The UEFA Champions League, the pinnacle of European club football, soon returns for the 2023/24 season. Whether you're a lifelong fan or new to the game, finding a team to support can be exciting. Let's break down the contenders in preparation for the group stage draw and help you find your perfect match.
Pot 1: The Favorites
- Manchester City (Champions League Winners) – 1 UCL Title: As reigning champions, Manchester City are favorites to take home the trophy again. Under the guidance of innovator Pep Guardiola, City's technical excellence, possession, and tactical sophistication makes them an ideal choice for fans.
- Sevilla (Europa League Winners): Known for their Europa League success — the Los Nervionenses have won it seven times — Sevilla is for fans who love an underdog story with a proven track record. Could this year be the year they taste Champions League success?
- Barcelona (La Liga) – 5 UCL Titles: A historic club with an enthralling playing style under Xavi, Barcelona is perfect for those who crave artistic brilliance on the field. Barcelona last won the UEFA Champions League during the 2014-2015 season, also Xavi's last season for the Blaugrana as a player.
- Bayern Munich (Bundesliga) – 6 UCL Titles: With a history of success and a consistently strong squad, Bayern Munich remains a favorite for many supporters. Their dominance in Germany and relentless attacking style, especially now with Harry Kane up front, make them a thrilling team to watch.
- PSG (Ligue 1): Even with Messi's departure this summer, PSG's star-studded lineup and aggressive style of play keep them among the favorites. If 24-year-old superstar Mbappe stays at the club, the Parisiens always stand a good chance of snatching their first Champions League triumph.
Pot 2: The Challengers
- Real Madrid (La Liga) – 14 UCL Titles: A club synonymous with success, Real Madrid is the perfect choice for those who admire a winning mentality and star power.
- Manchester United (Premier League) – 3 UCL Titles: A historic club with a passionate fan base, Manchester United is an excellent choice for fans who want to embrace a club with a rich heritage.
- Inter Milan (Serie A) – 3 UCL Titles: Fresh from domestic triumph, Inter Milan is an excellent choice for those who appreciate tactical mastery and a strong team ethos.
- Borussia Dortmund (Bundesliga) – 1 UCL Title: Known for developing young talent and playing exciting attacking football, Dortmund is for fans who appreciate dynamism and flair on the field.
- Arsenal (Premier League): With a storied history and a renewed sense of ambition, Arsenal appeals to those who value tradition and are excited by the prospect of resurgence. Plus, Gunner fans must like their chances since head coach Mikel Arteta has never lost at Wembley — he's 12 of 12 as a player and coach!
Pot 3/4: The Dark Horses/Wildcards
- Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukrainian PL): For fans who enjoy rooting for a team that consistently punches above its weight, Shakhtar Donetsk is an exciting choice.
- RB Salzburg (Austrian Bundesliga): A hub for young talent, Salzburg is perfect for those who enjoy following rising stars in world football.
- AC Milan (Serie A) – 7 Titles: A club looking to recapture past glories, AC Milan could appeal to fans who appreciate a resurgence story.
- Union Berlin (Bundesliga): A newcomer to the elite European scene, Union Berlin is an exciting prospect for fans looking to support a club breaking new ground.
- Lens (Ligue 1): Lens offers a fresh perspective and could be an excellent choice for supporters wanting to cheer for a team that's not traditionally in the spotlight.