- Matthew Whang
Champion's League Predictions: a cocktail of risk and adrenaline
After the World Cup, another soccer tournament excites the world. The UEFA Champions League, or the UCL, gives new soccer fans from the World Cup opportunity to continue their passion. Stars such as Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Erling Haaland compete in the contest with the best clubs in the world, thrilling watchers across many nations.
Unlike other tournaments, The Champions League has its own tournament rules. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four, and the teams in each group play each other twice, also known as a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase. The double round-robin system continues until the semi-finals; however, the final match is a single game.
The Champions League Final is a major European holiday, attracting supporters worldwide to the final game. The final usually has an average of 400 million viewers worldwide, which is four times the number of viewers of the 2022 Super Bowl. The Champions League Final takes place in European cities through a bidding system. This year, the 2022/2023 season final occurs at Istanbul's Atatürk Olympic Stadium.
The round of the 16th draw this season includes all English teams and all the favorites from the group stage. Haaland’s Manchester City looks dangerous this season, scoring 22 goals in 18 games in the English Premier League, arguably the most intense league in the world. Also, last year’s champion Real Madrid, is a favorite, having skillful players such as Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema. Paris Saint-Germain is also a deadly opponent by having not only Messi, Neymar Junior, and youngster Mbappe on their offensive half but also quality defenders such as Marquinhos Aoas Correa and Achraf Hakimi. German club Bayern Munchen also has a high chance of being the champions winning all six games in the group stage even though they lost Robert Lewandowski, their star player.
Underdogs such as Benfica and Napoli also excite soccer fans this year. Benfica has Argentinian youngsters Enzo Fernandes and Portuguese striker Gonzalo Ramos, who proved himself when he got the chance to play in Cristiano Ronaldo’s role in the World Cup. In addition, Napoli is cruising the Italian league, only losing twice in every competition. Napoli is a solid team with no distinguishable weaknesses, strengthened by Khvika Kvaratskhelia, a skillful winger that European scouts are watching. Furthermore, Napoli has scored the most goals in the competition by accruing 20 goals in only six games played.
A Champions League trophy for soccer players is one of the most prestigious awards they can receive. The best players around the world are battling each other for a joint goal: to win the Champions League. Will the strongest teams, such as Real Madrid and Man City, easily win the league, or will the underdogs display their power and penetrate through the league?