Who's going to win the Champions League? Anyone but you.
The truth is, even at this stage of the competition, with only 16 teams remaining, everyone is more likely to be eliminated at some point than to win the whole thing.
Wanna listen to the betting markets? Sportsbooks have Manchester City as the favorites, with odds somewhere around plus-170 -- or significantly below 50%. Prefer a publicly available predictive model? How 'bout FiveThirtyEight? Well, they've got Bayern Munich as the favorites, with a whopping ... 22% chance of winning the whole thing.
Pick a winner today and you're probably gonna be wrong, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. As we've done in previous years, we're gonna take a look at the statistical profiles (in domestic play) of the past 10 winners to create a kind of baseline profile for what's been required to win the Champions League. While it may not lead us to the winner -- last year's picks were Bayern Munich and, um, Ajax? -- the exercise should at least give us a sense of who looks the part, who doesn't, and what, potentially, might prevent some of the favorites from going all the way.
Before we get to it, a word of apology to Benfica, Porto and Club Brugge. A team from outside the Big Five leagues hasn't even reached the Champions League final since 2004. After being too enchanted by Ajax's artificial domestic excellence last season, we are eliminating all non-Big Five teams until one of them gives us a reason not to. Now, onto the remaining 13 ...
Unless otherwise noted, all data is courtesy of Stats Perform. Everything is up to date through Feb. 10.