The official newspaper of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Inside Prep

Breaking News
The official newspaper of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Inside Prep

The official newspaper of Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School.

Inside Prep

The Rise of Intramural Basketball: A Slam Dunk Season
A change in weather affects Brebeuf

A change in weather affects Brebeuf

March 4, 2024

From the start of the second semester, Indiana has experienced unexpected extreme cold weather affecting school life, student drivers, and sports. With...

Committed Athletes

Committed Athletes

March 4, 2024

Aside from academic excellence, Brebeuf students flourish in sports. More than half of the student body at Brebeuf partake in sports. Balancing academics...

Spring Trial Schedule: Sink or Float?

February 21, 2024

If you’ve been at Brebeuf for the past few years, you probably know the eight day schedule by heart…or at least know it pretty well by now. But this...

UEFA Champions League knockout rounds preview

The countdown to the knockouts continues:
UCL+favorites+Manchester+City+take+on+Sheffield+United+at+the+Etihad+Stadium.+City+won+the+league+match+2-0+behind+a+Phil+Foden+brace+of+assists.
Colin Frantz ’25
UCL favorites Manchester City take on Sheffield United at the Etihad Stadium. City won the league match 2-0 behind a Phil Foden brace of assists.

The UEFA Champions League is the biggest stage for clubs in the continent of Europe. The competition pits the best clubs from various European countries against each other in two different stages: a group stage and a knockout stage. With the conclusion of the group stage of the Champions League on December 13, 2023, the competition will resume from its two-month break with the beginning of the knockout stage on February 13, 2024. With sixteen clubs remaining, supporters eagerly await which clubs will emerge as potential dark horses in the tournament, and how they will fare against the favorites.

There is no doubt that a massive contender for the title of champions of Europe is Manchester City, the winner of last year’s Champions League. After winning all six of their games in group G, City should be a force to be reckoned with in the knockout stages, especially considering the return of their star midfielders, Kevin De Brunye and Rodri, as well as their influential central defenders John Stones and Ruben Dias. 

Star forward Erling Haaland, who last year broke the Premier League record for most goals in a season, is also expected to return from injury before their Champions League match with Copenhagen on February 13, as well as defender Manuel Akanji, who is also expected to return before then.

Of course, Manchester City are also led by legendary coach Pep Guardiola, who has already claimed the Champions League title three times, two being with Barcelona in 2008/09 and 2010/11, and the third coming last year with Manchester City, a season in which he also completed the treble by winning the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League.

Story continues below advertisement

When Colin Frantz ’25 was asked who he expected to be crowned champion, he responded with “Man(chester) City because they have the best player in the world in Kevin De Bruyne, and the best coach of all time”.

Another possible contender is Real Madrid, whose stacked midfield includes the likes of Aurélien Tchouaméni, Eduardo Camavinga, Luka Modric, Federico Valverde, Toni Kroos, and Jude Bellingham. This group certainly gives them the depth in midfield necessary to challenge for the title. Bellingham in particular makes Madrid a threat, as he has been arguably the best player in the world this season, tied for first in his league in goals, with 14 in the competition. 

The one slight against Madrid is their lack of a true striker, with Rodrygo, who has been playing in this position frequently since the sale of Karim Benzema in July 2023, profiling better as a winger. The other main option for Madrid at this position is Joselu, who was loaned in from Spanish side Espanyol in July 2023, although there are major questions as to if Joselu has the quality to be a LaLiga winning striker, let alone a Champions League winning one.

Other possible contenders include FC Bayern Munich, who qualified top of group A with 16 points, although they still have to worry about their domestic league, the Bundesliga, as Bayer Leverkusen is undefeated and remains at the top of the league, threatening to end Munich’s 11 season long streak of winning the Bundesliga. Spanish giant Barcelona also may be considered a contender, however there are questions as to if current head coach and former legendary midfielder Xavi is capable of leading Barcelona to such a feat as winning the Champions League.

One club that could surprise a lot of people in the knockout stages is Spanish club Atlético Madrid, who have had a very successful season so far, both in LaLiga and in the Champions League.  They currently sit at third place in LaLiga, and topped group E with 14 points.

When asked which club he thought could be a surprise competitor in the knockout stages, junior Luke Akosa responded with “I would say Atlético Madrid, they have been impressive so far in the Champions league especially since players like Griezmann and Morata have had great seasons”.

Striker Álvaro Morata and attacking midfielder Antoine Griezmann have experienced a career resurgence of sorts, with Morata scoring 13 goals so far in LaLiga. Griezman has also been especially impressive, with 11 goals and 5 assists in LaLiga so far. There is no doubt that the form of both of these players should make Atlético Madrid a formidable opponent to even the best clubs remaining in the Champions League. 

Italian club Inter Milan are another club that could make a run in the Champions League. They surely have the experience to do so, as it was only last year that they reached the final of the competition, only narrowly missing out on European glory in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Inter also have the talent necessary to go far in the competition, with Argentinian striker Lautaro Martínez leading the Serie A in goals with 19, talented midfielders such as Nicoló Barella and Hakan Çalhanoğlu, and Benjamin Pavard, who has been one of the best center backs is the Serie A so far this season.

In short, the 2023/24 UEFA Champions League tournament promises excitement, with favorites such as Manchester City and Real Madrid receiving tough competition from the likes of Barcelona, Átletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Inter Milan, among others.

More to Discover