The 2022/23 Champions League has finally taken shape and we can’t wait to get started.
With the conclusion of the final qualifying rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday, UEFA truly got the party started by executing the group stage draw at the home of this season’s final: Istanbul.
As with every Champions League draw, fans across the world were on the edge of their seats to find out who would land the perfect set of adversaries and who would be dumped in the ‘Group of Death’.
Group stage draw
For the most part, the Premier League sides have come out relatively unscathed with Manchester City once again bagging a favourable draw, while Liverpool arguably have the trickiest line-up of the four.
But nobody’s got it rougher than poor old Viktoria Plzen who have their backs up against the wall in Group C along with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Yikes.
Elsewhere, Group B is perhaps the weakest quartet of the bunch with Atletico Madrid leading the charge and their city neighbours, Real, have a relatively straightforward start to their title defence.
Who will go all the way?
However, the Champions League is about more than just the group stage, which can often turn into something of a procession, so let’s also look at the draw from the perspective of what it means for the rest of the tournament.
And while we no doubt each have our own inklings as to who will go all the way this season, often the best way of looking at things coldly, impartially and objectively is by turning to the statistics.
That’s where FiveThirtyEight come in, because they’re arguably the best in the business when it comes to predicting top-level sport by way of projecting teams’ chances of achieving certain goals.
Using a complex algorithm – which you can learn more about here – to weight each team’s attacking and defensive strength, their projections forecast how certain sides would fare against one another and then simulate seasons 20,000 times to come up with percentage likelihoods.
Every team’s chances of winning
It’s hard to describe succinctly, it must be said, but the moral of the story is that they’ve worked out every single 2022/23 Champions League team’s chances of winning the whole damn tournament.
In other words, be sure to check out every single qualified side ranked from least to most likely to lift ‘Big Ears’ on June 10 in the full list of their predictions down below:
32. Maccabi Haifa: <1% chance of winning
31. Viktoria Plzen: <1%
30. Shakhtar Donetsk: <1%
29. Copenhagen: <1%
28. Dinamo Zagreb: <1%
27. Club Brugge: <1%
26. Marseille: <1%
25. Eintracht Frankfurt: <1%
24. Rangers: <1%
23. Juventus: <1%
22. Sevilla: <1%
21. Celtic: <1%
20. Bayer Leverkusen: <1%
19. Napoli: <1%
18. Benfica: <1%
17. Sporting Lisbon: 1%
16. Borussia Dortmund: 1%
15. AC Milan: 1%
14. Red Bull Salzburg: 2%
13. RB Leipzig: 2%
12. FC Porto: 2%
11. Atletico Madrid: 2%
10. Inter Milan: 2%
9. Tottenham Hotspur: 3%
8. Chelsea: 4%
7. Ajax: 4%
6. Barcelona: 4%
5. Real Madrid: 7%
4. Liverpool: 9%
3. Paris Saint-Germain: 14%
2. Manchester City: 18%
- Bayern Munich: 21%
Man City are NOT favourites
Oooo. It’s not often that you see any team other than City leading the way when it comes to Champions League favourites.
As much as Pep Guardiola’s men are the butt of plenty of jokes when it comes to their implosions in Europe, they’re regularly considered to be the world’s strongest team and therefore favourites to go all the way each season nevertheless.
However, both the statistics and plenty of commentators will have you worrying about Bayern this year as they really look to kick on under Julian Nagelsmann with Sadio Mane and Matthijs de Ligt on their books.
But keep an eye on PSG who have shot up from 10th-most fancied this time last year to a podium place, thanks in no small part to Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi really starting to fire on all cylinders under Christophe Galtier.
As for Manchester United… oh wait, sorry…
Jokes aside, it’s hard to write off any of the English sides in a competition where every top-class outfit can string an impressive run together with Antonio Conte no doubt rubbing his hands together at the prospect of springing a shock with Spurs.
So, have the data analysts got it spot on or are you backing your gut instinct all the way? UEFA’s premier competition is always night on impossible to read, but boy we can’t wait to find out what happens between now and June.