HomeSportsFootballQuest for European Glory: Ranking the Giants in UEFA Champions League 2023-24
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Quest for European Glory: Ranking the Giants in UEFA Champions League 2023-24

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This UEFA Champions League’s final 16 is taking place. After five rounds of group-stage competition, 16 teams have now advanced to the knockout tournament.

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Real Madrid, the most successful side in the competition, and Manchester City, the reigning champions, have both won every game they have played so far. Inter, Bayern Munich, Real Sociedad, and Atletico Madrid are the only teams that have not lost.

Barcelona has already qualified out of their group for the first time in three years, and Arsenal’s varied offensive skill is equally impressive. However, Paris Saint-Germain is at grave risk of failing at the first hurdle.

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Which teams are likely to challenge Manchester City for the title this season? The following is a ranking and rating of every team still in the running in the UEFA Champions League 2023/2024.

UEFA Champions League (UCL) Team Rankings

Team Names
Manchester City
Real Madrid
Bayern Munich
Arsenal
Barcelona
Paris Saint-Germain
Inter Milan
AC Milan
Atletico Madrid
Borussia Dortmund
Manchester United
Galatasaray
Newcastle United
Porto FC
Napoli
Lazio
RB Leipzig
Real Sociedad
FC Copenhagen
Shakhtar Donetsk
PSV
Braga FC

Manchester City

Manchester City | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

The champions Manchester City have a perfect record but have not been flawless. Despite competing’s weakest group, City has only kept one clean sheet so far, against Young Boys at home, and was forced to come from two goals down to beat RB Leipzig on Tuesday, after what midfielder Phil Foden admitted was the worst 45 minutes, he’d ever seen from Pep Guardiola’s side. Nonetheless, the Catalans will be confident in defending their crown for several reasons. First and foremost, Kevin De Bruyne will return from injury soon. Second, City is always at its best in the second half of the season.

Real Madrid

Real Madrid | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Is Jude Bellingham currently the top player in the world? If he isn’t, he’s coming dangerously close. The England international simply cannot be stopped, scoring one goal and creating another in Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Napoli, which kept Real Madrid’s spotless record in Group C intact. Joselu also scored at the Santiago Bernabeu, but instead of celebrating, he apologized to the supporters for wasting several chances earlier in the season, and the concern remains that Los Blancos will suffer for failing to buy a successor for Karim Benzema during the summer. For the time being, however, Bellingham in this state appears to be capable of anything.

Bayern Munich

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Bayern Munich had already secured first place in Group A following matchday four, so the 0-0 draw with Copenhagen at the Allianz Arena shouldn’t be taken too seriously. But there’s no hiding the reality that the Bavarians have made hard work of a relatively weak group and are being overshadowed in the Bundesliga by Xabi Alonso’s excellent Bayer Leverkusen team. Although Tuchel still has work to do, Harry Kane provides him with the kind of prolific goal scorer he was lacking last year.


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Arsenal

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

The Gunners deserve enormous respect for how they responded to a humiliating defeat in Lens, with Mikel Arteta’s men reeling off three consecutive victories, including Wednesday’s thumping of the same opponents, which sealed top spot in Group B. Overall, Arsenal haven’t played with the same fluidity as last season, and there are major doubts about the goalkeeping position, but there is a steeliness about them these days that suggests they may do some serious damage in the knockout stage. They are the Premier League leaders for a reason, and they are relishing their long-awaited return to Europe’s top tournament.

Barcelona

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Barcelona hasn’t fared well in the Champions League this season. They’ve even underperformed in La Liga, which has added to the pressure on Xavi in recent weeks. After a disastrous loss to Shakhtar Donetsk, they proved their mettle by coming from behind to defeat Porto, courtesy of an amazing performance from Joao Cancelo. The suspicion remains that this rather boring and unusually pragmatic Barcelona side will eventually be exposed against stronger opposition, but the Catalans have avoided a third consecutive group-stage exit, which is a huge boost for the club both athletically and financially.

