Following the first legs of the Champions League quarterfinals, La Liga giants Barcelona stand as the heavy favorite to hoist Europe’s most coveted trophy this year. The Catalans blasted Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 Wednesday at Parc des Princes, picking up three crucial away goals before the second leg matchup at Camp Nou next week, and are 11/8 favorites to not only move on but win their first Champions League title since 2011 and eighth overall, based off odds from Bovada.lv.
Current title-holder Real Madrid and 2013 winners Bayern Munich both sit within striking distance at 7/2 odds, and Serie A’s Juventus are listed at 7/1. The biggest longshots in the field are Ligue 1 mates AS Monaco at 100/1 and severely wounded PSG at 200/1.
Separated by two points on Spanish Primera table, Barcelona and Real Madrid could be on a collision course to the finals. Both boast two of the tournament’s top 10 scorers, with the Catalans' Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, and Los Blancos' Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, combining for 14 goals.
Barcelona are hoping to erase the memory of last year’s 2-1 aggregate loss to Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals, and the massive 7-0 semifinal letdown to Munich in 2013.
What’s especially scary for the rest of the field is the lack of production from the Catalans other top striker, Neymar. Barcelona are lighting up opponents, but the Brazilian international has only scored twice in his last six Champions League matches.
Real Madrid and Ronaldo own the all-time record with 13 Champions League titles, but the titans haven’t secured back-to-back titles since 1960, when they racked up the last of five straight.
Munich, seeking a third trip to the finals in the last four years, stumbled in the first leg of the quarterfinals against Porto, falling 3-1. However, their chances are still strong thanks to the away goal and the second leg turning back to Allianz next week.
Juventus are running away with the Serie A title for the fourth straight year, but the Italian side haven’t been able to project that domestic success onto the international stage. Led by forward Carlos Tevez’s six goals, the Old Lady look to end a Champions League drought that stretches back to 1996.
Juventus last made the finals in 2003 when they lost on penalties to Inter Milan, but should midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba return from injury shortly the Old Lady stand to make a deeper push in this year's tournament.
Odds to win Champions League
Bayern Munich 7/2
Real Madrid 7/2
Atletico Madrid 14/1
AS Monaco 100/1
Paris Saint-Germain 200/1