The UEFA Champions League makes its long-awaited return on Friday with round of 16 second legs. Play was called off in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Domestic leagues have since restarted and concluded play, setting the stage for this competition to wrap up in August. Champions League resumes with a slightly changed format as the quarterfinals and semifinals are now one match instead of two legs. From the quarterfinal round through the final, every match will take place in Lisbon, Portugal. But before those quarters begin, four more teams have to advance to that round to join PSG, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig.
Before play gets underway, here is how all 12 teams rank in our Champions League power rankings.
The most in-form team in the continent. Bundesliga champs, DFB-Pokal champs and on a 17-game winning streak. Hansi Flick's team is unbeaten in its last 22 games and has scored at least three goals in five of its last eight games. As good a chance as any to conquer Europe, with Robert Lewandowski's 51-goal season leading the way.
City may not have Sergio Aguero for the time being due to a knee injury, but the club has to be viewed as a top contender. Pep Guardiola's side has to get by Real Madrid in the round of 16 first, but the electric attack is in form. While the central defense is a concern, City has all of the quality needed to win this competition. Playing one-leg affairs is probably to their disadvantage because any team can have a bad 90 minutes. Taking care of City after 180 is much more challenging.
Their overall success will be determined by whether or not they are crowned UCL champs, especially with the way the draw played out. Kylian Mbappe's ankle injury is a huge concern, but with Neymar, a strong central midfield and a defense with so much potential, this team has all the makings of reaching the final. If it doesn't, it will be another massive failure on the continental stage.
Los Blancos have been in sensational form since play resumed, and they went outlast Barcelona and win La Liga. Zinedine Zidane's team still has to overcome the 2-1 loss to Manchester City with the second leg at the Etihad on Friday, which seemed impossible months ago. The players continue to gel -- Thibaut Courtois has been fantastic and Sergio Ramos has somehow carried this team as a prolific scorer. Ramos is suspended for the second leg, so they'll have to lean on someone else.
The Champions League Cinderella with nothing to lose and everything to gain, boasting an unforgiving attack that scored 98 goals in Serie A. That was 22 more goals than champion Juventus. This team is dangerous, but not only because of its fantastic attack. PSG could have some problems against Atalanta. Seven players on the team have double-digit goals. By comparison, Bayern Munich has three.
Diego Simeone's side is always dangerous. Three-time runners-up and with as good a defense as there is in Europe, "El Cholo" has his team clicking and surpassing expectations. Remember when Antoine Griezmann's departure to Barcelona was supposed to doom this side? It hasn't happened. Atleti will be favored against RB Leipzig in the quarterfinals, and it shouldn't shock you if this side reaches the final.
This team has so much quality on paper, yet it hasn't lived up to expectations. Too inconsistent down the stretch in La Liga to convince anyone they are real contenders. Of course, when you have Lionel Messi, you have a shot. Barca has a tough path to the final and first has to get by Napoli in the round of 16. They can do it, but there haven't been enough convincing performances as of late to make you think it will actually happen.
Another side full of quality but ran into hiccups during the restart in Italy. Yes, Juve may have won Serie A, but it stumbled across the finish line and managed to hang on to a one-point lead to the title. The club has won just two of its last eight games in all competitions, and the defense has really just dropped off the map. Another club that will be measured by how it does in this competition, it's do or die now for this aging squad. Juve trails Lyon 1-0 after their round of 16 first leg.
Coppa Italia champs and playing with a ton of confidence, Gennaro Gattuso has his team believing. They closed out the season in Serie A on a pretty strong note and have what it takes to bounce Barca from the competition. Where this team has to improve is in its sharpness in attack. In the loss to Inter Milan just over a week ago, the club had 15 shots, several of which were clear as day, yet only two went on frame.
The Blues are reeling. After losing the FA Cup final to Arsenal and dealing with numerous injuries including Christian Pulisic's hamstring, they probably have a slim chance of coming back against Bayern Munich. Down 3-0 after the first leg of the round of 16, they will need a near-perfect performance to come back. Just one goal from Bayern would force Chelsea to have to score four.
This team has speed, talent and is well coached. They were a serious threat in the competition earlier this year, but with star striker Timo Werner now at Chelsea, it seems rather unlikely that they will make a deep run. Werner's 34 goals are 18 more than any other player on the the roster. The second top scorer at the striker position is Patrik Schick with 10. The defense is top notch, and that will keep them in any game, but the loss of Werner seems impossible to overcome.
Lyon struggled in Ligue 1, has dealt with a ton of injury issues and just lost the Coupe de la Ligue final to PSG. While the club has a 1-0 lead over Juventus ahead of its round of 16 second leg, the performances to end the season make it feel unlikely that they will hold on. But just one goal from Rudi Garcia's team would force Juve to score three. Lyon does have a quality chance of advancing, but it's probably more due to Juve's even worse form.
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