B/R Football Ranks: The Top 10 European Clubs so Far This Season

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterNovember 11, 2019

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 22:  Paulo Dybala of Juventus celebrates his second goal during the UEFA Champions League group D match between Juventus and Lokomotiv Moskva at Allianz Stadium on October 22, 2019 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

With at least 11 fixtures played in each of Europe's top five leagues, plus four Champions League matchdays in the bag and a bunch of domestic cup games, too, it's fair to say we've got a good feel for the top clubs on the continent at this stage.

And as we head into the final international break of 2019, it feels like a good time to stop, take stock and construct the second European Club Rankings of the season (you can view the first edition here).

Using what's transpired over the course of the season so far, B/R Football ranks the top 10 teams on the continent right now, according to performances and results in 2019-20. If you're a big name and you're not here—and there are plenty of you—step it up. Fast.

       


       

10. Borussia Monchengladbach

MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 07: Marcus Thuram of Borussia Moenchengladbach celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League group J match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and AS Roma at Borussia-Park on November 7, 20
TF-Images/Getty Images

One of the most intriguing storylines 2019-20 has given us so far is Gladbach's lightning start out of the Bundesliga blocks. They're four points clear at the top of the table after 11 games and have scored the third-most goals (24) so far.

Their rise has come as a result of fine tactical tuning, overseen by former RB Salzburg manager Marco Rose, with pressing and rapid transitional attacks the key features of their performances. The majority of their opponents simply haven't been able to cope.

That said, their Europa League campaign has been decidedly so-so; four games have brought only five points. That caps where they can rank in this list.

        

9. Leicester City

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09:  Jamie Vardy and James Maddison of Leicester celebrate after the second goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Arsenal FC at The King Power Stadium on November 09, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdo
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Eight wins from 12 Premier League games has seen Leicester rise to second in the table, turning plenty of heads in the process.

This team is strong—stronger, perhaps, than the side that actually won the division back in 2016—and the groove they've settled into has convinced everyone that a top-four finish beckons.

The Foxes' healthy mix of slick passing, intricate work in the box and no-nonsense defending has won over the neutrals (again), and they look better than many of the European heavyweights you'd usually consider for a list like this.

       

8. RB Leipzig

Leipzig's German forward Timo Werner celebrate scoring from the penalty spot with Leipzig's Danish forward Yussuf Poulsen during the German first division Bundesliga football match Hertha BSC Berlin v RB Leipzig, at the Olymic Stadium in Berlin on Novembe
ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

One slightly odd early-October blip aside, RB Leipzig have been machine-like in the way they've hoovered up victories this season. 

They're right in the thick of it at the top of the Bundesliga table, have a commanding hold over their Champions League group and have flexed their attacking muscles regularly, scoring three-plus goals in seven different games this season.

No top team would welcome the idea of facing off against Julian Nagelsmann's men any time soon.

     

7. Bayern Munich

MUNICH, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 09: Robert Lewandowski of FC Bayern Muenchen gestures during the Bundesliga match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Arena on November 9, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

That Bayern have already fired one manager this season tells you things haven't exactly been going to plan, but there's so much quality in the squad that they've been able to stay in touch at the top regardless.

Defensive injuries have threatened to derail them, but when Robert Lewandowski is averaging more than a goal per game, you can cover up your issues quite easily.

The 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker was a reminder that they can still produce overwhelming performances on big occasions.

        

6. Inter Milan

(From L) Inter Milan's Italian defender Danilo D'Ambrosio, Inter Milan's Croatian defender Marcelo Brozovic, Inter Milan's Italian head coach Antonio Conte and Inter Milan's Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez celebrate at the end of the Italian Serie A
MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

Antonio Conte's first season with Inter Milan is following the same pattern his maiden campaigns often do.

Inter look imperious in the league, with 31 points from 12 games landing them second (just a point behind Juventus), while in the Champions League, they've proved to be fragile—the Nerazzurri's collapse against Borussia Dortmund leaves them third in their group, three points back from second.

