Can Bayern Munich retain Europe's biggest trophy? This season's UCL contenders

Will Bayern be able to successfully defend Europe's biggest trophy, can Pep Guardiola end Man City's curse or is it time for Neymar to inspire PSG?

With Europe's premier soccer competitions returning in a week, here is a look at the teams who should be considered as the main frontrunners for this season's UEFA Champions League.

Bayern Munich

Nobody can look past current holders of the tournament when arguing who will take this year's crown. Bayern Munich ran out 1-0 winners against Paris Saint-Germain in Portugal's capital to win Europe's biggest prize with Kingsley Coman netting a header.

The German giants have continued their ruthless form and sit top of the Bundesliga with a seven-point cushion over second placed RB Leipzig. Their Champions League group stage campaign was almost flawless as they won five and drew one of their six games - scoring 18 goals in the process.

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With star striker Robert Lewandowski spearheading their attack and joined by an impressive supporting cast of youth and experience in Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Alphonso Davies, Bayern will take some stopping. Their last-16 matchup this year will see Lazio attempt an upset.

Manchester City

Manchester City have won everything domestically under the supervision of highly decorated coach Pep Guardiola. However, the wait for European glory continues and the Champions League has haunted City, who are yet to lift the trophy.

Man City crashed out at the quarter-final stage last year after an upset to French side Lyon. Since Guardiola is yet to guide City any further in the competition but with a record-breaking run of 15 successive wins with the current team, they are considered as the most in-form European team domestically.

The Manchester-based club sit five points clear at the summit with a game in hand and with an outstanding defensive record of just 14 goals conceded. The turn around in form is down to new defensive pairing of Ruben Dias and John Stones.

Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan has stepped up in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne. Their defence could be the key which unlocks their quest for Champions League glory. Man City will face Borussia Monchengladbach in this year's round of 16 tie - a meeting which should see Raheem Sterling and co progress into the last eight.

Pep Guardiola has won the competition on two occassions with Barcelona but is yet to take Manchester City past the quarter-final since arriving at the club in 2016
Pep Guardiola has won the competition on two occassions with Barcelona but is yet to take Manchester City past the quarter-final since arriving at the club in 2016

The German side did however, qualify from a group containing Real Madrid and Inter Milan so Guardiola will be wary of a team which seems to put on their best displays in Europe this season.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid are another team looking strong this year. They sit top of La Liga with a commanding five point lead and two games in hand on second placed Real Madrid.

The arrival of Luis Suarez from Barcelona has brought some serious firepower to Atletico's attack, who are usually a side known for their strong defensive displays in previous seasons.

With greater balance in their team and an impressive list of players including Joao Felix, Jan Oblak, Saul Niguez and Yannick Carrasco, Atletico may have what it takes to win their first Champions League.

Diego Simeone will be desperate to bring a Champions League trophy to the people of Atletico having come so close in 2014 and 2016, with two painful defeats to Los Blancos - their biggest rivals.

To progress further in this competition, Simeone's men will have to get past Chelsea, who recently appointed last year's runner up coach of Paris Saint-Germain Thomas Tuchel as their new boss.

Atletico and Simeone will be hoping history repeats itself from their 2014 semi-final win over the London club.

Potential dark horses

Paris Saint-Germain - Finished runners up last season and still have world class talent at their disposal in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. New coach Mauricio Pochettino took former side Tottenham Hotspur to the final in 2019 but lost out to Liverpool, who won their sixth European crown.

Can Poch go one further and create history?

Much will depend on the form and fitness of striking duo Neymar and Mbappe.

Real Madrid - With a record of 13 European Cup/Champions League titles, you can never rule out Los Blancos of glory in Europe's most elite competition.

Zinedine Zidane knows how to win in Europe as a manager and player with a total of four Champions League titles
Zinedine Zidane knows how to win in Europe as a manager and player with a total of four Champions League titles

However, since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, they have been eliminated in the round of 16 in the past two seasons to Ajax and Man City.

While a crisis is never too far away, Madrid's unprecedented success in the tournament with Zinedine Zidane means they are always contenders.

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