Bayern Munich are the favorites to lift the Champions League at the end of the 2022-23 season, believe one subset of football data analysts.
Most bookies have Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City as the favorites for this season’s edition, backing them to end their hurt in the competition and lift the trophy for the first time in their history.
Using a number of metrics – including the soccer power index (SPI), a rating of the teams’ defensive and attacking capabilities and their chances of emerging from the group – the FiveThirtyEight blog has assessed what it thinks sides are capable of in Europe’s foremost club competition this season.
Bayern Munich are the favorites to lift the Champions League according to data analysis
The SPI rating, which seeks to rank teams based off predicted performance rather than in the same way as FIFA which does it off historical showings, has Bayern Munich as the best team on the continent with a rating of 93.3. City came in just after them rated 92.3.
Those ratings are cultivated, FiveThirtyEight say, through a statistical analysis of how many goals a team would be expected to score against an average opponent on a ‘neutral field’ and how many they would be expected to concede.
City, the data suggests, could be expected to score three goals a game against an average opponent, a total only bettered by Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain. While they would be expected to concede the fewest number of goals, an average of 0.3.
Julian Nagelsmann endured a difficult end to their tournament last season but his side are backed to go and lift the trophy this year
That goalscoring and defensive data is then created into the SPI index, which the data analysts say provides the ‘best estimate of a team’s overall strength’.
Aside from the overall ranking of a team using their own SPI index, taken from ESPN’s own version of the system, FiveThirtyEight also provides modeling on how likely teams are to finish top of their group as well as reaching each stage of the knockout rounds.
Bayern Munich, for instance, have a 63 percent chance of finishing top of their group. City’s chances of doing such is quite significantly higher, at 76 per cent, owing to the relative ease of their group compared to the German champions’.
The German giants will face Barcelona, Inter Milan and Viktoria Plzen while City have the relative comfort of knowing they have clashes against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and FC Copenhagen.
City have a 95 percent chance of making the last 16; Bayern Munich 90 percent. The English champions are considered a 71 percent chance to make the quarter-finals, before dropping to 49 percent for the semi-finals and then to 31 percent for the final. The data team has them at 18 percent to win the final should they get there.
Manchester City will be looking to put the pain of the last few years in the competition behind them in Istanbul next year
Bayern Munich, meanwhile, are considered 69 percent likely to advance to the last eight and then 49 percent to go from there to the last four. FiveThirtyEight have them as a better chance of reaching the final over City, at 33 percent. Their chances of winning the competition are better than City’s, at 20 percent.
The modeling is done through a few complex means of forecasting games, using the aforementioned SPI index alongside the goalscoring and defensive ratings teams are given.
Bayern Munich’s proficiency in front of goal appears to give them an edge later on in the competition. It is also likely that their relative comfort in the Bundesliga from early spring onwards gives them an edge in the later rounds.
Real Madrid have just a five percent chance of lifting the trophy should they reach the final again, the data analysis shows
The current holders, Real Madrid, are ranked the fifth most likely to win the competition. They have a 55 percent chance of winning their group; an 82 per cent shot at reaching the last 16 altogether and then chronologically for the rounds thereafter see their chances decrease from 49 per cent to 25 per cent then to 12 per cent FiveThirtyEight give them a five per cent chance at retaining the ultimate club prize.
Other English teams ratings slightly pale in comparison to Guardiola’s side.
Liverpool, rated the fourth most likely side to be lifting the Champions League, with an SPI rating of 89.7, in Istanbul in June next year, are 51 percent likely to emerge out of their group on top. Overall, they have an 81 percent chance of getting out of a group that also contains Ajax, Rangers and Napoli.
Kingsley Coman and Thomas Muller will look to replicate their shared 2020 success in Lisbon
From the round of 16 they have a 56 percent shot at making the quarter-finals, 34 percent the semi-finals and then a 19 percent chance of reaching the same stage as they did in the 2021-22 season. The analysts give them a 10 percent chance of going one better in 2023.
Tottenham are rated slightly above their great rivals Chelsea in having a chance at lifting the tournament this year. To get out of Group D on top they are rated at 46 percent. Into the last 16 generally, FiveThirtyEight gave them a shot of 73 percent. That falls to 37 per cent for the next round, then 16 per cent, then six per cent and then a lowly three per cent.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have an SPI of 81.5 similar to Tottenham. They have a 38 percent chance of finishing on top of Group E, with a 68 percent chance of emerging out of the group altogether. Their chances of success in the competition then steadily decrease, going down to 34 percent to reach the quarter-finals. Just 14 percent for the semi-finals, five percent to reach the second final of Thomas Tuchel’s tenure and then just two percent to lift the trophy for a third time in their history.
The tournament gets underway this week as an extremely compressed edition of the group stage kicks off and finishes ahead of the World Cup in November.
City travel to Sevilla on Tuesday while Liverpool go to Naples. Chelsea go to Zagreb on Tuesday while Tottenham hosts Marseille.