The 20/21 edition of the Champions League kicks off tonight! With the action-packed season all set to unfold, we look at 5 teams that go into the competition with a little talk about them making it deep into the tournament.
The unpredictable nature of the Champions League is one of the best things about it. And one of the best things about football itself. In the 18/19 season, it was Ajax. Last year RB Leipzig, Atalanta and Lyon managed to get the better of the bigger teams as they went into the last knockings of elite European competition.
Who is it going to be this year? Here are our five candidates.
The 20/21 season marks the first time that Stade Rennais have managed to qualify for Champions League football in their history. The only European competition they have played in before is the Europa League.
The transition is no doubt massive, but it will be interesting to see how the Ligue 1 club fare in their debut season. Rennes face Chelsea, Sevilla and Krasnodar in the group stage, in a very balanced setting.
With the likes of Daniel Rugani, Eduardo Camavinga and Jeremy Doku in the squad, Rennes have a pool of talent that can really use some exposure to elite European competition.
The winners of the Europa League also managed to finish in the top 4 of La Liga, cementing their place in the Champions League. Sevilla have struggled to follow up to their multiple Europa League victories with similarly strong performances in the Champions League.
However, this season looks different. The club are playing good football under Lopetegui, and with the likes of Lucas Ocampos, Rakitic, Diego Carlos, Jules Kounde and Jesus Navas in the squad, the La Liga side could make their mark this season, whilst showing the amount of talent that their squad possesses.
Following a season that saw him win the European Golden Boot, Ciro Immobile will be hoping to replicate the form of the season gone by as Lazio return to the Champions League for the first time in over a decade.
Supported by Milinkovic-Savic, Luis Alberto and Manuel Lazzari, Simeone Inzaghi’s men are surefire underdogs heading back to the top tier of European football in 13 years.
The Biancocelesti have the potential to make it into the knockout stages at the very least, whether they manage to achieve it or not, is what remains to be seen.
Although Leipzig managed to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League last season without Timo Werner, it would be foolish to argue that the loss is not a great one.
However, the genius of Julian Naagelsmann is such that he has built a squad that is flexible and fluid in its style of play. Being able to change formations at the drop of a hat, Leipzig are once again in the position to surprise the casual watchers as they attempt another heist towards the big-eared trophy.
Haaland and Sancho are the poster boys for the media. But given the sheer talent that Dortmund have at their disposal this season, a progression deep into the quarter-finals or the semi-finals seems like something well within their reach.
Accompanied by Jude Bellingham, Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard, Marco Reus and Gio Reyna, Dortmund have some of the most exciting young talents in the continent. Their success this season would lie in giving the bigger teams a run for their money, as the side is truly capable of achieving so much.
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