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Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid & Dortmund Fall, Spurs Rise

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 31, 2013

Power Ranking the Top 20 European Clubs: Real Madrid & Dortmund Fall, Spurs Rise

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    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Welcome to the year's final edition of European club power rankings!

    We've compiled our last top 20 of 2013, so take a look at where your favourite club ranks as we head into a bright and prosperous 2014.

    Disagree with our opinion? As always, leave a comment below and join the conversation—it's what football is all about!

Honourable Mentions

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    Fenerbahce

    Perhaps cruelly dropping out due to the form of others. They finished the year on a high, beating Kayserispor 5-1.

     

    Benfica & Porto

    Have been pipped to the post by Liga Sagres' top-ranked side, but strap yourselves in for a bumpy title race.

     

    Lille

    For all their rivals' spending and brilliance, Lille sit four points off top spot in Ligue 1.

     

    Shakhtar Donetsk

    Rounded off 2013 in the top spot in the table, beating Chornomorets 1-0 on the final day.

20. Sporting

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    Last Week: 1

    Differential: None

    After finishing 2013 with a 0-0 draw against Nacional, Sporting are tied at the top of the Liga Sagres with Porto and Benfica on 33 points.

    It's shaping up to be one of the tightest title races in Portuguese history, and one slip-up from any of the three clubs could result in them dropping off the pace.

    Sporting retain top-dog status for us thanks to their superior goal difference, while there's also a lot to be admired in their blooding of youth.

19. Athletic Club

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    Last Week: N/R

    Differential: New!

    After flirting with our top 20 for months, Athletic Club have finally made the grade.

    They finish 2013 in fourth place in La Liga, a sign of their improved consistency against teams of all sizes, and will be looking to start quickly to maintain a throttle on the Champions League berth.

    They remain unbeaten at the New San Mames (won seven, drew two) and face a testing local derby against Real Sociedad, at Anoeta, when they resume their footballing schedule.

18. Tottenham Hotspur

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 19

    Differential: +1

    With Andre Villas-Boas gone, Tim Sherwood's Tottenham have moved through the gears and begun to play some exciting stuff.

    They move up in our list thanks to some great recent results and performances, but the big test will be at Old Trafford on New Year's Day.

    Will Sherwood's brand of attacking football hold up? For now, they're on the rise.

17. Monaco

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    Didier Baverel/Getty Images

    Last Week: 15

    Differential: -2

    Monaco ended the year with a disappointing 2-1 loss to Valenciennes—their first of the season on their own turf.

    It's only accelerated the chatter than the principal outfit won't last the distance, and with Radamel Falcao returning to the squad but missing a penalty, buckle up for a January full of exit rumours.

    They'll try and spend this winter to beef up their team, but for immediate improvement they should look to their bench—where Geoffrey Kondogbia sits, twiddling his thumbs.

16. Bayer Leverkusen

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Last Week: 14

    Differential: -2

    Bayer Leverkusen finished the 2012-13 season in a strong position and, after a great summer of recruiting, looked primed to turn a few heads in the new campaign.

    The Champions League didn't quite go to plan and the club failed to show up against Manchester United, but in the Bundesliga they've been solid.

    They finish the year in second, and despite sustaining two consecutive losses before the winter break, appear the second-strongest German club by a distance.

15. Manchester United

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Last Week: 16

    Differential: +1

    Manchester United have been the butt of a lot of jokes since David Moyes took over from Sir Alex Ferguson, but they're currently on a six-game win streak and look poised to breach the top four.

    Considering some are labeling this "the worst season ever," being two points off Liverpool—who are title contenders in most people's opinion—is hardly a bad thing.

    Onward and upward for Moyes' men.

14. Everton

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    Last Week: 18

    Differential: +4

    Roberto Martinez is used to entering the new year in the relegation zone, but this time around with Everton he begins 2014 in fourth place.

    It's testament to the sublime work he's doing at Goodison Park and, after seeing off a strong Southampton side on Sunday, consider themselves in the running for the top four.

    Hell of a year to be a Toffees fan.

13. Napoli

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    Enrico Locci/Getty Images

    Last Week: 13

    Differential: None

    Napoli overcame a short blip in November to finish the calendar year strongly.

    Rafa Benitez's troops sit in third place in Serie A heading into 2014, but have cruelly dropped into the Europa League following a freak set of circumstances involving Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund.

    The overall feeling is strong, though, and the Partenopei are in great hands.

12. Borussia Dortmund

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Last Week: 9

    Differential: -3

    Borussia Dortmund ended 2013 in basic disarray, winning one of their final six Bundesliga games and slipping to fourth—12 points off the Bayern Munich pace.

    It is almost solely down to injuries, and when you see die Schwarzgelben taking on the likes of Bayer Leverkusen with Marian Sarr and Erik Durm in defence, you feel for Jurgen Klopp.

