Ranking of UEFA Champions League quarter-final teams

16 March 2024 2708
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The business end of the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League season is here following a rather ho-hum round of 16.

Out of the original line-up, excluding Inter, most of the early favourites have successfully made it to the quarter-finals of the competition.

So, it's worth considering, which is the best of the remaining teams in the Champions League? Let's evaluate...

Borussia Dortmund left a strong impression in their round of 16 against PSV Eindhoven, with Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus securing their victory at Signal Iduna Park. Yet, their performances in the Bundesliga do not necessarily translate to them being the leading contender in the Champions League this season. If they are only the fourth best in Germany, it's unlikely they'll be the best in Europe - simple mathematical deduction.

Atletico Madrid were not the favourites to get rid of Inter from the competition. However, coach Diego Simeone managed to surprise the audience with Atleti achieving a thrilling, unexpected penalty shoot-out win over the Serie A's leading team. While they may recreate their heroic performance in the advanced stages, for now, it appears Atletico are challenging for the favourites rather than becoming favourites themselves.

Certainly, it feels odd that Barcelona aren't automatically among the top contenders for the Champions League. Yet considering post-Messi era and a financial crisis reminiscent of Wall Street's in 1929, it's our current reality. This is the first time since 2020 that Barcelona have reached this level of the competition, and the challenge to move a step ahead is in the form of PSG. Troubling times.

Despite the addition of top defender (Kim Min-jae) and a formidable striker (Harry Kane) in the summer transfer window, Bayern Munich seems to be regressing this season. This led to Bayer Leverkusen claiming the Bundesliga title and the announcement of Thomas Tuchel's impending exit at season's end - both clear setbacks for Bayern. On the brighter side, the team can now put all their energy into the Champions League in the coming months. Indeed, the team has tactical shortcomings, but the likes of Kane, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala can effectively drive Bayern into the advanced stages of competition.

Paris Saint-Germain's performance this season has been shaky at best. But, with a player like Kylian Mbappe - who alone can tip the scales of any competition - in the squad, there's always a chance at victory.

Arsenal, for the first time in 14 years, has reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Although the journey thus far has been tough, and it required a penalty shootout to defeat Porto, their recent form in domestic competitions suggests they could be serious contenders this season. They will face Bayern Munich in the next round, which will reveal more about their credentials.

Like PSG having Kylian Mbappe, Real Madrid also possesses a game-changer - Jude Bellingham. However, unlike PSG, Real Madrid has a roster of players capable of contributing to Champions League victory. Including proven stars like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes, and a midfield duo of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos whose talent and expertise are unmatchable.

The reigning champions, the treble-winners, the clear and distinct favourites for this year's UEFA Champions League is none other than Man City. Despite sweeping everything in their path in 2022/23, they are yet to show any signs of fatigue or decrease in performance in 2023/24. Undoubtedly, they are by far the most complete team in the competition.