So, the UEFA Champions League 2023-24 is basically the biggest club football (or soccer, if you’re from the States) competition in Europe.
Clubs from all over Europe battle it out to see who’s the best of the best. From big shots like Barcelona and Manchester City to underdogs who surprise everyone, it’s packed with drama, jaw-dropping goals, and unforgettable moments.
This season, the UEFA Champions League is having its 69th run with the big showdown, the final, set to take place at Wembley Stadium in London on 1 June 2024.
The winning team doesn’t just get bragging rights. They’ll secure a spot in the next year’s Champions League, get a chance to face off against the winners of the UEFA Europa League in the 2024 UEFA Super Cup, and join the massive 32-team 2025 FIFA Club World Cup happening in the U.S.
This is also the last time we’ll see the current setup with 32 teams in the group stage. They’re shaking things up next time around.
Oh, and by the way, Manchester City are the ones to beat – they clinched their very first title last year!
The Champions League 2023-24 odds are close, but who are the favourites in the betting odds so far?
Champions League 2023-24 Odds
Manchester City – 2/1
Manchester City has had a growing presence in the UEFA Champions League over the years. The club’s first entry into European competition was during the 1968-69 season when they participated in the European Cup, which has since been rebranded as the UEFA Champions League.
However, their stint was short-lived as they were eliminated in the first round by Fenerbahçe. They then had a long absence from European football and didn’t play in Europe again until 2003, marking a gap of 24 years.
Since 2003, Manchester City has qualified for European competitions regularly. Notably, they reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2015-16 and 2021-22 seasons.
They lost their maiden European Cup final to Chelsea in the 2020-21 season but won their first-ever European championship in the 2022-23 season.
Looking to the coming season, they are once again dominating domestic football in the Premier League. However, with stiff competition from both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs, it’s still all to play for.
For the Champions League 2023-24, things are looking more positive as they currently sit on top of Group G.
Bayern Munich – 9/2
Bayern Munich has a rich history in the UEFA Champions League, reflecting their status as one of Europe’s most successful football clubs.
Bayern Munich has been competing in UEFA competitions since the 1960s, marking the beginning of their presence on the European stage.
The club experienced a golden era in the mid-1970s, where they won the European Cup three consecutive times from 1974 to 1976.
After their initial success, Bayern Munich continued to perform well in the Champions League, clinching the title in 2001, 2013, and 2020.
The victories in 2013 and 2020 were part of seasonal trebles, showcasing Bayern Munich’s dominance not only in Europe but in domestic competitions as well.
In total, Bayern Munich has won the UEFA Champions League six times and their achievements place them joint third among all clubs across Europe in terms of Champions League/European Cup victories.
Like their English counterparts Manchester City, Bayern are also experiencing a mixed bag in the Bundesliga.
The Champions League 2023-24 is fairing much better where they currently top Group A.
Real Madrid – 7/1
Real Madrid made an indelible mark on the UEFA Champions League right from its inception in 1955. They won the first five editions of the tournament from 1956 to 1960, showcasing their early dominance in European football.
They won the competition again in 1966 however, they then experienced mixed fortunes in the tournament until the end of the 1990s.
The resurgence had begun with the Spaniards bringing the coveted trophy home again in 1998, 2000, and 2002.
Their success continued into the 2010s and 2020s, clinching the title in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, and most recently in 2022.
Real Madrid holds the record for the most victories in the UEFA Champions League with 14 titles to their name, and they are also the only club to have won the competition five times in a row.
Their success in the UEFA Champions League has solidified them as one of the most prestigious and successful football clubs in Europe.
So can they add to their tally in the 2023-24 season? With only one blip on their La Liga record this season, they are once again dominating Spanish football.
Under the watchful eye of manager Carlo Ancelotti and with striker Jude Bellingham on absolute fire, they are not to be underestimated as they rule over Group C.
Arsenal – 9/1
Despite never having won the Champions League, Arsenal are still in with a shot in the 2023-24 season.
Following the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, UEFA banned all English clubs from participating in European competitions.
This ban was lifted for the 1990-91 season, and Arsenal made their first appearance in the 1991-92 season.
Arsenal displayed a remarkable consistency in qualifying for the UEFA Champions League between the 1998-99 and 2016-17 seasons.
During this period, they qualified for the Champions League for nineteen successive seasons, an English football record only surpassed in Europe by Real Madrid.
To date Arsenal’s most notable achievement competition came in the 2005-06 season when they reached the final, becoming the first London club to do so. However, they were beaten by FC Barcelona in the final.
Undoubtedly, the club has faced challenges in advancing to the later stages of the competition so could the Champions League 2023-24 change their fortunes?
At home in the Premier League they are enjoy an incredible start to the season and are joint top alongside Spurs.
The Champions League has started ok for them with one win from two games (they were beaten by Group leaders Lens). But it’s still all to play for.
Barcelona – 10/1
Barcelona have won the UEFA Champions League a whopping five times, with victories in the seasons 1991/92, 2005/06, 2008/09, 2010/11, and 2014/15.
Additionally, they hold the record for most consecutive wins in the UEFA Champions League with 11 wins during the 2002-03 season.
One of the most widely supported teams in the world, Barcelona became the first sports team to surpass $1bn in annual revenues (2018).
However, after years of crazy spending as well as other factors, such as the pandemic, the club’s gross debt rose to about $1.4 billion in 2021.
With the retirement of Gerard Piqué, the departures of Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Dani Alves, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Philippe Coutinho you could be forgiven for thinking that the glory days are over.
But the one thing about Barcelona is that while they may down they are never out. And winning the Champions League 2023-24 could be exactly what gets the club back up and fighting again.