    The club have essentially made it clear they won't recruit this winter, but simply wait for the walking dead to return—is this a huge mistake?

11. Liverpool

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    Last Week: 11

    Differential: None

    Liverpool end the year with two losses on the bounce to Manchester City and Chelsea, but can consider themselves mightily unfortunate not to have gleaned at least four points from the two fixtures.

    In fact, they've been unlucky all year, hitting the woodwork 33 times in the 2012-13 season and a further 11 times so far in this campaign.

    They're playing well but not getting the results. Brendan Rodgers knows that if he can rekindle the ruthless streak on display earlier in the season, his side are in with a chance of the title.

10. Roma

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    Last Week: 10

    Differential: None

    Roma started the campaign with a 10-game win streak, but then tailed off alarmingly with a succession of draws.

    They've picked the pace up again, though, and remain unbeaten through 17 fixtures. Rudi Garcia has a mammoth job managing the expectations he's crafted throughout the second half of the season, but 17 similar performances should bring Champions League football.

    Their final game before Christmas, a 4-0 win over Catania, was scintillating.

9. Chelsea

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Last Week: 12

    Differential: +3

    It's so difficult to gauge Chelsea's season under Jose Mourinho so far.

    Their year to date has been phenomenal—third last season, a Europa League win and sitting third going into 2014—but it feels like they're still straggling in first gear.

    Mourinho will ensure they're contenders at the end of the campaign, but there's no guarantees it will get any prettier at all.

8. Arsenal

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    Last Week: 8

    Differential: None

    It wasn't pretty, but Arsenal procured six points from their two Christmas fixtures and moved top of the Premier League table (again) as a result.

    Olivier Giroud is struggling but the Gunners are finding ways to score goals, shore up the defence and grind out important results amid great expectation.

    They've been the best club in England over the course of the entire calendar year, no question.

7. Real Madrid

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    Last Week: 7

    Differential: -2

    If Real Madrid are to challenge for the Liga title in 2014, they have to improve their away form and become a more dependable side.

    They finished the year with a scraped 3-2 victory at Mestalla, courtesy of a fluky Jese goal, and the result epitomised their lacklustre showings away from the Bernabeu over the course of the last 12 months.

    Carlo Ancelotti has work to do, but get it right and it could well be a trophy-laden season.

6. Juventus

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    Last Week: 7

    Differential: +1

    Whether it's because of Roma's unbeaten season (so far) or their failings in the Champions League we're not sure, but Juventus are putting together a historic campaign and deserve a little more credit.

    They've dropped just four points in Serie A so far and have picked up a jaw-dropping 46 points from 17 games. 

    When Atalanta scored their solitary goal in the 4-1 loss last weekend, it was the first the Old Lady had conceded in eight entire games.

5. Barcelona

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    Last Week: 4

    Differential: -1

    Barcelona overcame an early scare to smash Getafe 5-2 to round off 2013 in La Liga. Pedro's sublime hat-trick ignited murmurs that he could be set to return to good form.

    There is talk, albeit limited talk, that la Blaugrana are in a mini-crisis, but they won the division last season and sit top—on goal difference—entering 2014.

    Gerardo Martino is taking them away from their traditions somewhat, but he's winning games all the same.

4. Manchester City

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    Last Week: 6

    Differential: +2

    But for Arsenal's ground-out victory at Newcastle United on Sunday, Manchester City would have entered 2014 top of the Premier League table.

    Despite woeful away form earlier on in the competition they've bridged the gap and now sit right in the title hunt, and with the strength in depth they have you'd be nuts to rule them out.

    Manuel Pellegrini's vision is taking shape.

3. Paris Saint-Germain

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    Last Week: 3

    Differential: None

    Paris Saint-Germain finish the year top of Ligue 1 with just a single loss on their record.

    They've progressed with ease into the Champions League knockout stages and, aside from one slip-up vs. Evian, look in complete control of the league.

    Monaco may spend big this January to trouble them further, but it looks like the capital club have the legs to go the distance.

     

2. Atletico Madrid

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    Last Week: 2

    Differential: None

    Atletico Madrid ended one of the best years in club history with a 3-2 victory over Levante.

    They've kept pace at the top of the Liga table all season long and, having won the 2013 Copa del Rey and bested bitter rivals Real Madrid twice, look in great shape to continue a title tilt.

    Simply put, they look the most reliable of any Spanish outfit.

1. Bayern Munich

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    Last Week: 1

    Differential: None

    Bayern Munich finished 2013 seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and have a Club World Championship trophy in their hands.

    They have a game in-hand on nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen and remain unbeaten through the first 16 games. Pep Guardiola's charges look certain to retain the Bundesliga bar an incredible turn of events, but have a banana skin tie in the form of Arsenal to contend with in the UEFA Champions League.

     

    Happy New Year to everyone who reads Bleacher Report!

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