What could surprise us in the Champions League for the 2023/24 season?
The UEFA Champions League is the one stage in Europe where true champions get to shine. Since its inception as a new version of the European Cup in the 1992/1993 season, teams like Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich have lifted the trophy more than five times.
The latest winner, Manchester City, claiming the title for the first time in the 2022/2023 season, may still be basking in the euphoria of being crowned champions. But they must not rest easy because if antecedence is anything to go by, of the 23 clubs that have won the Champions League, only Real Madrid could defend their title successfully. So, they must sit up if they intend to replicate the stunning feat come May 2024. But would other teams sit idle and watch? Certainly not. A few dark horses might just be lurking behind, waiting to steal their crown.
Surprise Teams That Might Make an Impression in the Coming Tournament
Though a lot of predictions focus on the big names and teams that have the star power to clinch Europe’s biggest trophy, some underdogs can subvert expectations come this new season. Even top platforms for football predictions believe the race is open for all participating teams. Underdog or not, every football team in the tournament is a potential winner.
Below are some teams that might surprise everyone in the 2023/24 Champions League competition:
Newcastle’s heroics saw them finish fourth place in the just concluded 22/23 Premier League season, with the second-best goal difference. Much of their triumph may have come from the backing of Saudi money, but they also may have coasted based on sheer underdog brilliance. They had little pressure on them to win anything, which probably afforded them the chance to dream, strategize, and execute as they wished. This privilege might come in handy when they head onto the continental stage.
Having said that, Eddie Howe’s men might face stiff competition as they have been confirmed to be seeded in pot 4 for the group stage draws. This means they will be pitted against one league winner and other big sides from pot 2 and 3. However, writing the Magpies off might be dangerous hubris.
Before now, La Real had only qualified for the Champions League twice. There’s something to be said about being third-time lucky, but also, Imanor Alguacil’s side was brilliant from the start of the season till the end. The likes of Brais Mendez and Mikel Oyarzabal were a delight to watch and just might bring their shine to the Champions League.
Coach Imanor Alguacil has shown that he understands this team deeply, constantly motivating them to go the extra mile. Placed in port 3, Real Sociedad might be the next big thing no one would see coming until they’ve made their mark.
The Liga Portugal title holders have had a near-faultless season. Their 22/23 Champions League campaign was bold, and as they’ve shown in their domestic league, they have enough substance to go the extra mile and further impress in the coming season. New additions like Angel Di Maria, who has returned as a World Cup winner after 13 years, and Orkun Kokcu from Feyenoord will bolster the squad.
In their final match in the 22/23 Champions League against Inter Milan, who went on to become finalists, we saw glimpses of their abilities and resilience. They held their own to steal a draw from the Italian side who were leading by two goals. Coach Roger Schmidt might be looking to consolidate on that next season, and if they even manage to achieve this, then they’d have made an impression on the tournament already.
The Italian side put on a grand show in the 2022/23 season as they went on to the finals against major match predictions. Inter Milan almost took the trophy from the cusps of favorites, Manchester City. A win that night would have been a huge morale booster and returned them to the glory days when Jose Mourinho delivered the trophy in 2010. However, it didn’t happen.
Inter Milan is now set for another campaign. Though they’ve let go of goalkeeper Andre Onana, they still have Lautarro Martinez and new addition Alexis Sanchez, who has returned on a free transfer. Given this team’s quality and achievements in the past, it shouldn’t be put past them to do wonders come the 2023/2024 season.
The premier league side might not have had stellar performances in the Champions League in times past, crashing out at the hands of Atletico in 2022 and not qualifying in 2023. But Ten Haag’s men look like they currently have the dynamism and players to put up a strong fight in the coming campaign. New additions like Mason Mount, who won the cup with Chelsea, and Andre Onana, who was instrumental to Inter Milan’s fairytale run to the finals last time out, will be key in the coming season.
The experiences of old heads like Casemiro, who has clutched several Champions League winners medals with Real Madrid, and Bruno Fernandes will also come to bear if they are to make an impression. Would this be the year Manchester United finally return to the glory days of Alex Ferguson? Well, the stage is set, and we will wait to see how things unfold.
Big Sides Also in Contention
Of course, fourteen-time champions Los Blancos can not be ruled out of clinching the trophy again. Were it not for the might and ferocity of winners Manchester City, who put them to the sword, the Spanish side might have gone on to clinch a fifteenth.
Man City won everything and triumphed in every battle they fought last season and still maintain the right intensity to go all the way again come the 2023/24 season. If they can keep the likes of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne safe and injury-free, they might be able to claim their second-ever Champions League title.
Betting sites and punters didn’t see these guys coming as they ran a rampage to clinch the Serie A and reach the last four of the Champions League. But that’s the beauty of the tournament. Overlooked sides can come from nowhere and steal the show. Napoli might do so again this season.
Knowing full well that every team that qualifies for the Champions League group stage has surmounted challenges in their respective domestic leagues, it makes sense to acknowledge that any side can rise to the challenge and go all out to win the title. This rundown of favorites and dark horses, as provided by Tips.gg, shows that some sides are likelier to do it, but it doesn’t mean the others can’t take their chances and surprise us.