Paris Saint-Germain

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Paris Saint-Germain’s fate remains in their own hands, and they can still win Group F if they defeat Borussia Dortmund. But now comes the bad news: Luis Enrique’s men are still struggling, and if they fail to win at a noisy Signal Iduna Park on matchday six, they face an embarrassing group-stage departure. PSG had more than enough chances to beat Newcastle handily on Tuesday, but they only managed a point thanks to a controversial penalty decision. It’s also worth noting that seven points is their lowest total after five games since 2004–05, when they failed to advance to the knockout stage.

Inter Milan

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Simone Inzaghi’s decision to make wholesale changes to his starting lineup looked set to backfire spectacularly against Benfica, with the already-qualified Nerazzurri trailing 3-0 in Lisbon after a hat-trick from Joao Mario in the first half. However, Inter’s second-string stepped up in the second half, albeit with help from some of the first-team players who came off the bench and earned a point, ensuring that last season’s runners-up finished first in Group D by defeating top-seed opponents Real Sociedad at San Siro on matchday six.


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AC Milan

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

So, maybe firing Paolo Maldini and embracing ‘Moneyball’ wasn’t such a bad idea after all—who knew? AC Milan are “in pieces,” according to the Gazzetta dello Sport, after a catastrophic 3-1 loss at home to Borussia Dortmund, which has dropped them to the bottom of Group F with one round remaining. Stefano Pioli’s side must now defeat Newcastle at St James’ Park and hope that Dortmund defeats PSG if they are to advance. There are no other options, and based on what we’ve seen so far from a squad that was completely overhauled over the summer, elimination now appears to be inevitable.

Atletico Madrid

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Diego Simeone’s team received two own goals in Rotterdam, but a 3-1 victory over Feyenoord at De Kuip is a remarkable result for the Rojiblancos, who battled against the Dutch club on matchday two. Atletico are currently through to the last 16 and may qualify as group winners if they overcome already-qualified Lazio in their final match at the Metropolitano. Doubts remain about the depth of a group that is also vying for the Spanish crown, but this is a strong club with two seasoned strikers in excellent form (Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata) who can beat anyone on their day, as they demonstrated in the Madrid derby in September.

Borussia Dortmund

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Few experts gave Borussia Dortmund a chance to survive ‘The Group of Death,’ but they’ve crushed it, qualifying with one game to spare thanks to a superb 3-1 victory over AC Milan at San Siro, in which 19-year-old Jamie Bynoe-Gittens was outstanding. It’s an incredible achievement for a team that started the season still suffering after losing the Bundesliga title on the final day of the previous season before losing talisman Judge Bellingham to Real Madrid. Dortmund, on the other hand, still has a chance to advance as one of the top seeds if they avoid defeat at home to Paris Saint-Germain on matchday six.

Manchester United

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

In Istanbul, Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United should have won. With Bruno Fernandes on fire, they twice led by two goals but only managed to draw a game they urgently needed to win due to another poor performance by goalie Andre Onana. As a result, United must now hope for a draw at Parken when Copenhagen hosts Galatasaray and beats Bayern Munich at Old Trafford. The Bavarians are already through as group winners, but if Thomas Tuchel selects a good side, Ten Hag’s terrible defence is unlikely to keep Harry Kane and co. quiet.

Galatasaray

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

The Turkish champions Galatasaray’s had a golden opportunity to eliminate Manchester United on Wednesday, but they were ultimately owed a point by Andre Onana after a tense 3-3 draw. Gala certainly had their chances, but the goalkeeper’s errors proved decisive, and it’s also worth noting that the visitors looked like scoring every time they went forward. Okan Buruk has a lot of work to do before the crucial match against Copenhagen at Parken, with Gala having to win to advance to the final 16.


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Newcastle United

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

The injury-time penalty awarded to Newcastle United at Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening was a farce that cost the visitors three valuable points, with Kylé Mbappe scoring from the spot to earn Paris Saint-Germain a 1-1 draw. However, Eddie Howe’s injury-plagued club is not doomed. If they beat AC Milan at home and PSG loses to group leaders Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park, they will undoubtedly finish ahead of the French team due to their superior head-to-head record. So, St. James’ Park should be buzzing in two weeks.

