, are hoping for this year to be the season in which they finally come out on top. On the other hand, you have defending champions Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, all perennial favorites to win it all given the sheer dominance that they show in every outing. But what about the teams we might not be looking into as much?
The UCL tournament is usually one where favoritism can take a team to only certain extents, and while on paper holding the title of “favorites” might carry a big deal of importance, surprises and upsets are always waiting to happen. With this said, we bring you our picks of our two favorite sleeper teams that can surprise all fans and experts with a deep UCL run this season.
Atlético de Madrid
Spanish “La Liga” champions Atletico de Madrid are once again in a position of both strength and uncertainty when it comes to the UEFA Champions League. For years now, the team managed by Diego Simeone has been a constant fixture in the final stages of the UCL tournaments with heartbreak ultimately catching up to them before any significant triumphs are obtained. This year though, the spirits around Madrid’s other football team are running higher than ever.
With the signing of French goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte to play as backup to star saver Jan Oblak, Argentinian midfielder Rodrigo De Paul, as well as Brazilian striker Matheus Cunha, the team looked to be heading in the right direction of where “El Cholo” wanted to take them. But it wasn’t until one of the biggest surprises of the summer transfer market happened, which happened on the deadline of the market, when Antoine Griezmann, former Atletico de Madrid star, who left Madrid to play for Barcelona once again returned to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium to try and relive the best moments of his career, donning the Atletico jersey once again.
This automatically boosted Atlético de Madrid’s odds not just in the Spanish title race but in the UCL favorites lists, especially when taking into account what an attacking pairing of Luis Suarez and Griezmann could do if in full form. If Atletico de Madrid is able to piece this team together in the best way possible, finding a proper way to balance Simeone’s ultra-defensive schemes and the newly acquired attacking powers the team has, not only will they end up snatching one of the qualifying spots in their cutthroat group, that has them playing against Portuguese team Porto, Italian giants AC Milan and English titans Liverpool, this team could end up becoming a serious threat down the line as title aspirations seriously come into play.
PSG fans were hoping that Messi’s arrival in Paris would have the same effect as CR7’s return to Manchester, but boy were they in for something completely different. While Messi is still trying to find his form in France, CR7 came back home to Manchester United swinging and going at all speeds, automatically making United a threat to any team standing in their way once again. Ronaldo looks like he has not skipped a beat whatsoever and is ready to lead United back to the title adorned promised land that the team has been missing out on for what seems like an eternity now.
Add to that the effect that the signings of players like French defender Raphael Varane and English youth star striker Jadon Sancho have brought to the team and you can see why the hype around United is real. Manchester United were able to put together a team that does not only look as fit as ever to take the EPL title once again, but also to remind everyone around why the UCL tournament needs teams like theirs to be in top competing shape. While their start in the tournament saw them taking a fall in Switzerland against Young Boys, it shouldn’t take long for CR7 and United to bounce back, take command of the group and make their way into the elimination rounds, where surely no team will want to face them head to head.