UEFA Champions League: Four Underdog Candidates to Win Trophy Next Season
The UEFA Champions League's qualifying rounds have been underway for about a month and we're slowly closing in on the beginning of the Group Stage. The Third Qualifying Round matches will be played next week, while all the play-off games will be finished before the end of August.
Every year, the Champions League captivates millions of viewers around the world. It's impossible to tell what will happen and there is always going to be huge amounts of drama.
Before the start of the tournament each year, people throw in their predictions and make bold guesses on who will win. Some years, the favorites end up victorious. But, in the Champions League, it's usually an underdog team that wins.
Without further ado, here is a list of four underdog candidates who could win the trophy in 2013:
After the 2010/2011 Bundesliga season, many Borussia Dortmund fans were overwhelmed by the team's performances and excited about featuring in the 2011/2012 edition of the Champions League.
The German team were comfortable league winners in 2011 and were looking to perform well in Europe later that year. With the likes of Mario Gotze, Neven Subotic, Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund appeared to be one of the contenders for the great trophy.
Unfortunately, as we know, nothing went according to plan and Dortmund earned just four points in Group F, finishing in last place.
Now it's summer 2012 and it's difficult to predict how well the German side will play in the upcoming Champions League. Dortmund's 2011/2012 domestic season was even better than the year before as they got even more points in the league and also went on to win the DFB-Pokal.
It'll be interesting to see how well Borussia play in Europe next season, especially after losing star players Shinji Kagawa and Lucas Barrios.
For the past six years, Arsenal have been huge underachievers in the Champions League. After narrowly losing in the final in 2006, the Gunners have gotten past the quarter-finals just once since then.
Every year, the question is the same: when will Arsenal finally win a trophy?
It's been over seven years since the Londoners lifted any kind of silverware. While the Champions League is most likely the hardest tournament to win, it would certainly make Gunners fans exuberant.
Arsene Wenger completed the signings of Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski over the last couple months, but the French manager will have to make a few more purchases in midifield and defense.
The probability of Arsenal winning the Champions League is very low but still possible, if the team can stay injury-free throughout the campaign.
Paris Saint-Germain have always been one of the best teams in France, but their recent transfers could make them one of the top sides in all of Europe.
Since the Qatar Investment Authority began financing PSG, the French side has become one of the world's biggest spenders. Manager Carlo Ancelotti and Director Leonardo have brought in many notable players, including Jeremy Menez, Kevin Gameiro, Diego Lugano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva.
PSG now have one of the best squads in Europe and will be competing in the Champions League this coming season. "Les Parisiens" haven't participated in too many editions of the tournament but will feel that they can make a mark this time.
If you asked someone ten years ago, they would say that Juventus were certainly one of the favorites to win the Champions League. The Italian side was always one of the best teams in Europe and featured in four CL finals from 1995 to 2003.
Since the early 2000's, Juventus have lost much of their prominence and popularity, with the 2006 Italian Match-Fixing Scandal and relegation to Serie B hurting the team badly.
While the Old Lady came back to the Serie A in 2007, it has taken them five years to return to their top form. In their most recent season (2011-2012), Juventus were very impressive as they won the league with an unbeaten record.
They will now be in the Champions League and, with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Alessandro Matri, you would expect them to be at their best.