Ahead of the return of the Champions League, Eurosport's European network got together to try and answer the tough questions.
Every office in Europe was asked who they thought was going to win the whole thing, who would be the surprise package, who would be the top scorer, which team will disappoint the most and which young player will have a breakthrough season.
Agree? Disagree? Be sure to let us know.
Champions League
Sane stunner sparks late surge to settle battling Bayern win against Benfica

UK – Pete Sharland

Winner – Bayern Munich
Yes it’s boring but they’re the defending champions and frankly no-one else has really strengthened enough to warrant picking. Bayern have the best squad in Europe with a good manager and a coherent strategy. Perhaps most importantly of all they have the fewest weaknesses, most of the other European giants look vulnerable right now. Yes, they’ve started the season slowly but does anyone think they’ll still be like this when we get to the business end of the Champions League?
Surprise package – Atalanta
They’re still one of the best teams to watch in Europe. Their season last year will have educated them on the brutal nature of Champions League football but it will also show them that they do belong at this level. Given that 95% of Europe appears to have forgotten how to defend, it could be great news for Atalanta.
Top scorer – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The best player on the best team, seems like a logical pick doesn’t it? Lewandowski won the award last season and already has seven goals in 2020-21. If teams couldn’t figure how to stop him last time out what is going to have changed? Lewandowski deserved a Ballon d’Or this season but he still might be the favourite to get it next season.
Disappointing team - Liverpool
Liverpool have been ravaged with injuries since the season started and they were looking leaky before Virgil van Dijk damaged his ACL. The Reds have a dangerous group (but it isn’t a Group of Death) and they have already been exposed on a number of occasions this season. Before the season they would have had aims of winning the whole thing but now who knows?
Young revelation – Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
The teenager has had a meteoric rise since breaking into the Birmingham City first team. He now plays for one of the biggest teams in Europe and Lucien Favre has shown that he isn’t afraid to use the teenager already. As the games come thick and fast for Borussia Dortmund Bellingham, may well be given a chance to impress in Europe, and there’s no reason to think he won’t take it.

Jude Bellingham hat für Englands U21 direkt beim Debüt ein Tor erzielt

Image credit: Getty Images

Italy – Matteo Zorzoli

Winner – Bayern Munich
Among all the big names in European football, the Bavarians remain the favourites. Bar a few adjustments in the market - Leroy Sane arrived from City and Douglas Costa from Juventus, while Thiago Alcantara flew to Liverpool - the team who won the Champions League, Bundesliga, German Cup, German Super Cup and European Super Cup last season remains intact. The empathy between Flick and his players seems a recipe for an encore in the most prestigious competition, and the goal is to repeat the magical three-year period between 1974-76.
Surprise package – Lazio
Lazio return to compete in the Champions League after 13 years. Their last showing? Against Real in 11th December 2007: the Blancos won 3-1 at Bernabeu. Simone Inzaghi has built brick by brick a team capable of imposing their game at home and away, with an effective trio of midfielders - Luis Alberto, Lucas Leiva and Sergej Milinkovic Savic - and the 2020 Golden Boot ahead of them, Ciro Immobile. The feeling is that the Biancocelesti have slowed down in Serie A to focus on Europe. Their group is not easy - Zenit, Borussia Dortmund and Bruges - but the second round is not a dream.
Top scorer – Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan)
The Belgian is exalted within Antonio Conte's 3-5-2 and his partnership with Lautaro Martinez is a nightmare for defences: last season they had 54 goals between them and 34 for Lukaku, who equalled Ronaldo Luís Nazário's record in his first Nerazzurri season. The only duo better than “LuLa” was Lewandowski (54) and Serge Gnabry, who scored 75 goals together for Bayern.

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez

Image credit: Getty Images

Disappointing team – Barcelona
The 8-2 loss to Bayern is a wound that will not heal quickly, also because the revolution that was promised by the board has not yet been seen in its entirety. Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal chose new projects, but Josep Bartomeu remained, as well as Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets while Antoine Griezmann remains a question mark. Everything will depend on Lionel Messi's desire for redemption and the added value that Ronald Koeman will be able to give. Will it be enough to do better than the last five seasons (four quarter-finals and a semi-final)?
Young revelation – Dejan Kulusevski (Juventus)
He can play as a winger, attacking midfielder or forward alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. The Swede amazed with Parma, scoring 10 goals in 36 games last season and won the award for the best young player in Serie A. Now the most difficult test awaits him: confirming his talent on the European stages.