That is, for some reason, how Conte's teams generally fare; that relentless winning mantra in the league quite often isn't transferred to Tuesday and Wednesday nights, giving you a title charge, but little chance of continental glory.

To be fair, Inter's fans are probably fine with that balance right now. They look like they're going to push Juve all the way.

       

5. Barcelona

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates their team's third goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and RC Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou on November 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Imag
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Barcelona's start to the season has been a little rocky; questions were asked of many of their players while Lionel Messi wasn't fit enough to carry the torch, and manager Ernesto Valverde is a man whose credit with the fans is running dry.

But it's always important to put "big club crises" into context, and while Barca have been underwhelming at points, they're also top of La Liga and sit first in an extremely difficult Champions League group that contains Inter Milan and Borussia Dortmund.

Things aren't perfect at the Camp Nou, but they're not too bad, either, and the Blaugrana look a hell of a lot better than they did when we last took stock in September.

       

4. Paris Saint-Germain

TOPSHOT - Paris Saint-Germain's Argentine forward Mauro Icardi (R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Stade Brestois 29 and Paris Saint-Germain in Brest, western France, on November 9, 2019. (Photo by Damien MEYER
DAMIEN MEYER/Getty Images

Without wishing to discount 38 full league games, the minutiae of PSG's Ligue 1 campaign don't really matter. They've lost three in 13, which is more than people would expect, but it hasn't cost them at all, so it's not an issue.

The barometer for the French side is the same both internally and externally: the Champions League. And they're flying in that competition, one of only two sides to win all four of their games so far.

Helping them to this point was a thumping 3-0 win over Real Madrid and a perfect hat-trick for Kylian Mbappe against Club Brugge. We haven't even seen Neymar in full flow yet!

      

3. Manchester City

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Nine points adrift of Liverpool in the Premier League is not a good look for Manchester City. They're judged against an extremely high bar—a bar they set themselves—and so far in 2019-20, they've not reached the heights expected.

Still, there are some mitigating factors at play: They travelled to Liverpool on Sunday without their first-choice goalkeeper, centre-back, left-back and holding midfielder. The team might be stacked, but any side facing Liverpool with those internal issues probably won't prosper.

And judging by the bigger picture, they're still ticking along well: 25 points from 12 games in the league, sailing through their Champions League group with ease and drawing Oxford United in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.

Perhaps league success is beyond them this season, but silverware is still firmly on the cards.

        

2. Juventus

Juventus' Brazilian forward Douglas Costa celebrates with Juventus' Argentine forward Paulo Dybala after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League group D football match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and Juventus at Moscow's RZD Arena stadium on Novem
DIMITAR DILKOFF/Getty Images

Juventus own the single remaining unbeaten record left in Europe's top five leagues (all competitions).

You would think that would be enough to pave a path to the No. 1 spot in these rankings, but even the most ardent fans of the club would accept that things haven't quite clicked into place for them as yet and that they're clearly not yet up to full speed.

A knack for winning games they're not playing particularly well in has thus far guided them to a strong start— that elite mentality—borne from winning Scudetto after Scudetto—kicking in when required to dig out points.

You get the impression there's a lot more to come from the Old Lady—a notion that should scare their rivals across Europe.

      

1. Liverpool

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Alisson Becker of Liverpool celebrates after Sadio Mane of Liverpool scored a goal to make it 3-0 during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, Unit
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool's season can be defined by one word: relentless.

They. Just. Win.

Sunday was another example of that, with Manchester City producing a good performance at Anfield, inclusive of some really slick periods, but still finding themselves 3-0 down with an hour gone.

The win, ultimately by a 3-1 scoreline, continued the Reds' incredible start to the season, which has seen them win 11 of their 12 games and march eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Juventus may boast the only unbeaten record left in Europe, but it's Liverpool who appear the strongest side on the continent right now.

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All statistics via WhoScored.com

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