Top 5 Clubs Most Likely to Win UEFA Champions League, According to Latest Odds

The 2014/2015 UEFA Champions League is halfway through the group stage and it is time to review the tournament to date. Are there any major surprises? What team is most likely to win the entire tournament? To find out the answers, has simulated the tournament a few hundred thousand times.

The Champions League is an interesting, and complex, tournament. It starts with four qualification rounds of double matches, followed by a round robin group stage of six matches, and ends with a single elimination tournament composed of double matches. It is immediately clear that the Champions League will attenuate the poor teams more effectively than the World Cup, for example. Six group matches will cause fewer major surprises. Double matches instead of single matches during elimination is a further headwind for weaker teams.

The seeding for the tournament also favors the strongest teams, which is perhaps why UEFA has decided to change the seeding methodology for next season. The simulations use the ELO ratings found on A description of the simulations can be found at These simulations were run with ELO ratings for all clubs before the results of matches on 11/1/2014 were known.

So, enough introduction. What are the results?

The entire tournament, including the irritating qualification rounds, were simulated before the tournament began. At that time the top five teams most likely to win the tournament were:

Bayern Munich – 30.4%
Real Madrid – 28.6%
Barcelona – 17.8%
Atletico Madrid – 5.8%
Manchester City – 5.0%

Although rated, at the time, as slightly weaker than Real Madrid, Bayern won a greater percentage in part because the final is in Germany, thus providing a slight home field advantage to Bayern. Perhaps most interesting is the clear top three in this early simulation.

Taking into consideration the most recent results and ratings, the 5 teams with the best chance of winning the UEFA Champions League are:

1. Real Madrid 34%

2. Bayern Munich 31%

3. Barcelona 19%

4. Atletico Madrid 6%

5. Chelsea 5%


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