The group stages of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League have concluded, and this month, the attention turns swiftly to the knockout stages. The last 16 brings a new level of intensity to the competition, as Europe’s elite lock horns for continental supremacy. Manchester City landed their first European title in 2022-23 and the Citizens are bidding to go back-to-back this year after finally breaking their duck.
Looking at City’s last 16 draw this year, Pep Guardiola will fancy his team’s chances of progressing to the quarter-finals and beyond. City have been paired with Danish outfit FC Copenhagen.
This favourable tie partly explains why City are currently priced as 15/8 favourites to win the cup according to Bet365, one of the largest gambling operators on the planet. The site boasts a customer base of more than 63 million bettors worldwide according to www.oddschecker.com, which rates bet365’s welcome bonus as one of the best to sample the US sports betting markets. New customers have to risk relatively small amounts of their own money upfront to get a sizeable free wager for use on markets like the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League or even the MLS.
Now that you know how to find the best odds and promotions, let’s take a look at the teams that could go all the way in this year’s UEFA Champions League.
Four teams who could go all the way and win the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League
Of course, it’s not the first time that City have been heavy favourites for the Champions League and failed to meet expectations. It’s been a similar story with Paris Saint-Germain, with the big-spending French club also unable to turn their financial superiority into a winning machine in European football. Could that change in 2023/24?
If you’re wondering where to place your dollar on this season’s Champions League futures market, we’ll run through the top four contenders for the competition in our opinion.
We’ve already mentioned City’s fortunate last 16 tie with FC Copenhagen, which is one of the weaker sides Guardiola’s side could face at this stage. City remain a force to be reckoned with in all areas of the pitch. Even with star striker Erling Haaland sidelined with a recent foot injury, City have been able to keep pace with Premier League leaders Liverpool, and knock out Tottenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Haaland is nearing a return to full fitness just in time for City’s tie with Copenhagen, which should further tip the balance in City’s favour. Kevin De Bruyne appears to have finally shaken off his hamstring issues too, which is more bad news for teams left in the Champions League.
Bayern Munich last won the Champions League in 2019/20 and look well-balanced to make another bold bid this season. The German giants, who are embroiled in a two-way battle with Bayer Leverkusen for this year’s Bundesliga, have their Robert Lewandowski replacement in the shape of Harry Kane. The England captain has been a revelation in a Bayern jersey, scoring 23 goals in 19 Bundesliga appearances and four goals in six Champions League starts. Kane is a difference-maker at Champions League level. He’s the complete forward, capable of creating – and scoring – something out of nothing.
Bayern Munich are a huge threat down the flanks too, with the likes of Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala functioning as the team’s primary creative outlets. Musiala is also ably supported by the attack-minded full back Alphonso Davies, who is reportedly being courted by Real Madrid.
It would be hugely wrong to discount the chances of Real Madrid. The La Liga giants, like Bayern Munich, appear to be in a two-way tussle for their domestic title. You might be surprised to find that it’s Girona they’re competing with rather than Barcelona. Nevertheless, Real have gelled impressively under new head coach Carlo Ancelotti, losing just one of their 21 opening league games this term.
Real Madrid have a very fluid 4-3-1-2 system which appears to be getting the best out of their midfield and front men. English talent Jude Bellingham has been a revelation since signing. He’s been the perfect goalscoring, box-to-box midfielder for Real, taking some of the pressure off the shoulders of promising forwards Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo. The midfield trio of Kroos, Tchouameni and Valverde also offers the perfect blend of youth and experience.
We’ll end by recommending a team that’s considered to be less fancied than other teams remaining in the competition; Inter Milan. The Italian giants are in fine form in the 2023/24 Serie A campaign, topping the table after 21 games, losing just one and winning 17. Inter’s defence is at the heart of their current success, conceding just ten goals in 21 games.
It was a similar story in their Champions League group, where Inter Milan conceded just five goals en-route to qualification out of Group D. Their last 16 tie is against Atletico Madrid, which promises to be a very tight encounter over two legs, with very few goals likely. If Inter can get past Atletico Madrid, they’ll be full of confidence going into the quarters. In Lautaro Martinez, Inter have a talisman they can lean on to score decisive goals in close encounters.
Other notable mentions should go to Barcelona and Arsenal. Barca have undoubtable pedigree in this competition and should always be respected, even if they aren’t the force they once were. Meanwhile, Arsenal have plenty of big-game players and a manager in Mikel Arteta capable of getting the best out of them. If the Gunners slip out of the Premier League title race, they could focus their efforts on the Champions League.