Bayern Munich begins its quest to win a seventh Champions League title on Wednesday when the German club takes on Atletico Madrid to begin the group stage.
While Bayern should advance through to the knockout stages without much issue, they have drawn a fairly competitive group with Atletico, Red Bull Salzburg, and Lokomotiv Moscow.
Flick: ‘Difficult’ to Repeat Champions League Success
Bayern won every Champions League match on its way to lifting the trophy last season while also setting scoring records in the knockout rounds, beating Barcelona 8-2 in a single-game quarterfinal. They capped off their title run with a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in August.
Now, just two months later, it’s time for the next campaign to begin. While Bayern remains among the favorites to win the Champions League – FanDuel Sportsbook lists the German side as a +430 pick, trailing only Manchester City (+410) – manager Hansi Flick isn’t taking anything for granted.
|Champions League Odds – Wednesday Matches (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Red Bull Salzburg: -250||Draw: +410||Lokomotiv: +600|
|Real Madrid: -460||Draw: +550||Shakhtar: +1200|
|Midtjylland: +460||Draw: +360||Atalanta: -190|
|Bayern Munich: -175||Draw: +340||Atletico Madrid: +460|
|Ajax: +370||Draw: +320||Liverpool: -150|
|Olympiakos: +130||Draw: +220||Marseille: +220|
|Inter: -170||Draw: +320||Mgladbach: +470|
|Man City: -360||Draw: +500||Porto: +900|
“We want to be as successful as possible,” Flick told reporters. “But to reach the optimum as we did recently will be extremely difficult. Especially in the Champions League [where] there are many very good opponents. It is all about taking one game at a time. It has served us well to focus on the road ahead.”
Despite the short offseason, Flick says he’s happy with his team is heading into Champions League play.
“As for now, I am fairly satisfied,” he said. “We have had only one week of training with everyone together, but there is more depth in our squad now.”
Simeone: Bayern is ‘Best Team in the World’
Bayern enjoys home-field advantage, and comes in as a -185 favorite over Atletico (+470) in Wednesday’s matchup. But, Atletico manager Diego Simeone has an upset on his mind. Simeone recently celebrated his 200th La Liga win with the club on Saturday, but immediately reflected on the upcoming Champions League challenge.
“We’re going to face the best team in the world right now,” Simeone told reporters. “I think it’s a very important game for us and we’ll try to find solutions for what we had to suffer in the first half today.”
Atletico striker Diego Costa will miss Wednesday’s matchup after suffering a left thigh injury in the second half of Saturday’s win. That will leave Luis Suarez as the primary attacking option for the Spanish side against Bayern.
Atletico enters the group stage as a +2300 pick to win the Champions League. Bayern is the -370 favorite to win Group A, with Atletico coming in as the +340 second choice, and a clear favorite to advance.
The Atletico-Bayern match is one of eight Champions League games on Wednesday. Ajax (+370) hosts Liverpool (-150) in one of the day’s best matchups, while Man City (-360) will look to get off the mark at home against Porto (+900).