Champions League: the Chances of a First-Time Winner

Champions League schedule

Out of the 12 sides remaining in this seasons Champions League, remarkably only five of the 12 have previously gone onto win the competition, including Real Madrid who have won the trophy a record 13 times.

Because of the improvised format of the competition where the quarter-final and semi-final ties will all be decided by a single leg, it gives the underdogs of the ties more of a chance of pulling off an upset compared to the usual two-legged format. This is something that could prove to be decisive for the likes of Napoli, RB Leipzig and Atalanta, all of whom have not reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League before.

In addition to this, because the draw has already been made for the semi-final stage, it is now imminent that at least one of the two sides in the final will be a team that is yet to win the competition. This is because the winner of the quarter-final between Leipzig and Atletico Madrid will play against either Atalanta or PSG in one of the two semi-final ties.

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Atletico Madrid Champions League final

Since Diego Simeone's managerial appointment at Atletico in 2011, he has taken the club up to the next level and cemented them as one of the big guns in Spanish football alongside Barcelona and Real Madrid.

During this time they have had some successful adventures in European competitions, by winning two Europa Leagues followed by two subsequent Super Cups and with Atletico Madrid reaching the Champions League final on two occasions, both of which they lost to Real Madrid.

Odds currently stand at 8/1 for them to win their first Champions League title in Lisbon but with a potential semi-final going up against PSG, a route to the final is going to be far from easy.

RB Leipzig

The youngest team competing in the Champions League this season. Since they were founded in 2009, the club from Saxony have gone from strength to strength in the past decade having gone from competing in the fifth tier of German football to competing for the Bundesliga title and in the last eight of the Champions League.

The team, managed by young manager Julian Nagelsmann, has an outside chance of winning their first ever major trophy in Lisbon with odds of 14/1. One of the big challenges they will have to overcome en route to the final is their quarter-final tie against Atletico Madrid. Leipzig have had longer to prepare for this tie but will probably need to rely on the fact that the tie will be decided by a single leg.

En route to the last eight, Nagelsmann has managed to convincingly beat two-time Champions League winner Jose Mourinho so the motto amongst the squad will certainly be that anything is possible but they will have to do it without star striker Timo Werner who has made the move to Chelsea.

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Champions league atalanta

This has been a rollercoaster debut season in the Champions League for the Italian side. The odds were against them reaching this stage however Gian Piero Gasperini managed to turn things around and his side became the first team since Newcastle United in the 2002/03 season to progress through the group stage despite losing their first three matches.

Going into the quarter-finals, they are still underdogs but Atalanta have proven that they have goalscoring ability in abundance. The club from Bergamo were by far and away the highest scorers in Serie A this season, accumulating 98 goals courtesy of Josip Ilicic, Luis Muriel and Duvan Zapata.

In the competition, they thumped Valencia 8-4 on aggregate in the Round of 16. With odds of 9/1 to win the elite competition (just behind Barcelona's odds), PSG should not be complacent when they take on the Italian side.

Man City

The hardest challenge facing City in the competition is how they have to overcome Madrid first in their round of 16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side are currently leading in the tie but it is very unlike the 13-times Champions League winners to prematurely exit at the start of the knockout phase. The two sides also met in this competition four years ago at the semi-finals stage - the furthest City have reached in the competition.

Having missed out on a third consecutive Premier League this season, City fans will probably recognise this season as a disappointment if they fail to bag their first Champions League win.

They have quality players at their peak like Kevin De Bruyne and a potent strike force with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. With odds of 10/3, they are the joint favourites to take home the trophy to Eastlands.

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PSG Champions League odds

Despite the wealth the PSG have, they have struggled to make it count while performing on the bigger stages of football. Thomas Tuchel's side have conquered their domestic competitions but there is one notable absentee in their trophy cabinet: the Champions League. However, PSG Champions League draw has been kind to them as PSG v Atalanta is the high-scoring game to lookout for.

One thing that has held PSG back in the Champions League in recent years is that they have struggled to come close to the final. Having been knocked out at the round of 16 stage for three consecutive years prior to this season, it could be argued that the added pressure of the knockout stages of the competition gets to the players.

However, with a quarter-final tie coming against Atalanta, a match they will surely go into as favourites, they have an excellent chance to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1995. With odds of 5/1 to go all the way, there is quite a high probability that the new winners of UEFA's elite competition will be a first-time winner.

A concern for the potential first-time winners will be Kylian Mbappe's injury and how he may miss the game against Atalanta.

By Rob Spereall


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