Porto FC

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Who knows what might have happened if Porto had managed to hang on to the advantage granted to them in Barcelona by Brazilian winger Pepe for more than two minutes? As it was, the visitors conceded virtually quickly, faded as the game progressed, and were finally defeated 2-1 by the Blaugrana, meaning Porto’s destiny will be decided on matchday six. If they avoid losing at home to Shakhtar Donetsk, they will finish second in Group H. If they lose at the Dragao, the Ukrainians will advance, and Porto will be relegated to the Europa League.

Napoli

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Napoli are not the same sparkling side they were last season, owing mostly to the sacking of Scudetto-winning coach Luciano Spalletti and his replacement by Rudi Garcia. The latter is no longer in charge, having been fired following a humiliating home defeat to Empoli just before the international break, and the return of Walter Mazzarri appears to have revived the Partenopei’s spirits. They may have lost at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, but they looked more like their old selves and will be optimistic about avoiding a loss against Braga at home on matchday six to ensure their place in the last 16.

Lazio

Lazio | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Despite a poor season in Serie A, Lazio has advanced to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) with one game to spare. Ciro Immobile, unsurprisingly, proved decisive. After scoring the only goal in Maurizio Sarri’s side’s crucial 1-0 win over Feyenoord on matchday four, the veteran forwards struck twice in the closing stages of Tuesday’s clash with Celtic to secure a victory that, when combined with Atletico Madrid’s subsequent victory in Rotterdam, secured qualification for Maurizio Sarri’s side, who currently sit 11th in Serie A.


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RB Leipzig

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

For a little while, it appeared that the already-qualified RB Leipzig would beat Manchester City to the top spot in Group G after racing to a 2-0 lead at the Etihad Stadium thanks to the explosive Lois Openda. They were brought back down to earth in the second half, but Leipzig will take a lot of confidence from their performance against the defending champions. Granted, they’ve profited greatly from the lack of real second-place competition, but no top side will want to face Marco Rose’s club in the final 16 since Openda isn’t their sole counter-attacking threat. Xavi Simons, Dani Olmo, and Benjamin Sesko are all in the mix.

Real Sociedad

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twiiter

Real Sociedad had been having a fantastic season in the UEFA Champions League (UCL), but their 0-0 draw with Red Bull Salzburg left them feeling frustrated. La Real had 21 shots in total, while their Austrian opponents only had four, but they couldn’t find a way through. As a result, they are level on points with Inter, with whom they drew 1-1 in San Sebastian, and must now face them in San Siro in what is virtually a play-off for first place in Group D.

FC Copenhagen

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Because of Galatasaray’s tie with Manchester United, Copenhagen could have advanced to the knockout stage if they had defeated Bayern Munich, and the Danes had some chances at the Allianz Arena. In the end, they had to settle for a draw, which was still a huge accomplishment in one of the stories of this season’s Champions League. FCK currently knows that if they beat Gala at home on matchday six, they will advance. If United fails to defeat Bayern at Old Trafford, even a draw could suffice.

Shakhtar Donetsk

UEFA champions league | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

The Ukrainians were depressed at the midway point of the group stage, having only three points from three games. However, a memorable triumph over Barcelona in their chosen home of Hamburg was followed by another 1-0 victory, this time over Antwerp. Now, Shakhtar’s objective is clear-cut, if challenging: they need to beat Porto in order to go to the round of sixteen. Any other result will not do. So, can they pull it off? To be honest, it is impossible, given that they were defeated 3-1 by Porto on matchday two and their domestic status is poor. However, the win over Barcelona will inspire Marino Pusic and his teammates to feel that anything is possible.

PSV

PSV | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

What a victory! PSV were 2-0 down at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and were in serious trouble, as their final group game was against Arsenal. However, Eindhoven came back from a goal down to win 3-2, with Ricardo Pepi coming off the bench to head home the winner in the second minute of injury time.

Braga FC

Braga FC | KreedOn
Source: Twitter

Alvaro Djalo missed a penalty early in Braga’s 3-0 loss to Real Madrid on matchday four, but his furious finish earned his team a crucial 1-1 draw with Union Berlin on Wednesday. The Portuguese team had been reduced to 10 men after Sikou Niakate was sent off in the first half, but Djalo’s equalizer means that Braga may still advance to the last 16. The only difficulty now is that they must win in Napoli.


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