The 2021/22 Champions League group stages got underway this week as 32 teams look to become the kings of Europe. Opening night of the Champions League proper is always a highly anticipated date in the calendar for all football fans across the world and the first round of games certainly didn’t disappoint. The action was free-flowing and goals were plenty across the 16 fixtures, with 28 goals being scored in Wednesday night’s round of fixtures alone.
From heavyweight clashes to David and Goliath upsets, the first night of the Champions League had it all and it’s interesting to see how it has affected the current main contenders in the eyes of the oddsmakers. According to the current odds there are six main contenders to win the Champions League this season, with a wider margin separating the teams outside of the top teams.
If you are interested in betting on the Champions League then head over to Max Free Bets. They specialise in new customer free bets, existing customer offers and competitions across their site. You will always get the best value on Champions League bets when you head to Max Free Bets first. Below, we will be looking at the current top six contenders in the Champions League and assessing the start they made to the competition.
Paris Saint-Germain – 7/2
Despite picking up three points in each of their opening five matches in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain were unable to make a winning start to their Champions League group. It was their easiest fixture on paper too, as they faced Club Brugge ahead of their back-to-back home matches against Manchester City and RB Leipzig. Mauricio Pochettino’s team were far from at their best as Ander Herrera scored the only goal of their 1-1 draw in Belgium. The match saw Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe line up in attack alongside each other for the first time and it will naturally take a few weeks for them to gel. Still, if they are able to reach their full potential there is no doubt they will be in the competition come the latter stages.
Manchester City – 7/2
Sitting with PSG as joint-favourites are their group rivals Manchester City, who made a far more impressive start to the competition. Pep Guardiola’s team thrashed RB Leipzig 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium as six different goalscorers helped them make an emphatic start to the campaign. The game also featured a Champions League debut and first goal in the competition for Jack Grealish, who was the club’s marquee signing last summer and has made a positive start to life at the Etihad Stadium.
Beaten in last season’s final by Chelsea, Guardiola will be determined to finally claim the one trophy that has eluded him during his trophy-laden spell at the club. Having made such a positive start to this year’s European campaign they have certainly laid a statement of intent to the rest of the clubs on matchday one.
Bayern Munich – 11/2
Another team to have made a statement in their opening match of the Champions League group stages is Bayern Munich. The German giants were overwhelmingly dominant in their demolition of Barcelona at Camp Nou, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Robert Lewandowski (2) and Thomas Muller. Barcelona can consider themselves lucky that the margin of defeat wasn’t wider given the gulf in quality between the two teams on the night.
Bayern won the Champions League in 2020 but were beaten in the quarter-finals by PSG last time around. Julian Nagelsmann is now the man in charge and there is no doubt they are a team that nobody in Europe will want to face in the knockout stages.
Chelsea – 7/1
Reigning champions Chelsea are currently fourth-favorites to win the Champions League this season at 7/1 and Thomas Tuchel’s team got off to a solid start to the group stages. Facing Zenit Saint Petersburg at Stamford Bridge, the Blues won 1-0 thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s second half goal, with it being their third successive win to nil at home. Tuchel has turned this Chelsea team into an efficient, resilient team in defense and now have the missing piece of the jigsaw in attack in Lukaku.
The Belgian international is in the prime of his career at 28 and he has scored four goals in his first four appearances since rejoining the club from Inter Milan. The current price of 7/1 looks excellent value for this Chelsea team who also have incredible squad depth.
Liverpool – 9/1
One of the best games of matchday one came from Anfield as Liverpool hosted AC Milan in a repeat of the 2005 and 2007 Champions League finals. It was the first time the two clubs had met in the competition since those famous finals and an epic contest saw Liverpool come out on top 3-2 thanks to Jordan Henderson’s exquisite half-volley.
The Reds have made a solid start to the season with four wins and a draw from their first five matches in all competitions and have twice reached the final of the Champions League under Jurgen Klopp, winning it in 2019. They have been drawn into one of the toughest groups in the Champions League alongside Milan, Atletico Madrid and Porto but are the early favourites to win it after their winning start at Anfield.
Manchester United – 12/1
Manchester United’s odds of winning the Champions League have drifted out since their opening night debacle in the competition. Despite taking the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo away to Young Boys, the momentum quickly swung as Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off. United subsequently conceded twice in the second half to lose 2-1, with Jesse Lingard at fault for the Swiss side’s 90th minute winner after a misplaced backpass.
United lost in the Europa League final last season and are still searching for their first trophy under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, they surely won’t have a better chance now that they have Ronaldo in their ranks, who has won the competition five times during his illustrious career. If they are to be contenders though they will surely have to win their next two home games against Villarreal and Atalanta.