France – Cyril Morin

Winner – Bayern Munich
Bayern are perhaps the only side able to put out two teams without losing quality. They have such a big squad, with so much talent, and big, big players in every position. For us, it seems that it’s the obvious choice. They have had one big loss for them: Thiago Alcantara. But they have what it takes to win it again and make it two in a row.
Surprise team – Inter Milan
I’m not sure it would be a BIG, BIG surprise but Inter Milan looks like a team which should be watched closely. They didn’t lose any big players who were supposed to leave this summer - Lautaro Martinez, Milan Skriniar, for example - but also managed to bring in big players in Achraf Hakimi and Arturo Vidal who could be precious for Antonio Conte. They also have a deep squad with experienced players who can add a lot as substitutes - Christian Eriksen, Ivan Perisic, and Alexi Sanchez to name three. With Conte, it could be a perfect combination.
Top scorer – Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
Haaland looks like he can score so many goals this season. In Group F with Lazio, Zenit and Bruges, he could score a lot during the group stage.
Disappointing teams - FC Barcelona and Real Madrid
Is it really a surprise? After the huge fail of Barcelona last year, we don’t see any reason this would change. Of course, Koeman is trying to something new but the squad is less powerful than last year and this club is heading to an unknown direction until March 2021 and the election. It will be a transition season for them. And for Real Madrid as well. Unless Eden Hazard manages to be magical again, there is no reason to think that Madrid will perform better than last season.

'Singled out' Real Madrid duo facing the axe - Euro Papers

Young revelation – Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)
With Rennes, he will show what “mature” means when it comes to young players. He’s not the one who will score a lot - even if he scored for France recently - but he’s the modern midfielder par excellence. He is very clever with the ball, and keen to intercept thanks to his reading of the game. Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern or Juventus are already battling for him.

Germany – Peer Kuni

Winner – Bayern Munich
There is no team who can beat the German giants, especially in a knockout stage over two legs. Robert Lewandowski is still in beast mode and their offensive line up contains Serge Gnabry, Thomas Müller, Kingsley Coman and Lewandowski. Bayern added Leroy Sané who knows the Bundesliga from his time at Schalke and half of the Bayern players are from the national squad. They added Douglas Costa and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting to their squad to provide adequate back-up. They also brought a back-up right-back with Bouna Sarr to fill a long term weakness. With the departure of Thiago after seven successful years Munich lost a key player and the biggest challenge for Hansi Flick is to fill that gap. Joshua Kimmich is already a leader in the centre and Leon Goretzka made a huge step forward last season.
Surprise package – Sevilla
Nobody underestimates Sevilla in the Europa League but on Europe’s biggest stage they have failed to prove that they can compete with the best clubs in Europe. After winning the EL final against Inter Milan they proved against Bayern Munich in the Super Cup that they have raised their level. In a group with Chelsea, Krasnodar and Rennes they have a good chance of surviving and with Julen Lopetegui on the sideline they have a good coach who can lead them deep into the knockout stages.

Los jugadores del Sevilla celebrando el tanto de En-Nesyri

Image credit: Getty Images

Top scorer – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The Bayern superstar is in the form of his life. He almost guarantees you at least one goal per match. Against underdogs like Salzburg or Lokomotiv Moscow he could be unstoppable. In the Bundesliga he has begun where he left off in that historic season. There is little defenders can do to stop the Polish international who is able to score with both feet, his head and also with set pieces - both free-kicks and penalties. Also Erling Haaland (BVB), Ciro Immobile (Lazio) and Timo Werner (Chelsea) have potential to be this year’s top scorer.
Disappointing team – Ajax
The fairytale of Ajax two seasons ago ended just short of an appearance in the Champions League final. Last season they were surprisingly knocked out in the group stage by Valencia. After losing Donny van de Beek, another key player for the Dutch champions, the quality in the squad is not high enough to compete with Liverpool and Atalanta. For the second year in a row Ajax will not reach the knockout stage in the Champions League.
Young Revelation – Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund)
After showing his amazing potential in the second half of last season Giovanni Reyna made his breakthrough at the beginning of this season. In the first four Bundesliga games the 17-year-old US international proved his quality. His technique is astonishing and he has a high on-pitch IQ. Reyna has already assisted four goals, and he proved that he can not only replace the injured Thorgan Hazard but can be an important player for Dortmund. He has a good understanding with Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho and can form a dangerous attacking duo with Erling Haaland.

Spain – Felix Martin

Winners – PSG or Atletico Madrid
PSG made it into the final last year and they’ve got a great generation of players, with superstars - like Kylian Mbappé, Neymar and Angel Di María - that could lead them all the way. It looks like Atletico Madrid's moment has come, particularly after the arrival of Luis Suárez, a top striker that can be the difference in the Champions League. They already defeated Liverpool in the last edition when nobody expected them to do so. And when it comes to the knockout stage, the intensity with which Atleti play make them the hardest team to defeat in Europe.
Surprise package – Sevilla
Firstly, Sevilla have a great coach, Julen Lopetegui, who led the Andalusian team to the Europa League last year and they put up a great showing against Bayern in the UEFA Super Cup. Secondly, they are in a favourable group with Chelsea, Rennes and Krasnodar. It would be no surprise for them to win that group. And, then, in the knockout stage... who knows? They’ve already shown that they can compete against all teams and, to me, they could make it into the semi-finals this season.
Top scorer – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
The Polish striker is on fire. He has the Midas touch, everything he touches instantly becomes golden. He has an amazing, almost insulting, capacity to score goals (already seven this season).

