Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

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The Champions League has returned in style after a brief hiatus, with the last 16 already providing plenty of fodder for debate as Europe’s finest compete for the continent’s most prestigious award.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Chelsea are the defending champions, and despite the fact that some huge names like Barcelona, AC Milan, and Borussia Dortmund fell at the first hurdle, there are still more realistic contenders this time around than in any prior edition of the league.

So, who are the favorites, and which clubs are doomed to fail in Europe?

The FUTBALLNEWS Champions League Power Rankings are here to help you figure out what’s going on…

(Ahead of the last 16, February 11th, previous rankings)

Manchester City | Last appearance: 2nd

It’s unusual to be allowed to rest the majority of your key players for the second leg of a Champions League knockout tie, but that’s the situation Man City finds themselves in after thumping Sporting in Lisbon three weeks ago.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

After years of close calls, the Premier League champions appear to be in good shape to win their first continental crown, despite the fact that there is still a long way to go.

Liverpool | Last appearance: 3rd

Liverpool has a history of regaining form in the last months of the season, and it appears that Jurgen Klopp is doing it again at Anfield.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

The Carabao Cup is the first of four possible trophies, and their tough triumph against Inter at San Siro means they will be confident of completing the job on Merseyside as the Reds seek a ninth European crown.

Bayern Munich | Last appearance: 1st

Bayern Munich is in poor form, having won only two of their past five games, just as they prepare to conquer Europe for the second time in three seasons.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Though they should reach the quarter-finals, flaws are beginning to appear for the first time under Julian Nagelsmann, thanks to Kingsley Coman’s last-gasp goal against Salzburg.

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Chelsea | Last appearance: 4th

Chelsea may not be the most entertaining team in the world to watch, but they get the job done more often than not, and that was the case in the first leg against Lille.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

The defending champions will travel to France with a 2-0 advantage, which should be enough to qualify them for the quarter-finals, where no team wants to meet the Blues.

Paris Saint-Germain | Last appearance: 6th

PSG may now have the finest footballer on the planet in Kylian Mbappe, who demonstrated why he deserves that title with his performance and late goal against Real Madrid in the first leg.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

That result will give Mauricio Pochettino’s team a lot of confidence going into the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, but the Ligue 1 leaders have been in stronger positions in the past and still lost ties, so nothing is certain yet.

Ajax | Last appearance: 5th

Ajax were supposed to breeze past Benfica into the quarter-finals based on their dominance in the group stages, but they were twice pegged back in Lisbon, forcing them to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Sebastien Haller continued his incredible run in the competition with another goal, and despite some defensive concerns, the Dutch champs remain strong favorites to go to the next round.

Juventus | Last appearance: 8th

Any worries about Dusan Vlahovic’s ability to compete in the Champions League were dispelled in the first minute of Juventus’ match against Villarreal, when the Serbian international scored a sensational goal in Spain.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Unfortunately for the Bianconeri, they were unable to build on their lead as Villarreal held them off, but if they can complete the job in Turin, optimism will rise that they can make a deep run in Europe this season.

Real Madrid | Last appearance: 7th

Real Madrid are fortunate to be leading PSG by a single goal going into the second leg of their tie, given their performance at Parc des Princes.

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Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Carlo Ancelotti’s side will need to be significantly more progressive if they are to reverse the scoreline at Santiago Bernabeu, though this will be made more difficult by the fact that two-thirds of his first-choice midfield – Casemiro and Toni Kroos – will miss the return match.

Manchester United | Last appearance: 9th

Manchester United were indebted to a homegrown teenager in Madrid as they snatched a draw against Atletico Madrid despite all of their spending and big-money contracts.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

In an otherwise terrible season, Anthony Elanga has been one of the few bright spots for the Red Devils, but his goal in the first leg ensures they are still in great shape as they attempt to reach the Champions League’s last eight.

Atletico Madrid | Last appearance: 10th

How Atletico Madrid may come to regret not converting their domination into goals in the opening leg of their Champions League campaign against Manchester United.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

At the Wanda Metripolitano, Diego Simeone’s team scored early and had little opposition, but they only managed a draw.

The Spanish champions, on the other hand, have been in better form of late and will be optimistic of earning the win they need to advance to the quarter-finals at Old Trafford.

Villarreal | Last appearance: 12th

Villarreal stayed firm against Juventus after falling behind in the first minute and came away with a draw, meaning the tie is still up for grabs in the second leg.

Champions League 2021-22 Power Rankings: PSG rises while Bayern Munich falls out of first place

Despite Juve’s troubles over the past two seasons, the trip to Turin remains daunting, but Unai Emery’s team should not be written off just yet.

Benfica | Last appearance: 13th

Benfica has had a terrible season by their own standards, but they fought hard against Ajax in the first leg to keep the tie tied going into the second leg.

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Benfica | Last appearance: 13th

However, the Portuguese team remains the underdog, and it appears that Erik ten Hag’s side will have too much for them in the rematch.

Red Bull Salzburg | Last appearance: 16th

Nobody gave Salzburg a chance against Bayern Munich in the last 16, but coming within seconds of defeating the German champions in the first leg was quite an achievement.

Red Bull Salzburg | Last appearance: 16th

However, Kingsley Coman’s equalizer has swung the tie back in Bayern’s favor, and while Salzburg will be encouraged by their performance three weeks ago, it appears unlikely that they will pull off one of the biggest European upsets in recent memory.

Inter | Last appearance: 11th

Inter were clearly the better side against Liverpool for 70 minutes at San Siro but lacked the cutting edge in the final third to make their dominance matter.

Inter | Last appearance: 11th

Even if Simone Inzaghi’s side has the quality to trouble the six-time European winners at Anfield, it appears that two late goals for the Reds have killed off the contest.

Lille | Last appearance: 14th

Lille made sure that defending champions Chelsea did not have it all their own way in the first leg, but they still lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Lille | Last appearance: 14th

The French champions have the advantage of playing at home in the rematch, but with Thomas Tuchel’s team appearing to be regaining their form, it’s difficult to see Lille coming back.

Sporting C.P. | Last appearance: 15th

Sporting were never expected to beat Manchester City, but manager Ruben Amorim will be frustrated with the manner they were ripped apart in the first leg.

C.P. Sporting | Last appearance: 15th

The tie was finished by halftime in Lisbon, and the Portuguese champions will want to put in a far stronger showing at the Etihad Stadium if they want to finish the competition on a good note.

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