Bayern Munich -


Jupp Heynckes was apparently persuaded to return to Bayern Munich by his barking pet.

But beyond placing excessive trust in a dog making dog noises, the faith that Heynckes has in several of a squad that won him the treble in 2013 perhaps makes Bayern the best bet to clean up this season.

Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben, in particular, have been key in the German champion’s 100 per cent record since the change in the dugout, having spoken out against the departed Carlo Ancelotti.

And having eradicated Borussia Dortmund’s five-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga, domestic honours should now prove a formality.

Not so the Champions League title, but by the time Bayern have eased through a straightforward group, Heynckes should have rebooted his side to the point that they are ready to mix it with the favourites for the competition again.

Verdict: Early managerial change makes them a good value bet.

Barcelona –


Barcelona were perceived to be in crisis over the summer, with the sale of Neymar highlighting board-level complacency that was filtering through to the first team.

But no team with Lionel Messi can be in the mire for long.

The Argentine has seemingly improved this season. He has scored 15 goals in 14 appearances, and brilliantly dragged his side out of several difficult predicaments.

Real Madrid’s slow start has allowed Ernesto Valverde’s side to seize control of La Liga – they have a four-point lead at the top – while defending the Copa Del Rey is evidently a possibility at .

The return of Ousmane Dembele in 2018 will prove timely in their bid to win back the Champions League, too.

But, more than ever, this is the Messi show.

A price of 18/1 isn’t so bad for Barcelona’s greatest ever to do the business again.

Verdict: There are worse individuals to be totally reliant upon.



PSG are favourites to win the lot domestically, and their stellar start to the group stage has seen them shoot to the top of the Champions League betting at , too.

Unlike all of their rivals for the treble, the league title is a foregone conclusion.

Unai Emery’s side are yet to lose a Ligue 1 match this season, every other side apart from Lyon have lost at least two.

But while PSG are clear favourites to defend their Coupe de France title, whether they really are the likeliest team to win the Champions League this season is questionable.

Dani Alves, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe go some way to bridging the gap between perennial early exits and champions, but the value lies with the tried and tested.

Verdict: European inexperience could let them down.

Real Madrid –


Real Madrid should probably focus on getting their La Liga defence back on track before thinking about multiple titles.

But that doesn’t mean that everybody else can’t get carried away.

Were Zinedine Zidane’s side to retain the Champions League again at , it would without doubt cap modern European football’s most dominant era.

Cristiano Ronaldo is surely the competition’s greatest ever player, having reserved his best performances for Europe in the last couple of years.

He has the chance to guarantee both he and his side’s legendary status between now and May.

And while Barcelona are in good nick now, Real were considered the more stable and superior Spanish team just a couple of months ago.

They will have plenty to say in the two-horse race for domestic honours this season.

Verdict: Have the experience to cap off a dominant era.

Manchester City –


Manchester City now resemble a classic Pep Guardiola team, and that is reason enough for the rest of Europe to worry.

They have shimmied, passed and probed their way to more goals than any team in Europe’s top five leagues so far this season, with Kevin De Bruyne reaching almost Messi-levels of influence.

Guardiola’s squad depth is particularly striking, too.

In their last Premier League game against Burnley, Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure and Gabriel Jesus appeared from the bench, while Raheem Sterling was afforded a complete rest altogether.

Their longer price is justified, though, considering their lack of Champions League-winning experience.

Only Claudio Bravo, Danilo and Yaya Toure have won the competition previously, none of whom are playing leading roles this season.

Guardiola, meanwhile, will not compromise his style for anybody. That, as he found out at Bayern Munich, could leave his side open to the best counter-attacking teams.

You can, however, back them to win all four trophies for which they are competing at .

Verdict: Inexperienced in Europe, but are playing the football to do it.

Juventus –


Winning one piece of silverware will prove a challenge for Juventus this season, let alone three.

The Italian champions’ emphasis on defence was undermined with the summer sale of Leonardo Bonnucci, meaning the side now relies on an attack that is not as good as most of their European rivals.

Napoli have shown the way with a string of swashbuckling performances, while Juventus’ 3-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League confirmed their trajectory since beating the same opposition by the same margin in April.

Not that manager Max Allegri does not have some excellent players to call upon.

Paulo Dybala is one of the outstanding attackers in Europe, while nobody has produced more assists than Miralem Pjanic in Serie A this season.

But with an ageing, weakened defence, Juve have lost the essence that took them to within one victory against Real Madrid of last season’s treble.

Verdict: Have gone backwards since going close last season.