Manchester City finally got over the enormous hurdle of winning their first UEFA Champions League title in the 2022/23 season. It was their second final appearance after consistent runs to the latter stages in recent years.
City have always had the quality to be UCL contenders under Pep Guardiola, but now with the experience of winning the trophy, they could be unstoppable.
Back-to-back titles look likely for the high-flying Manchester team, but are any teams well-equipped to potentially upset them in their pursuit of achieving history this season?
City are massive favourites
City are huge favourites to retain the biggest European honour this campaign, and that is no surprise after they empathetically knocked out Real Madrid and Bayern Munich en route to last year’s success.
They proved their pedigree in the European game is fast growing, and that they are not phased by the historical legacies of their opponents. In Champions League betting, they are 2/1 favourites to go all of the way to Wembley and win again in 2024. The Champions League winner odds suggest Bayern and Real will be their strongest competitors with the pair offered at 4/1 and 13/2 respectively.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 17, 2023
The Blue side of Manchester looks likely to take another step toward building an eternal legacy in Europe in 2024. However, their strongest opponents from last year have made improvements over the summer and will be desperate to achieve the greatest club prize themselves.
Bayern are undoubtedly the greatest threat to City’s potential back-to-back success this season. They are typically one of Europe’s strongest teams year-on-year but over the summer they went up another level with the signing of Harry Kane.
Kane joined the club from Tottenham Hotspur in pursuit of trophies, and there will not be one he wants greater than the UEFA Champions League.
Not the win we wanted but an unbeaten qualifying campaign and top of the group. Bring on the Euros in the summer! Thanks for all the support pic.twitter.com/XWYqWq2Ha6
— Harry Kane (@HKane) November 20, 2023
The England national team captain has an excellent record against Guardiola’s team having netted five goals and three assists in 14 Premier League appearances against them. He also has the strong omen of having beaten City the one time his Spurs team faced them in the UCL.
Kane is arguably the most complete attacking player in world football, and his presence alone makes Bayern one of the UCL frontrunners, but they have an excellent all-round team to supplement his qualities.
The likes of Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane make up the strong German core that could go head-to-head with City’s English-heavy squad at some point in the 2024 knockout stage.
Real Madrid are genuine European royalty. With 14 titles to their name, they can not be counted out of any UCL competition. Most of their 2023/24 squad has experience of winning the UCL in the past, and they will be desperate to avenge the semi-final defeat at the hands of Guardiola’s team last year.
Their squad is perhaps not as well-rounded as City or Bayern’s, but the power of the Bernabeu knows no bounds. Madrid has on countless occasions progressed all of the way in the competition when they had no right to do so.
If City show any complacency in the knockout rounds then Madrid will surely be on hands to extend their record haul even further. They are serial winners for a reason – they have an incomparable desire to win which has transcended generations of Real teams.
City’s second UCL title will be far from straightforward this season. Bayern are spearheaded by one of Guardiola’s most feared opponents, and Madrid’s prestige simply has to be respected as they so often defy the odds to claim victory. That trophy may well not belong in England beyond June 2024.