European Power Rankings: The Continent's 20 Best Football Clubs

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterNovember 5, 2012

European Power Rankings: The Continent's 20 Best Football Clubs

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    Bleacher Report brings you its regular European power rankings after a tumultuous weekend of fixtures.

    Bayern Munich bounced back with a win, Atletico Madrid hit a brick wall while Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United simply continued to win convincingly.

    This article is based upon domestic and European forms of clubs from England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Netherlands and Portugal.

Honourable Mentions

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    As the season wears on, there are several clubs whose bright starts fade.

    Malaga have endured a tumultuous month, picking up just two wins, collecting devastating injures and suspensions and facing the outlay from those dreaded payment issues (via sfgate.com).

    Eintracht Frankfurt, too, have stuttered after an incredible opening to their season. After an unbeaten start, they've dropped the tempo slightly and the latest home draw to bottom-of-the-table Greuther Furth was a real disappointment.

    David Moyes and Everton have cooled off with four consecutive draws, albeit the one against Fulham should have been a win, and they're simply not burying their chances.

    Despite being at the top of the Eredivisie, FC Twente have hit the buffers, Borussia Dortmund continue their abject form in the face of injuries and Napoli's disappointing last four weeks sees them drop out.

    Cagliari just missed out as their impressive four-game win streak came to an abrupt halt at the hands of Fiorentina.

20. Lyon

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    Lyon continued their impressive start to the season with a feisty win over Bastia at the weekend.

    The 5-2 triumph saw two red cards and may well have been helped by a very poor performance from Mago Macedo Noveas, but the goals just kept flowing for Les Gones.

    Steed Malbranque has found a new lease on life at the Stade de Gerland, Yoann Gourcuff isn't playing terribly for a change and Remi Garde has glossed over the complaints of Lisandro Lopez nicely.

19. Braga

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    When Braga went 2-0 up at Old Trafford last month, the millions watching who weren't Manchester United fans were gleeful at the prospect of consecutive Sir Alex Ferguson slip-ups in Europe.

    The Red Devils fought back to 3-2, but Os Arsenalistas showed enough to reiterate that Portuguese league football is growing in quality.

    Domestically, Jose Peseiro's men are doing just fine. Third in the table with just one loss, Braga will be taking a serious look at the UEFA Champions League knock out stages.

18. Levante

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    Levante sit fifth in La Liga after a wonderful month of October.

    Their defence has tightened up to match the explosive threat of Obafemi Martins up front, keeping four clean sheets in their last six outings.

    Juan Ignacio Martinez is onto something a little bit special with the Granotes, and they've got European football to help cement their place as an attractive option for star players next year.

17. Stuttgart

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    Stuttgart may only lay 10th in the Bundesliga table, but their recent revival in form should not be overlooked.

    In fact, it's the kind of upturn in fortunes the next Wolfsburg manager will be desperate for, as die Roten have stopped leaking goals and found a consistent goalscorer in Vedad Ibisevic.

    The Bosnia and Herzegovina international is finally showing the regular predatory instincts that had his Hoffenheim side charging up the table several years ago, and Bruno Labbadia will be quietly satisfied with the steady progress his side are making.

16. Fiorentina

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    Fiorentina have crept up to fourth place in the Serie A table thanks to a great run of recent form.

    Three wins in a row, including triumphs over Lazio and in-form Cagliari, make them one of the teams to beat in Italy's top tier right now, and they continue to breathe heavily down the neck of Napoli.

    Vincenzo Montella's South American imports are really doing the business for the Viola so far this season.

15. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Paris Saint-Germain have been leading the way all season long in Ligue 1, but a recent loss to Saint-Etienne will have brought les Parisiens back down to earth.

    Their star-studded squad are heavy favourites to become French champions this season and Carlo Ancelotti is managing the pressure and expectations well.

    His biggest worry will be Mamadou Sakho's own goal record rather than his team slipping out of control in the title race.

14. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Bayer Leverkusen are one of the form teams in Europe right now, and their beating of Bayern Munich in October was followed up by a solid win over Fortuna Dusseldorf this weekend.

    Unbeaten in seven Bundesliga games with woeful Wolfsburg to come next, the Werkself have the chance to challenge Schalke and Eintract Frankfurt for the seat behind Die Bayern in the Bundesliga table.

13. Schalke 04

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    Schalke's loss to Hoffenheim this weekend hurt a lot, but they're still the strongest team in the Bundesliga beyond Bayern Munich right now.

    Their win over Borussia Dortmund may have been more to do with Die Borussen's injuries and tactical gambles, but it still served as a yardstick for how well Huub Stevens' team is doing.

