Champions League power rankings: Can anyone stop Napoli?

The Champions League group stage has reached its midway point. Here are the latest UCL power rankings as teams prepare for Matchday 4 starting Tuesday.      

A condensed Champions League schedule means games each week and little time to recover from league matches. The looming World Cup has forced such conditions this fall, but it has also given less fancied clubs a chance to shine.

It’s true that clubs like PSG and Manchester City have dominated this competition, like they have for the past few years at this stage of the tournament, as have defending champions Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.

Since last week’s rankings, Napoli have risen to the top spot after demolishing Ajax 6-1 last Tuesday and showing everyone that the Italian club has the most-lethal attack on the continent.

Other surprise sides, most notably Club Brugge, have also shocked many and continue to win games, while sides like Inter Milan are back in the top 10 after last week’s strong showing. Disappointments, meanwhile, have included Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Juventus. All three risk not advancing to the knockout round.

Here are the latest Champions League power rankings

10. Sporting Lisbon (2-0-1)

The Portuguese club remains on the list by virtue of their strong start, but a 4-1 defeat in their last UCL outing to Olympique Marseilles in Group D proved disastrous. If they can shake it off, expect Sporting to rise up the rankings again.

9. Inter Milan (2-0-1)

A shaky start in Serie A hasn’t hampered Inter Milan’s UCL run, especially after edging Barcelona 1-0 in Group C and making sure they stay in the hunt for a spot in the knockout round.

8. Borussia Dortmund (2-0-1)

The German club have looked very good the past few weeks and those positive results have Dortmund back in the top 10.

7. Benfica (2-1-0)

The Portuguese club managed a 1-1 draw last week against PSG in Group H to keep them among that second-tier group of clubs who have managed to have a strong campaign thus far.

6. PSG (2-1-0)

The French champions have dropped a few positions, but remain among the favorites despite that draw with Benfica. Lionel Messi has looked very sharp as of late, but sloppy defensive work hasn’t helped them.

5. Club Brugge (3-0)

The Belgian club are three-for-three in terms of wins in Group B. More interestingly, they have yet to concede a goal and proving that a good defense can also help a team go a long way.

4. Bayern Munich (3-0)

The Bavarian giants are, no surprise, among the sides that have played extremely well. The team has also not conceded a goal in Group C and already have a foot in the knockout round.

3. Real Madrid (3-0)

The Spanish giants, led by budding star Vinicius Jr., continues to chug along as the quest for a second straight UCL title remains intact.

2. Manchester City (3-0)

The Man City juggernaut continues and it’s in large part thanks to a star-studded roster led by the scoring of Erling Haaland.

1. Napoli (3-0)

Italian clubs have not dominated in the UCL for years, but this Napoli side has truly been incredible. Outscoring opponents 13-2 in three Group A matches, Napoli are truly a scary side to face.

Source link