Champions League Predictions 2023-24: Can Anyone Stop City?
With the Champions League returning this week as the round of 16 gets under way, we take a look at the Opta supercomputer’s predictions for the competition in 2023-24.
Early in the season, the Opta supercomputer ran 10,000 simulations of the 2023-24 Champions League season and found that holders Manchester City won the competition 38.9% of the time. They were, back when the draw had just been made, huge favourites to retain their title.
Now, with the competition returning on Tuesday with City travelling to Denmark to face FC Copenhagen and European heavyweights Real Madrid facing RB Leipzig, we decided it was as good a time as any to see how the supercomputer rates each team’s chances.
So, in the latest batch of 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season, this is how often each team progressed to each stage of the competition, as well as how often they won it.
Of the 16 teams remaining, only four were victorious in more than one-tenth of those simulations. City remain favourites to win the Champions League again after winning the treble last season, doing so 32.1% of the time. At the time of writing, they even have a greater-than-50% chance of reaching the final.
Having broken the psychological barrier by winning Europe’s biggest competition for the first time in their history last season, Pep Guardiola’s side are the team to beat in 2023-24.
Real Madrid are second-favourites to win the Champions League, with the 14-time winners tipped to make it 15 in 15.4% of the supercomputer’s simulations. Madrid make the final in 28.1% of simulations, while they are huge favourites to make it past Leipzig and they have just shy of a 50% chance of making it as far as the last four.
Last season’s beaten finalists, Inter Milan, are deemed the third-most likely side to win the Champions League (11.6%), while they reach the final in just under a quarter of the supercomputer’s simulations. The Serie A leaders are hitting their stride in the second half of the season, unbeaten inside 90 minutes in their last 25 competitive matches.
Ahead of what could be a tricky round-of-16 tie with Atlético Madrid, they are on a run of seven straight victories and are big favourites to make it past Diego Simeone’s side. History tells us Atlético should never be fully written off, but with just a 6.1% chance of reaching the final and a 2.4% likelihood of winning the whole thing, it would be a bigger surprise than ever before if Atlético go deep in the competition.
Harry Kane’s chances of ending his wait for silverware took a huge hit on Saturday when Bayern Munich were brushed aside by Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen. Although he won’t have given up on winning a domestic trophy this season, the Champions League will have taken on added importance now. They are the fourth favourites to win the trophy according to the Opta supercomputer (10.1%), while they are the second-most likely team to make it through their last-16 tie, seeing off Lazio – a tournament outsider according to our simulations – 79.3% of the time.
At 8.4%, Arsenal still have a noteworthy chance of winning the Champions League for the first time, while they make the final in nearly a fifth of simulations. Having come through a tough time around Christmas when their form took a bit of a hit, Mikel Arteta’s side have recovered in time for the Champions League knockout stages. They battered West Ham on Sunday, and are now on a run of four straight wins as their round-of-16 tie with Porto comes into sight.
Paris Saint-Germain are the sixth-most likely team to win the Champions League, doing so in 6.4% of simulations. The runaway Ligue 1 leaders are surely a certainty to win their domestic league once again and appear to have become a better collective unit since losing star players Neymar and Lionel Messi. The Champions League is the one trophy they want more than any other, and it has always remained beyond them in years gone by, but with Kylian Mbappé in tow, anything can happen. They face Real Sociedad this week, and have a 64.5% chance of seeing them off.
Barcelona (3.4%) and Borussia Dortmund (3.0%) are next in our predictions list, but neither team is having a great season domestically and will have to improve dramatically if they are to beat the best of the best and win Europe’s elite competition.
Seven teams are deemed to have a chance of 1.5% or lower of winning the competition. In Porto (two titles) and PSV Eindhoven (one title), those seven teams have some European pedigree among them, but RB Leipzig, Real Sociedad, Napoli, Lazio and Copenhagen would all be maiden winners. Copenhagen’s chances of making it past City are pretty slim, and their chances of winning the whole thing are so low that to one decimal place they round down to 0%.
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