Sunday, February 25, 2024

Champions League power rankings: Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid pace the final 16

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Champions League play returns on Tuesday, Feb. 13 with Copenhagen hosting Manchester City and RB Leipzig hosting Real Madrid on Paramount+. With the group stage ending in December, it’s a good time to re-rank the final 16 teams remaining on likelihood that they can win the entire tournament based on current form. It’s only fitting that the top two teams in those rankings, Manchester City and Real Madrid kick off the return of UCL but what other teams highlight Europe’s best?

Check out the UCL rankings below:

1 Manchester City Manchester City entering the round of 16 at full health for the first time this season is a scary proposition for the rest of the world. Already winning the competition last season, City are expected to be in the final yet again although they’ll have a tough road to get there.
2 Real Madrid As injuries keep piling up, Carlo Ancelotti has kept Real Madrid moving forward. Defensively, it remains to be seen if they can get past teams like PSG and Manchester City, but Real Madrid’s attack stacks up with anyone in the world.
3 Arsenal Showing that they’re back with the top teams in the world, Arsenal are a team that can make a run to the Champions League final if things break properly. With a strong spine leading the team, their fortunes could come down to David Raya in net.
4 Bayern Munich Bayern are a tough team to judge. With Harry Kane, the attack may be fearsome but at times it doesn’t add up to produce the sum that their talented parts would be expected to produce. Thomas Tuchel knows a thing or two about putting together Champions League runs so Bayern can turn it on.
5 Inter After making the Champions League final last season, Inter are showing that they have staying power via Lautaro Martinez. He may only have two Champions League goals so far, but that will change quickly in the knockout stages.
6 Barcelona With Xavi set to step down at the end of the season and Barcelona struggling away from home, it would be a shock if they were to go on a run to win the Champions League but stranger things have happened.
7 Atletico Madrid This may be Atletico Madrid’s best chance at winning the Champions League in the foreseeable future. Antonie Griezmann and Alvaro Morata are in top form, Memphis Depay is healthy and Samuel Lino is one of the most exciting wing backs in the world.
8 Paris Saint-Germain PSG should probably be higher in these rankings but it’s hard to believe that they’ll win the Champions League until they actually do it. Kylian Mbappe’s uncertain future is a cloud hanging over the team.
9 Real Sociedad Struggling a bit as of late, drawing three of their last five matches, Sociedad’s attack is the major question now that they’re in the last 16. Scoring the joint fewest Champions League goals of any team to make the round of 16 at seven, if Sociedad go down early, they may be out.
10 Borussia Dortmund With Jadon Sancho back at Dortmund, their league form is now catching up to their Champions League form as the Black and Yellow have broken into the top four in Germany. They’re going to give teams some trouble in the knockouts.
11 Porto Both Pepe’s have been critical to Porto’s performance as this team just knows how to make the UCL last 16. Paired with Arsenal, they’ll need some luck or their run may be ending here.
12 PSV Still undefeated in league play, PSV vs. Dortmund is one of the most fascinating ties in the round of 16. Even if PSV can’t emerge with a victory, getting here is a strong sign for soccer in the Netherlands.
13 RB Leipzig Lois Openda has been excellent with four Champions League goals for Leipzig but the wheels have fallen off in league play with only one win in their last five matches.
14 Lazio A hard team to judge, it’s tough to fully understand how Lazio got here but facing Bayern, they’ll need serious help to progress further.
15 Napoli From Scudetto winners to being considered one of the worst teams in the Champions League last 16. How the mighty have fallen as the season has been full of disappointments for Napoli.
16 Copenhagen Copenhagen have done an excellent job to get here and their reward is a matchup with Manchester City. Life can be cruel sometimes.

How to watch

Every minute of Champions League action, including the UEFA Champions League Today pre-game and post-game shows, will stream live on Parmount+. CBS will also carry pre-game coverage and air one match a day during the round of 16, while CBS Sports Network will also show the post-game show.

CBS Sports Golazo Network will also be home to several hours of coverage, including CBS Sports Golazo Matchday, which will begin before the matches and run until the final whistle. Scoreline will handle post-match coverage with two separate shows that evening, while The Champions Club will provide additional updates. CBS Sports Golazo Network will cap off the first day of Champions League round of 16 coverage with the return of Kickin’ It, which will feature two-time Women’s World Cup winner Ali Krieger as a guest.

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