Robert Lewandowski

Image credit: Getty Images

Disappointing team – Manchester United
Apparently, their group has only one strong team, PSG, who are favourites to win the group, but second and third will be hard fought. RB Leipzig are coached by a tactical visionary, Julian Nagelsmann, who already led them to the semi-finals last year, and Istanbul Basaksehir are coming to the Champions League as the winners of the Turkish league. Besides that, Manchester United have shown a lot of defensive fragility, starting with David De Gea, whose performance level has dipped and we all know that a defensive mistake in the Champions League can be hugely costly.
Young revelation – Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
At only 17 he is becoming essential to Koeman’s new Barcelona, and has already scored three goals and provided one assist in four appearances. He is set to be the future not only for Barça but for the Spanish national team as well.

Poland – Michal Blazewicz

Winners – Bayern Munich
It’s still early so predicting a favourite is difficult, but Bayern seems like the best option. The team is still young but already experienced. They have great chemistry, a great coach, great players and a great, hungry-for-more offensive leader in Lewandowski. While all these pieces fit together almost perfectly, other teams are in the phase of building rather than finishing something. Are we witnessing the beginning of the dynasty, maybe even the three-peat?
Surprise package – Rennes
Looking for a new Ajax or Atalanta is always the biggest fun at this stage. At the moment, it’s even harder because none of the 'mediocre' teams stand out. Well then, maybe Rennes can be the newest sensation? The French side haven’t lost an official game since March, they seem pretty solid in defence and attack so maybe they can upset a defensively-poor Chelsea.

Edouardo Camavinga et Brandon Soppy

Image credit: Getty Images

Top scorer – Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)
With Bayern and Lewy facing really tough opposition in the group stage, someone else might take over this particular phase and even the whole season. Norwegian star Haaland could supersede the Polish forward. He has the power, the speed, the precision, and, last but not least, weaker rivals in the first six games of this year’s UCL.
Disappointing team – All the English clubs
Choosing Barca would be too easy for me. The Catalans have their own problems and expecting anything in particular from this team doesn’t make any sense. English clubs, on the other hand, tend to start strongly in Europe. However, their biggest blessing is also their biggest curse. The intensity, the overload, and the tempo of the wealthiest and simply the best league in Europe undermines the chances of Premier League representatives on the international stage. In my opinion, the 2019 final was only the exception proving the rule.
Young revelation – Half of the Borussia Dortmund squad
When 20-year-old Jadon Sancho tells the story about him being a mentor and an example for his younger club colleagues, that perfectly sums up the Dortmund team - this team is full of young superstars. Giovanni Reyna, born in 2002? A-year-younger Jude Bellingham? Or maybe even 15-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko? Take your pick.

Romania – Florentina Balan

Winners – Manchester City
It’s simply now or never for Pep and his City side. It may not have been the perfect start in the Premier League this season, but the team is slowly growing and they do have world class players in their squad including the likes of Ederson, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero. The addition of Ruben Dias at centre back and the creativity of Ferran Torres will only make them better. Guardiola is – arguably – still the best manager in the world. They could actually do it this time.
Surprise package – RB Leipzig
Yes, they reached the semi-finals last year but it would be a big surprise to see Leipzig do it again. They are in the same group as PSG and Manchester United, two teams which are still heavy favourites, but also vulnerable. Either of them could succumb to the Germans and we may well see them far in the knockout rounds for the second season running, proving that last year was no fluke.

Julian Nagelsmann - RB Leipzig

Image credit: Getty Images

Top scorer – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
While Bayern may not lift the trophy this year, Robert Lewandowski is still a goal machine, because he simply can’t stop scoring. The Germans will no doubt go deep in the competition and will give the Pole the chance to have his way with opposition defences.
Disappointing team - Barcelona
The Catalans don’t seem to be warming up to Koeman’s methods quick enough and it may cost them. The Messi saga is still fresh, the tensions between star players, the board, and the fans are still there. The failed transfer window is still there. Antoine Griezmann just made a nod at his coach Koeman in public, saying Didier Deschamps knows how to play him better. The atmosphere seems rather toxic at this moment in time at the Camp Nou and that’s never good if you want to win trophies.
Young revelation – Phil Foden (Manchester City)
At only 20 years old, Phil Foden has already established himself as an important player in Guardiola’s plans. Not only that, but Pep is quite sure that Foden is the right man to replace the legend that is David Silva and that says a lot about Foden's talent. The Champions League might be just the right stage for him to shine this term.
Ballon d'Or power rankings: Will Messi win again?
18/10/2021 AT 16:49
Ballon d'Or
When is the Ballon d'Or 2021, who is nominated and how can I watch?
14/10/2021 AT 10:02