AHEAD OF THE DRAW: UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE POT 1 TEAMS

AHEAD OF THE DRAW: UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE POT 1 TEAMS

Based on the UEFA coefficient ranking as at the last season, these clubs ranked highest.

REAL MADRID (SPAIN)

 The coefficient ranking places Real Madrid at the top.They are champions for three seasons running but, curiously, an unknown entity now that Zinédine Zidane has been replaced by Julen Lopetegui and Cristiano Ronaldo is in Turin.

How will Lopetegui cope? Who will fill Ronaldo’s 450-goal void? Will Madrid’s European dominance continue or has the bubble burst?

ATLÉTICO MADRID (SPAIN)

The coefficient ranking places Atlético second.  They are UEFA Europa League winners
Diego Simeone and his team keep on truckin’. Atlético have reached three European finals in the past five seasons and continue to upset the odds by playing with peerless intensity. This season’s showpiece takes place at their Estadio Metropolitano.

BAYERN MÜNCHEN (GERMANY)

Next in the coefficient ranking are Bayern München who enter the league as Bundesliga champions. They have been European champions five times in the past.
They are also another European powerhouse with a new coach in charge. Niko Kovač is the man taking over from Jupp Heynckes; he will need to reinvigorate an ageing squad and prove he belongs at this level.

FC BARCELONA (SPAIN)

In UEFA coefficient ranking, FC Barcelona are fourth. They qualified as Spanish La Liga champions and their best European Cup performances were winning the league five times, the most recent being that of 2014/15 season.

Barça have been eliminated at the quarter-final stage for three seasons running, but the pragmatic Ernesto Valverde laid solid foundations last term and will hope for added sparkle from Philippe Coutinho in the Brazilian’s first full season at the club.

JUVENTUS (ITALY)

The new club of Crisitano Ronaldo ranks fifth in the UEFA coefficient. They entered the Champions League as Serie A champions and had won the UEFA League twice in the past, the most recent being nearly 22 years ago – the 1995/96 edition.

The question now is whether Ronaldo’s arrival could herald the end of Juve’s long wait for a third title? It’s certainly some statement. Massimiliano Allegri has steered Juve to two finals since taking over in 2014 but now must awaken them from the hurt of their dramatic exit at the hands of Real Madrid (and Ronaldo) last season. He’s got just the man for the job.

PARIS SAINT GERMAIN (FRANCE)

In ranking, they are seventh. PSG enters the competition as French Ligue 1 champions. Their best outing at the competition was getting to the semi-finals in 1994/95.

Thomas Tuchel is the latest man charged with bringing European success to the French capital.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappé will require broad shoulders, such is the responsibility resting with them, but Paris need to improve throughout if they are to show they can compete with their more established counterparts.

MANCHESTER CITY (ENGLAND)

Ranking eighth, Manchester City are in UEFA Champions League as English Premier League champions.

Their best performance was getting to the semi-finals in the 2015/16 edition.

The Josep Guardiola revolution continues apace. City were simply sensational domestically last season, rewriting the Premier League record books, but still need to take the next step up in Europe. If anyone can, Guardiola can.

LOKOMOTIV MOSKVA (RUSSIA)

In the UEFA coefficient ranking, the Russian sides are 63rd. They qualified as Russian Premier League champions. Their best European Cup performance was getting to the  second group stage in 2002/03 season.

Yuri Semin was under intense scrutiny after Loko finished eighth in 2016/17, perhaps saved only by Russian Cup success. The faith placed in the 71-year-old was sensationally rewarded last term, a defence breached just 21 times in 30 games providing the bedrock for only their third Russian Premier League title.

 

 

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