Champions League draw: Ranking all 32 clubs from 'favourites' to 'making up the numbers'

Champions League draw takes place on Thursday

The Champions League is back!

Well, the draw for Europe’s elite competition is here anyway.

Tuesday and Wednesday saw the final qualifiers take place and we now know the 32 clubs that will do battle for the right to be in Saint Petersburg on 28 May 2022.

Champions League 2021/22: Fixtures, Draw, Results, Odds, Scores And Everything You Need To Know

This season’s edition looks set to be an incredible one.

With Sergio Ramos and Lionel Messi moving to Paris Saint-Germain this summer, the French club will be amongst the favourites. Chelsea will be looking to retain their trophy, while Manchester City are still looking for their first ever triumph.

Ahead of Thursday’s draw, the finalised pots are as follows:

Quiz: Can you name the footballer based on their Wikipedia page?

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Who's this Spurs legend?

Pot 1

Chelsea
Villarreal
Manchester City
Atletico Madrid
Inter Milan
Bayern Munich
Lille
Sporting Lisbon

Chelsea won the Champions League last season

Pot 2

Real Madrid
Barcelona
Juventus
Manchester United
Paris Saint-Germain
Liverpool
Sevilla
Borussia Dortmund

PSG have signed some incredible players this summer

Pot 3

Porto
Ajax
Shakhtar Donetsk
RB Leipzig
Red Bull Salzburg
Benfica
Atalanta
Zenit St Petersburg

Ajax are in Pot 3 in the Champions League draw

Pot 4

Besiktas
Dynamo Kiev
Club Brugge
Young Boys
AC Milan
Malmo
VfL Wolfsburg
Sheriff Tiraspol

Sheriff beat Dinamo Zagreb to qualify for the Champions League

One club from each pot will make up each group with sides from the same nation exempt from facing each other.

But ahead of the draw, we’ve decided to rank all 32 clubs because… well, why not?

Using Tiermaker, we’ve ranked every club from ‘favourites’ to ‘making up the numbers’.

So, without further ado, let’s check out our rankings:

Making up the numbers

Sheriff Tiraspol
Club Brugge
Malmo
Young Boys
Dynamo Kiev

We’re sorry, guys, but you’re simply making up the numbers.

We should mention that Sheriff Tiraspol deserve credit for becoming the first ever Moldovan to qualify for the Champions League proper after they beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-0 on aggregate.

But these five clubs appear to be the weakest in the draw and are all placed in Pot 4 meaning they face a tough task to qualify.

Young Boys are making up the numbers in the Champions League

Out in the group

AC Milan
Ajax
Benfica
Lille
Red Bull Salzburg
Sporting Lisbon
Porto
Shakhtar Donetsk
Besiktas
Zenit
Wolfsburg

There are some big names predicted to crash out in the group stages this season. The nature of the Champions League means that half of the competitors will fail to progress to the last-16 and we predict it’ll be these 11 clubs, along with the five that are ‘making up the numbers’.

AC Milan are the biggest club placed in Pot 4 and will likely be in the ‘Group of Death’ as a result.

However, both Sporting Lisbon and Lille won their domestic leagues and find themselves in Pot 1. As a result, they will avoid the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich meaning they could well be handed a slightly easier draw.

AC Milan could crash out in the Champions League group stage

Knockout stages

Atletico Madrid
Borussia Dortmund
Inter Milan
Atalanta
RB Leipzig
Villarreal
Sevilla

We reckon these clubs will progress through the group but elimination in the last-16 or quarter-finals is likely.

All of them are capable of springing a surprise and have plenty of European history between them.

Perhaps the most likely to go the furthest from this group are La Liga title winners, Atletico Madrid, who will be in Pot 1. Also in Pot 1 are Villarreal and Inter Milan while Atalanta and RB Leipzig have the difficult task of being in Pot 3.

Atletico Madrid won La Liga last season

Outside chance

Manchester United
Real Madrid
Barcelona
Juventus

Just look at the pedigree of these four clubs.

Between them, the four clubs have won the European Cup 23 times - although that’s mainly thanks to Real Madrid’s 13 titles.

However, it’s fair to say these four clubs aren’t quite as strong as they have been historically and it would be a bit of shock of any of them lifted the trophy come next May.

That said, they should all be looking towards the quarter-finals of the competition.

Real Madrid will be bumped up a category or two if they manage to land Kylian Mbappe this summer…

Real Madrid have an outside chance of winning the Champions League this season

Could win it

Liverpool

Just Liverpool in this category because we feel they have more chance than the four clubs mentioned in the ‘outside chance’ category but they’re slightly lacking when it comes to discussing the chances of four other clubs. Could they make it No.7 in Russia this season? You wouldn’t bet against it.

Liverpool could win the Champions League this season

Genuine contenders

Manchester City
Bayern Munich
Chelsea

These three clubs will be eyeing up the Champions League this season. Last season’s finalists, Chelsea and Manchester City will want to reach the showpiece event once again. Meanwhile, Bayern Munich don’t appear any weaker this season.

Man City are genuine contenders for the Champions League this season

Favourites

Paris Saint-Germain

Despite never winning the competition, we can’t look past PSG as favourites for the Champions League this season. As things stand, they have a front-three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi which is, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Of course, a lot depends on whether Mbappe remains at the club but, if he does, they’ll be capable of beating anyone.

PSG are favourites to win the Champions League

Final rankings

So, after their incredible summer, we’re backing PSG to finally win a European trophy. However, a lot will depend on whether they’re able to keep hold of Mbappe - and whether they can keep him happy!

If not, there are plenty of strong clubs willing to take advantage of the traditional PSG bottle job.

Either way, we can’t wait for it all to kick off next month!

Champions League rankings
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