Carlo Ancelotti sees defending champion Manchester City as top favorite for the Champions League again


Real Madrid, which will have to do without its injured goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois this season, starts its new Champions League campaign on Wednesday evening with a home match against Union Berlin on the opening matchday in group C.


The Royal Dutch now have fourteen final victories in the Champions League and its predecessor European Cup I, including five in the past decade. The last Cup with the big ears dates back to 2022, when Liverpool was beaten by the smallest difference in the final in Paris thanks to a masterful Courtois. Last season, Real lost in the semi-finals against Manchester City, after yet another masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne.

“As far as I am concerned, City is again the top favorite for the final victory,” Real coach Carlo Ancelotti said on Tuesday. “Not much has changed in their team compared to last season. So you could say that they are the favorite. But it’s still the Champions League and as always there could be surprises. Real is already a team that will always go for it.”

In addition to the Spanish vice-champions and the number four of last season’s Bundesliga, the Italian champions Napoli and the Portuguese Braga are the other two teams in the group.

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Man United also without Maguire against Bayern

Injury-plagued Manchester United will also be unable to rely on central defender Harry Maguire in the clash against Bayern Munich in the group stage of the Champions League on Wednesday.

The England international, who has been under fire too often lately due to defensive blunders, has suffered an injury and did not travel to Munich, the club announced on Tuesday.

Mason Mount and Raphael Varane returned to training on Tuesday after an absence due to injury, but will also not travel to Germany. Right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has been sidelined since last weekend and may even be out for several months.

The list of absentees at ManU, which completely missed its start to the season with three defeats in five Premier League matches, is gradually looking impressive. Left wing defenders Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia have been sidelined with injuries for some time, while signing Sofyan Amrabat has not yet been able to make his debut for the team after being kicked in training. Kobbie Mainoo and Amad Diallo are also recovering from an injury.

Jadon Sancho has been left out of the team for disciplinary reasons, while Antony has been suspended following allegations of violence against his ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin.

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