The race for the most important club trophy in European football has begun. Which teams and players could surprise in this edition of the Champions League? Find out below!
Photos: IG-stevenbergwijn, TW-BellinghamJude
LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González
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The magical nights of the Champions League are back, and many fans are waiting to see how their favorite teams will fare this season. However, beyond the typical clubs and players who almost always take center stage in each edition, there are also cases of those who seek to be the revelation of the tournament. And it is that, in the end, the most beautiful thing about football ends up falling on pleasant surprises.
Surprise or Forced to Classify?
Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG, Manchester City, FC Barcelona, are the typical names that come up when we talk about candidates to win the Champions League. The footballing and economic power of these usually takes them to the final instances, although year after year there is always one or another surprise that is capable of eliminating the favorites. What could be the ones in this edition?
Having been champion of the last Europa League gave the German team the chance to be in Pot 1 of the Champions League draw. In a close group that they share with Tottenham, Sporting CP and Marseille, those led by Oliver Glasner aim to advance to the next phase yes or yes. Even if they did as leaders, they would have great chances of reaching the quarterfinals. Rafael Borré, Lucas Alario and Tuta are the only Latinos on the squad.
Leaving Real Madrid out of the equation, the Scottish side will have to beat Leipzig and Shakthar to claim second place in the group. To do this, coach Ange Postecoglou will rely on a talented and intelligent squad, who know how to take the initiative in the first minutes of the game. Players like Joe Hart, Jota, Callum McGregor or Kyogo Furuhashi will be essential to achieve the goal of passing the round and make things difficult for the favorites.
The Eredivisie champions are always a fixture in the Champions League and may not be considered a “surprise” by some. However, this season they sold figures like David Neres, Lisandro Martínez and Antony, something that has given space to the new generations to demonstrate their football. If the team led by Alfred Schreuder manages to prevail over Liverpool, Napoli and Rangers in the group stage, it will surely be much more difficult to beat them from the round of 16.
With an overwhelming start to the season in the Bundesliga, those led by Edin Terzic will try to wash their image of the catastrophic 21/22 edition of the Champions League. In a group with Manchester City, Seville, and Copenhagen, the Germans will fight to be first in the group and thus try to emulate old times. To do this, they will appeal to the talent of young people such as Jude Bellingham, Giovanni Reyna, Youssoufa Moukoko or Karim Adeyemi, and veterans such as Marco Reus or Julian Brandt.
The most successful Italian club in the Champions League wants to conquer Europe again. Last year they finished last in the "group of death", but this year things have changed for the better. Coach Stefano Pioli knows how complex his rivals are (Chelsea, Salzburg, and Dinamo Zagreb) and that if they get the expected results they will return to a knockout stage. Reaching the semifinals could be as surprising as it is mandatory, and they have a squad to achieve it.
Footballers in the Spotlight
In a tournament as prestigious as the Champions League, there are always figures who get all the attention. However, on this occasion we want to target those who seek to be the new Messi, Benzema, Lewandowski, Neymar, Salah or Mbappé. Will these players be able to leave their mark on this edition? Pay attention to their names!
Manchester City's striker is by far the best in this Champions League. Although Haaland is the star, much is being said about Julián's contribution and everything that will grow from the hand of Pep Guardiola. The Argentine is a versatile footballer with a power of adaptability that allows him to position himself in any offensive zone. He may not end up among the top scorers, but he will certainly be involved in many scoring chances for his team.
He has just made the leap to European football after great presentations with River Plate. Benfica set their sights on the Argentine midfielder, and it has indeed borne fruit at the start of the season with goals, although that is not his specialty. In fact, Enzo is characterized more by his vision of the game, precise passes and a powerful shot from medium and long distance.
After an internship in the Premier League, the Dutch player returned to his homeland this year to play for Ajax Amsterdam. In this edition of the Champions League, many expect Bergwijn to have outstanding performances, since seeing him on the wings is synonymous with danger. His physical bearing makes him difficult to knock down, while thanks to his good dribbling he usually passes rivals without problems.
The English midfielder is in his second season with Borussia Dortmund and is only 19 years old. Manager Edin Terzic knows how decisive Bellingham can be for the team, both offensively and defensively, which is why he has played 90 minutes of every game so far. His tactical intelligence and impeccable technique make him valuable anywhere on the field, whether it's creating or cutting a play.
The rebirth of AC Milan is taking place on a par with the footballing explosion of the Portuguese attacker. Leão is showing that he has more football in his legs compared to last year, and that could be decisive for the Italian club's aspirations. His speed, ability to associate and goal scoring instinct allow him to perform like a modern attacker, whether on the wings or inside the area.