A new study has been conducted to show who is the most likely to win the Champions League trophy this season, and the results aren’t likely to surprise anyone.
With the last 16 stage of the tournament set to get underway this week, Europe’s biggest and best sides are all still in the mix to win a place in the final in Cardiff at the end of the campaign.
UEFA used a similar study last year to correctly predict that Real Madrid would take the crown, and it seems they’re at it again.
Only the bad news for Real is that this year’s predicted winners are their sworn enemy – Barcelona.
Barca will meet French champions Paris Saint Germain on Tuesday evening and UEFA have taken four factors into consideration as to why the Catalan side are expected to lift the title.
According to Spanish publication Marca, because Barcelona finished as group winners, it provides a good omen. Besides Inter in 2010, all of the last 11 winners of the Champions League won their respective groups, and this puts Barca ahead of the likes of Real, Sevilla and PSG, who all qualified for the last 16 as runners up.
The second factor is defensive balance. The study states that a defence can be neither too good nor too bad. Not since 2003 has a team who conceded the least goals in the group stage gone on to win the tournament (this year it’s Atletico and Juventus).
Alternatively, no club who has let in more than eight goals in the group stage has lifted the cup, which spells bad news for the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Benfica, Man City and Real.
It helps that Barcelona aren’t outsiders either, as the tournament’s current format has never featured a club making the knock out stage at the first attempt going on to win the whole thing. Villarreal went close in 2006, but it would seem that this spells bad news for Leicester City.
Barca’s status as previous winners also appears to stand them in good stead. Chelsea’s victory in 2012 was the first time in 19 seasons of the competition that a club lifted their first title. This season there are nine clubs looking to win their first European cup in the shape of Arsenal, Atletico, Leicester, Bayer Leverkusen, Man City, Monaco, Napoli, PSG and Sevilla.
Everything looks to be pointing in Barca’s favour, but as Leicester showed last season, stranger things can definitely happen.
Let us know if you agree with the study in the comments section below!