The Champions League, the biggest club tournament on the planet, kicks off on Tuesday with the group stage. Here are the first UCL power rankings of the 2022-23 season.
All eyes return to the Champions League starting Tuesday when the tournament’s 32 teams kick off the group stage.
The tournament, the biggest club competition in the world, will see the top two teams in each group advance to the knockout stage. Third-place teams from each group will play in the second-tier Europa League.
For the first time in UCL history, matches will be played over a compact period of eight weeks this fall to accommodate the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, which will be played starting in November.
This season’s Champions League final will take place on June 10, 2023 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium, the same venue of Liverpool’s famous comeback victory over AC Milan in the 2005 title match.
Here are the UCL power rankings following the draw.
10. Inter Milan
AC Milan may have won the Serie A title last season (and the derby this past Saturday), but it’s their crosstown rivals Inter who make the power rankings. The return of striker Romelu Lukaku gives the Nerazzurri plenty of power upfront alongside Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko, Joaquin Correa and Alexis Sanchez.
The first of England’s four teams to make this list, Spurs can contend for the UCL if striker Harry Kane remains in top form. He could very well do that, given that the World Cup is coming up in November.
The English club captured the UCL just two years ago, but the side managed by Thomas Tuchel look weaker this season with Lukaku’s departure. It will take an exceptional run for the London club to be able to win this thing again, but its offensive depth could benefit them over the long haul.
The Italian club, also in search of a UCL title, have bulked up over the summer with the signings of Paul Pogba from Manchester United and Federico Chiesa from injury. Whether Italian soccer can produce a UCL winner remains to be seen.
The club spent a fortune over the summer and remains in the mix to win the UCL as a result. The addition of striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich gives Barca the firepower and experience it needs up front.
5. Bayern Munich
The Bavarian giants remain the best club out of Germany and that country’s best hope of winning the UCL. They have added Sadio Mane from Liverpool to their lineup, but the loss of Lewandowski could hurt them in the long run.
4. Paris Saint-Germain
PSG have the trio of Lionel Messi-Neymar-Kylian Mbappe for a second straight season. They need to channel that talent and create the chemistry in order to finally play at a level akin to these players’ reputations.
Last season’s runners up are always a tough team to play in the UCL. The addition over the summer of forward Darwin Nunez makes the Reds a formidable team and one capable of scoring plenty of goals.
2. Real Madrid
The defending UCL champions have Karim Benzema in top form once again. If he can replicate what he did last season, the Spanish giants will be off and running towards a second straight UCL title.
1. Manchester City
Any team that features Erling Haaland (10 goals from six Premier League matches so far this season) automatically goes to the top of any power rankings list. This could be the year manager Pep Guardiola finally wins the UCL with Man City.