The Champions League group stages have finally concluded and the top 16 teams will now battle it out after Christmas to see who will claim victory in Europe’s premier club competition.
The usual suspects have qualified while there are a few surprises and the knockout stages could prove to be very exciting indeed.
Who are the favorites to win the Champions League in 2023/24?
With regards to betting on football, defending Champions Manchester City currently leads the way in terms of being the team to beat at odds of +210. If they peak at the right time, it will take an exceptional performance to knock them out.
German champions Bayern Munich are second favourites to win the title at odds of +400 whereas 14-time winners Real Madrid currently find themselves out at odds of +550 as they chase a record-extending 15th victory in the competition.
The group stage saw plenty of pulsating matches while there were players on show from a wide variety of countries. There were a handful of Americans who featured in the round-robin stage, with some showcasing their talents for the biggest teams in the competitions.
What Americans have made the most appearances in the Champions League?
Christian Pulisic is perhaps the highest-profile American player to feature in the Champions League this season. The attacking midfielder became the first footballer from America to win the competition back in 2021 during his spell at Chelsea and he’s played in the competition 54 times during his career. The current AC Milan midfielder is the American with the most appearances in the competition, but there are a host of players who have also featured often.
Jermaine Jones made 23 appearances in Europe’s premier club competition during his spells at Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke, scoring twice and grabbing three assists.
DaMarcus Beasley enjoyed productive spells at PSV Eindhoven and Rangers and he managed to make 22 appearances in the Champions League with his spells in the Netherlands and Scotland. The former winger reached the semi-finals with the former in 2005 – becoming the first American to reach this stage – and he scored a stunning goal for Rangers against Lyon in 2007.
Claudio Reyna (eight) and Maurice Edu (four) are the other players from America to have played at this stage and they both enjoyed successful careers at the highest level along with representing the USA at the World Cup.
Not all Americans who played in the tournament had a positive impact. Tim Howard was in goal for ten matches during his spell at Manchester United, yet he lost four of these and conceded 11 goals across these matches.
There’s a new up-and-coming breed of American footballers led by Pulisic who will be hoping to shine in the competition over the next few years and with America producing more and more exports to Europe, it won’t be long before someone follows the current Milan maestro as the next winner of the competition to hail from America.