The UEFA Champions League is back proper after a number of sides across Europe, incidentally including English giants Manchester City, took the route of qualifiers before getting to the group stages and now eight groups are out there with 32 teams all vying for the title.
Here we sample the top contenders for the title in a group that will most likely present us with the winner at the end of the competition in May 2017.
- Real Madrid
Real Madrid are the defending champions of the UEFA Champions League and the team that has won the most titles – 11. Their latest two, came with wins over arch rivals Atletico Madrid in 2014 and in 2016.
The team has had a great start to the season, winning all their matches in the La Liga and the Uefa Super Cup clash with Sevilla and will be looking to set another record as the first team to retain the trophy at the end of the campaign.
The Spanish giants may be within their limits to imagine they can win it again, especially after a fine start that sees them at the top of the La Liga table as well as being the only side with a perfect record in La Liga.
They have the right depth and after coming from a tough group last season to win it, they may well fancy their chances though the fact that there is a transfer embargo on them may have a big impact especially in January.
The Catalans have been dominant over the past few years but they failed to spread their dominance to Europe last season as they only managed to shine at home, winning the league and cup double after their elimination by Atletico Madrid.
This season has not started so well for the Spanish giants but they are known for their mettle to recover and will be fancying their chances with the deadly trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
They are expected to easily climb out of their group that has Scottish side Celtic, Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City.
- Bayern Munich
The German champions have started their season in fine form, with all their key players doing well, save for the injured Arjen Robben who is out.
With a new manager to moot, the team has gelled well and is operating like a well oiled machine, having played two league games, won both and conceded no goal.
The team has top performer in new coach Carlo Ancelotti and the Italian has mastered the Champions League terrain so well, which could work just fine for the team. They have played four official matches this season and outscored opponents by a tally of 15-0 and while the Italian inherits a squad worked on perfectly by Pep Guardiola, he is expected to inject his own style and do what Pep failed – to with the Champions League.
- Manchester City
Talking of Pep, the Spaniard has taken on yet another challenge at the English side and so far has managed to instill his style with some impressive displays and hard decisions that included sending out star players.
He is a known performer but one thing he will want to forget very quickly is the fact that in his stay at Bayern Munich, he had no European title to show. That is why his job at City is well cut out and he will definitely try to get the title.
The coach had ample time to study his squad at City as his appointment was announced while still at Bayern and he has made a number of good signings. While at it, he needs no time to adjust with his team operating seamlessly.
His team is top of the table in England and with a perfect record. Having only made it to the semi final last season, he will definitely want to push for more this time out.
A lot of talk on Juventus ahead of the season was on the loss of their key players in the seasons past – Paul Pogba who returned to Manchester United and Alvaro Morata, who also returned to Real Madrid, as part of the deal when the Italian side signed him.
However, the team has a lot more in store than just the players who left and the Turin side has unleashed the new faces in the domestic league, with success.
Heading to Europe, it will be very hard to dismiss the Italian giants who are seeking European glory after a dominant display back at home over the years.