    Both offensively and defensively, this team is excellent.

12. Benfica

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    Benfica are unbeaten domestically this term, grabbing six wins and two draws from eight games.

    They've found goals through Rodrigo, Lima and Oscar Cardozo, who've combined for 15 of their 22 goals in the Liga Sagres so far.

    Their dodgy European form is the only downer on their season to date.

11. FC Porto

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    It's very difficult to separate FC Porto and Benfica, as they're identical for points and wins in the Portuguese league.

    Vitor Pereira's impressive European form, which has seen them emerge as a dark-horse contender for the UEFA Champions League, is what's tipped the balance of the scales.

    The Portistas don't even miss Hulk, with Jackson Martinez and James Rodriguez firing them to top spot in the table.

10. PSV Eindhoven

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    PSV Eindhoven have won six from six and sit second in the Eredivisie with a ridiculous +28 goal differential.

    They've got goals flowing from Tim Matavz, Dries Mertens, Kevin Strootman, Georginio Wijnaldum and more, making them one of the most potent teams in European football.

    The Eredivisie is not the strongest league, but a perfect recent record cannot be ignored.

9. Manchester City

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    Manchester City have finally started stringing some domestic form together despite their injury concerns.

    Their European prospects remain positively edgy, but a four-game win streak only came to an end with a 0-0 draw at West Ham.

    They had more than enough chances to bury the Hammers and are playing with absolutely no right-backs whatsoever.

8. Chelsea

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    Chelsea really are in a rough patch of form.

    Their superb start to the season has been toned back slightly as consecutive poor results see them slip off the top of the English Premier League.

    Conceding late to Swansea is not what champions do, while the League Cup win over Manchester United saw them just about overcome Sir Alex Ferguson's second string.

    The Blues are still immensely strong and certifiable title contenders, they just need to regain their composure.

7. Atletico Madrid

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    So the dream run came to an end as Valencia beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Mestalla.

    For the first time in a long time, los Colchoneros lost a game of football and Radamel Falcao failed to have a telling impact.

    Still, eight wins, one draw, one loss and 22 goals scored? The solitary loss was inevitable and doesn't make them drop very far at all.

    If Atleti lose to Getafe this weekend, the bubble will burst. If they win, and most expect them to, this is just a blip.

6. Manchester United

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    Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 this weekend to move to the top of the English Premier League table.

    The scoreline flatters the Gunners as the Red Devils exerted complete control over the game, Robin van Persie scored against his old club and even Anderson got a well-deserved run out.

    That's four wins in a row for Sir Alex Ferguson's men, and many expect them to continue their good form throughout the rest of November.

5. Barcelona

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    Barcelona retained their spot at the top of La Liga thanks to a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo.

    The killer goal was subject to some controversy (it was clearly offside), but nevertheless Tito Vilanova continues his near-perfect start as Barca boss.

    The only damp spot of the night? Lionel Messi failed to score and dedicate a goal to his new son Thiago.

4. Juventus

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    Juventus lost their first game in 49 attempts this weekend to Internazionale, and to be honest it's been coming.

    They've been grinding out results more than anything and stuttering in Europe. They're an excellent team and Andrea Pirlo shows no signs of stemming his creativity, but the accusations of match-fixing and referee-bribing won't die down.

    Despite the loss, they've still won five games from six and are good for a high placing in these power rankings.

3. Real Madrid

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    Why are Real Madrid ranked above Barcelona in this list? Several reasons.

    With their recent form identical (five wins, one draw), it's difficult to separate the two, but Jose Mourinho's men look far less suspect than Tito Vilanova's do.

    While los Blancos were busy demolishing Real Zaragoza, la Blaugrana were showing their frailties against an inspired Levante side.

    The doubts are creeping up on Vilanova, but Mourinho is as stubborn and effective as ever.

2. Bayern Munich

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    The blip at home to Bayer Leverkusen was quickly papered over by a strong, convincing 3-0 win away at Hamburg.

    Jupp Heynckes' men may have experienced their first league defeat in October, but nine wins and one loss is still one of the best records in European domestic football.

    Die Bayern are blessed with goals from all areas of the pitch and the emergence of Thomas Muller as one of the premier players in the world is a welcome boost.

1. Internazionale

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    After weeks of threatening to be one of the best teams in Europe, a six-game win streak accompanied by the infliction of Juventus' first league loss for 49 games just about does the trick.

    They've shown tactical flexibility and Andrea Stramaccioni has gotten the best out of what's available to him.

    He's toyed successfully with a three-man defensive system, inspired Diego Milito into world-class form, uses his deep midfield corps wisely and gets the best out of Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus.