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The Student News Site of Denmark High School

Denmark Unleashed

The Student News Site of Denmark High School

Denmark Unleashed

UEFA Champions League: Who Will Win?

The strongest football clubs across Europe come together and fight for the UEFA Champions League title. The best teams from Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and various other countries carry their success from their leagues and try to win arguably the best trophy a club can win. To qualify, clubs must place in the top four of their league table. They soon are placed in a group with three other respected teams and fight for the top two spots, the third place team enters the Europa League and the fourth place team is eliminated entirely. The two winners go ahead to the round of sixteen, the first round of the knockout phase. Larger clubs like Real Madrid and Manchester City are favored to win, but what of the other competitive clubs ready to fight for the title? 

One surprising contender is Real Sociedad. Despite results in La Liga, they came out first in their table, tying two games, and winning three. As the teams get ready for the start of the round of sixteen, the intensity level of the competition completely increases. Despite their success in the first round, the team lost their first round of 16 game against PSG, losing 2-0. The team’s defense has been strong, led by Centerbacks Zubeldia and Normad, only conceding 2 goals. But as the games get more intense, it is unlikely that they will go far.

Katie Trinh

Last year, Manchester City won the UCL. This year, they have the same goal. Their squad is powerful, including stars like Kevin De Brunye, Halaand, and Rodri. The squad consists of an impressive mixture of ball knowledge, playmaker, and intensity The team is very capable and favorites this year. Their success from winning the UCL, Premier League, and cup season will hopefully carry on to this year. Coaching by manager icon Pep Guardiola, led by experienced and knowledgeable players, and energized by young, ambitious players, will hopefully help them to raise the trophy once again. With a minimal injury list, the team looks set for the next couple of months.

Another strong contender is Real Madrid. They sit second in the La Liga table. With 14 previous UCL titles, they aim to continue and further their legacy. Big names like Bellingham, Vinicius Jr., and Modric are the team’s main weapons during the competition. With a minimal but straining injury list, the team has suffered loss of Miltao, Courtois, and Alaba but has continued to strive in La Liga and the Champions League, sitting 2nd in La Liga and winning all five of the group stage games. Their victory in Spain’s Supercup boosts the team morale before entering the UCL. Madrid continued their winning streak after beating RB Leipzig 1-0 with a goal by Brahim Diaz. This win shows the strong dynamic of the team. Due to their injuries, the team had to play a back line consisting of four wide backs and still managed to hold it down with only 3 shots on goal. The team’s future looks bright and with the form the team is in now, the UCL is in their hands.

One disappointing result has come from one of the most influential clubs of all time: FC Barcelona. Having arguably the easiest group for the first stage, they barely made it through. With three wins and two losses, their performance has not impressed fans. Despite winning the La Liga and the Supercopa in 2022-23, the team’s performance in the 2023-2024 regular season is disappointing. They have moved around from 3rd, 4th and 5th in the table. The team is drowned by injuries. Nine of their 1st team players are injured and only a few are expected to return before their next match against Napoli. Because of this obstacle, the team has had to rely on younger, less experienced players. Most of them never even played in the regular season before and now are expected to perform in the most competitive competition. The team has also suffered due to the media. With countless amounts of backlash towards the players and Coach, Xavi Hernandez, the team’s environment is shaky and unpredictable.

Another predictable powerhouse is Bayern Munich. With 6 UCL titles under their belt, the team is always prepared for this type of competition. Their last UCL win was in 2020 but their team has still thrived since then. Currently, they sit 2nd in the Bundesliga and have world class players like Musiala, Alphonso Davies, and Harry Kane. Bayern has been the most complete team. And while they have strong competition, their preparation and experience will likely carry them throughout the next few stages. Despite their long, impressive history, the team has suffered. Losing their first RO16 game 1-0 against Lazio, the team dynamic is clear. The squad is a group of individual talent, not a team with chemistry. Crumbling during the second half and visibly disappointed after the final whistle, Muller consoled fans “We’re not happy, that’s absolutely clear, but we’ll give our all in all competitions right up to the last second.” To be in the running for the title, the team needs various reforms and needs to get back in form.

Katie Trinh

The next contender, Arsenal, have never won a champions league before. Despite their strong performances in the Premier League, recently even beating Liverpool who sit in 1st place, the team never found a way to gain a UCL title. They won three, tied one, and lost one game during the group stage. The Gunners somewhat dominated their group and will go on to face Porto, which should be an easier win for them with stars like Saka, Odegard, and Martinelli. With their experience in one of the best leagues, their strengths will carry on to face the Portuguese team.

By far the most entertaining and nerve wracking group to watch was the “group of death” consisting of Newcastle, PSG, AC Milan, and Dortmund. These teams are super competitive in their respective leagues and they all fight for the same prize, the UCL title. Predictions could never be reliable as the results of the games always had the element of surprise. Newcastle was fully eliminated, AC Milan was sent to the Europa League, PSG scraped their way into the round of 16, and Dortmund came out on top. Even beating the “group of death”, they sit 4th in the Bundesliga, the competitive German League. Despite winning their group, the likelihood of them winning against Man City or Real Madrid are low, but possible.

The final pod is group E, with Atletico Madrid out on top. Their defensive tactics are questionable but have worked, even winning 5-3 against Real Madrid. Athletico sit 4th in La Liga which is one of the most competitive leagues in the world, but it seems like the team’s play style will not help them get far in the UCL. The team plays Inter Milan which will be an interesting and tough game for Athletico.

The round of sixteen began February 13th with Real Madrid faced RB Leipzig and came out with a win. Man City played Copenhagen and dominated with a 3-1 win despite the rocky start. Four out of the eight games of the first leg of the RO16 have been played. With four more exciting games such as PSV and Dortmund, the competition will continue to intensify. So who will lift up the trophy June 1st?

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About the Contributors
Miranda Meano, Sports Editor
After I rush to school, the countdown until my afternoon nap begins. I’m an avid supporter of power naps, Chai Lattes, and FC Barcelona. This year, I am excited to cover Denmark's student athletes, coaches, and teams. Growing up constantly watching and playing various different sports, my love for athletics has grown and I naturally became the #1 Pedri fan. As a returning writer at Denmark Unleashed, I hope to expand my writing skills and share the voices of the Denmark Danes.
Katie Trinh, Staff
Ever since I can remember I've always hated writing, but now I'm in journalism. To me there is nothing better than getting time to lay down for a long 8 hour after school nap,  when my time is consumed by sports. The pain of staying up till 2am playing video games, has my eyes dry while writing this. It does not help that I have excruciating conditioning at 6 am making my legs sore. While I'm still not a fan of writing, photography and visual media is what I hope to get out of this class through Denmark Unleashed.

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