UEFA Champions League: Who Are This Year's Favourites?
With the 2012-13 season well underway, the Champions League group stages return with some mouth-watering matchups next week.
Holders Chelsea will look to defend their crown, but will be challenged by a host of European giants eager to claim glory.
After a busy summer in the transfer market, Betfair Champions League betting tips will be improvised by the new faces at the big clubs, but who are this year’s front-runners?
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
The Stamford Bridge side took the footballing world by surprise last term with an unexpected triumph over Bayern Munich in the final making Champions League news.
Roman Abramovich has spent big this summer on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses and Marko Marin. Roberto Di Matteo’s men will be eager to defend their crown.
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Spanish champions Real Madrid will look to build on their domestic dominance from last term and lift the coveted European crown, which Jose Mourinho won at FC Porto and Inter Milan before arriving at the Bernabeu.
Los Blancos were finally successful in their efforts to sign Luka Modric from Tottenham this summer. Teaming the Croatian with attacking stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will make them one of the teams to beat.
Dino Panato/Getty Images
The Turin giants enjoyed a revival under Antonio Conte, and won Serie A last season unbeaten.
After a busy summer in the transfer market, in which the club signed the likes of Mauricio Isla and Kwadwo Asamoah, the Bianconeri will look forward to mixing it up with Europe’s finest once again.
Juventus will hope that their dogged style and individual attacking abilities can cause damage on the continent.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Roberto Mancini’s men won a memorable Premier League title on goal difference on the last day of last season, ending a 44-year wait.
The club's owners have invested heavily in the recent past, but were relatively cautious in the transfer market this time round.
New faces Jack Rodwell, Matija Nastasic, Javi Garcia, Maicon and Scott Sinclair will add strength in depth without setting the world on fire.
David Ramos/Getty Images
The Catalan powerhouse suffered the indignity of losing their domestic title to Real Madrid and European crown to Chelsea last term, and will look to bounce back in 2012-13.
Tito Vilanova has replaced Pep Guardiola as boss, with Jordi Alba and Alex Song signed over the summer. With Lionel Messi and company eager to retake their place at the top, the Camp Nou outfit will take some stopping this term.
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images
The Qatari-backed Ligue 1 side have wasted no time in strengthening their squad this summer, with Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva arriving in the French capital.
Given the individual talent at Carlo Ancelotti’s disposal, PSG could well be an outside bet for glory in 2012-13.
Victor Fraile/Getty Images
The Bavarian giants are still having nightmares over their tournament final defeat to Chelsea last term, and will look to make amends this year.
Jupp Heynckes has spent wisely this summer, bringing Dante, Xherdan Shaqiri, Javi Martinez and Mario Mandzukic to the Allianz Arena to strengthen an already star-studded squad.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Sir Alex Ferguson’s team suffered a disappointing elimination from the group stage last year, and after a trophyless campaign, will be focused on glory this term.
The summer additions of Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa will bolster the Old Trafford side’s attacking options, and the Red Devils will be confident of reaching the latter stages at the very least.