05:41 GMT04 December 2020
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    UEFA has revealed a return to the ‘final eight’ format will be considered as a way to round off the Champions League and Europa League from 2024. The single-country, one-leg format was adopted for practical purposes last season amid the coronavirus pandemic and the knockout format proved to be a big hit as a spectacle.

    The Champions League is ready to begin again with six-time winner and current holders Bayern Munich and England's Manchester City favourites to lift the famous trophy at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul in May.

    Bayern Munich won the 2020 title in some style after the competition restarted, hammering Chelsea and crushing Barcelona before defeating Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain in the semi-final and final.

    The bookies have made the German giants co-favourites at 5/1 to retain the Champions League along with Pep Guardiola’s City side, who were beaten quarter-finalists last season.

    The Bavarians won all 11 matches they played in the competition, also scoring six goals at Red Star Belgrade and seven at Tottenham Hotspur as they cruised to victory in the competition. This time round they have been drawn in Group A with Atlético Madrid (20/1), Lokomotiv Moscow and Salzburg.

    Manchester City, the other co-favourites, could only reach the last eight before losing to Lyon last season. Their push for a first European title begins in Group C, in which they face 2004 winners Porto, Olympiacos and Marseille.

    Liverpool, champions of Europe for the sixth time in 2019, are 7/1 third favourites despite key defender Virgil van Dijk being ruled out for the rest of the season with an ACR injury, and have been drawn in Group D with Ajax, Atalanta and Midtjylland of Denmark.

    Last season’s runners-up PSG, fourth favourites (11/1), face Manchester United (30/1), RB Leipzig and Istanbul Basaksehir in a highly competitive Group H.

    The other English representatives, Chelsea (20/1), are in Group E with Europa League winners Sevilla, Rennes and the Russian side Krasnodar. 

    Elsewhere, record 13-time European champions Real Madrid (12/1) are in what looks like a tough Group B with Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach.

    Ronald Koeman's Barcelona (14/1) are currently rebuilding but still have Lionel Messi in the team after he was linked with a move away from the Nou Camp, and are drawn in Group G against Ronaldo’s Juventus (also at 14/1), Ukraine’s Dynamo Kiev and Hungarian new boys Ferencvaros make up the group.

    Borussia Dortmund, with outstanding young Norwegian striker Erling Haaland in their lineup, are 25/1 after being drawn in Group F with Zenit St Petersburg, Lazio and Bruges.

     

     

     

     

     

    Tags:
    FC Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Champions League
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