Europa League 2012: Atletico Madrid Still Favorites to Win European Competition

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Europa League 2012: Atletico Madrid Still Favorites to Win European Competition
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid are still the favorites to win the 2012-13 Europa League, which would be their third straight triumph in this competition.

They are currently leading Group D with a perfect record of 3-0-0 and have scored six goals with just one goal against.

As a club with plenty of experience in this competition, Madrid will be the toughest team to beat as the Europa League moves forward.

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In addition to their early success in this competition, Madrid are also doing very well in La Liga, where they have emerged as a real contender in the league title race.

They are currently in second place with 25 points, just three behind Barcelona and five ahead of defending champions and rivals Real Madrid, who are in third place.

This is a very good Madrid squad, and since they have one of the best strikers in the world in Radamel Falcao, they will always have a chance to defeat top teams in Europe.

This was evident in the UEFA Super Cup final when Falcao dominated Chelsea and won the match for Madrid by himself with a sensational hat trick.

Falcao has been dominant in La Liga play with 10 goals scored in nine games, which ranks third in the league behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are No. 1 and 2, respectively.

Atletico Madrid will be the top contender to win the Europa League this season unless Falcao leaves the club during the January transfer window.

No one else in the Europa League has a match-winner like Falcao, which gives Madrid a huge advantage in this competition.

Madrid are a more complete squad than they were last season, and even though their strong attack is getting a lot of credit, and rightly so, it's their improved defensive play that is making a real difference in their performances as a team. The club has allowed the second-fewest goals in league play thus far.

With a better defense, a world-class goal scorer and plenty of positive experience in this competition, Atletico Madrid are still the favorites to win the Europa League this year.

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