Real Madrid and Man City still the favorites to win it all

The UEFA Champions League kicked off Tuesday with the defending champions Manchester City facing FC Copenhagen, and Real Madrid facing RB Leipzig. 

After Tuesday’s games, it’s safe to say that Man City and Real Madrid will definitely be the favorites to win it all again after dominant displays. 

Madrid and City have faced each other two years in a row in the semi-finals, with the winner eventually going on to win the Champions League. 

Real Madrid went into Leipzig facing many injuries, but it came off of a dominant display in their 4-0 win against La Liga contenders Girona. 

Madrid came into the game missing arguably their best player, Jude Bellingham, due to an ankle sprain. Madrid were also without their starting centerback Antonio Rudiger. 

Real Madrid took a risk that paid off starting Aurelien Tchouameni at center back, which proved to be one of the best decisions of the game. 

Leipzig thought they had opened the scoring at home, as Benjamin Sesko hit a shot from outside the box. The goal was marked off for offside from the referee and supported by VAR. 

This decision was met with controversy in the world of football, and especially with the home fans of Leipzig, who were enraged by the decision. 

The first half was a very cautious affair between the two teams, as both teams weren’t able to put up many chances. 

The Spanish giants found their way early in the second half, after Brahim Diaz fired a screamer to give Madrid the lead and eventually the win. 

The game changer for Madrid was Andriy Lunin. He  saved nine shots, and kept a clean sheet to secure the win for Madrid in his first ever Champions League start. 

Manchester City came into Copenhagen having finally regained their form after the return of Kevin De Bruyne, who opened up the scoring for the Citizens. 

Copenhagen responded to make it 1-1 after a mistake from Ederson. 

The Citizens responded almost instantly at the end of the first half, as Bernardo Silva finished it from an assist from who else, but Kevin De Bruyne. 

Phil Foden’s late goal gave City a deserved 3-1 lead going into the second leg. 

Manchester City’s dominant display yet again showed that they have nothing to fear, as time and time again they do what they do best. Which is outpossess and absolutely suffocate their opponents.  

From top to bottom, they’re stacked with the best players in the world. With players like Erling Haaland, De Bruyne, Rodri and Bernardo Silva, winning is the expectation. Especially with Pep Guardiola coaching. 

You simply can never count out Real Madrid though, as they are 14-time champions and prove every single year that they’re here to play. Madrid handled Leipzig with key pieces being out. 

Championship DNA is a thing which is what Madrid have. Along with Don Carlo Ancelotii coaching this squad, the squad has experience and talent of the highest level, and are poised to make another run for the Champions League yet again. 

With stars like Vinicius Jr., Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, this Madrid squad has all the pieces it needs to win its 15th Champions League 

Both Man City and Real Madrid are the best teams in the world because they have consistently shown with their dominant displays in the Champions League and their domestic leagues. 

Champions League Football is officially back, and there’s no better way to get it going than with the two best teams in the world playing at their best. 

Header Photo: Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior reacts during the Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between RB Leipzig and Real Madrid at the Red Bull arena stadium in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024. (MATTHIAS SCHRADER/ The Associated Press)

Write to Ahmed Hassan at ahmed.hassan.4@mnsu.edu

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