Champions League Analysis: Dan Fitch rates the La Liga challenge

Dan Fitch thinks that Sevilla will win their Champions League group and considers the Europa League holders a better bet to go far than Real, Barca and Atletico...

All four of the La Liga clubs will have aspirations of going deep into the latter stages of the Champions League this season, even if none of them are among the favourites to win the competition.

Real Madrid are the shortest priced Spanish club at 15.0, but are only the sixth overall favourite. Barcelona are the seventh favourites at 16.0, with Atletico Madrid ranking eighth at 25.0 and Sevilla out at the 14th favourites at 50.0.

Here's the lowdown on all four of the La Liga clubs chances in the Champions League this season.

Real Madrid lack stardust of old

Real Madrid have been drawn in Group B, alongside Shakhtar Donetsk, Inter Milan and Borussia Monchengladbach. They are 1.62 to finish top, which doesn't represent much value in a group in which there are no easy games.

Though Madrid are unbeaten in La Liga this season (P4 W3 D1), they have lacked attacking inventiveness without the injured Eden Hazard. When robbed of the injured Hazard, Madrid find themselves having to grind out results, which was even the case in the successful run-in to last season, which saw them lift the Spanish title.

When Real Madrid won three Champions Leagues under Zinedine Zidane, they never really seemed like the actual best team in Europe, but they had game-changing players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale in their ranks. Without such players these days, their odds to win Group B and the Champions League could well get bigger than they are now.

Favourites Barca will not win group

Ronald Koeman has been tasked with turning around Barcelona's fortunes and so far the signs have been pretty promising. Unbeaten in their first three games (W2 D1), Koeman has arranged his Barca side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Lionel Messi leading the line.

Barcelona are in Group G, which will be tough to win, but difficult to not qualify from. Drawn alongside Juventus, Dynamo Kiev and Ferencvaros, Barcelona are the 1.81 favourites to win the group and just 1.09 to finish in the top two and progress.

Considering that Juventus are a shorter price than Barca to win the Champions League at 14.5, it's curious to see them as the second favourites to win Group G at 2.1. Koeman's team looks a bit lightweight from a defensive perspective and with Barcelona's priority likely to be La Liga this season, Juve look good value to top the group.

Atletico better value than bigger rivals

Atletico Madrid have also been drawn in a group that they are unlikely to win, but will surely qualify from.

Group A sees Atletico paired with the Champions League holders Bayern Munich, Red Bull Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow. Bayern are unsurprisingly the favourites to win the group at short odds of 1.4, with Atletico at 4.00 to finish top and 1.32 to qualify.

A familiar lack of firepower already looks set to cost Atletico in La Liga, with Diego Simeone's side having drawn their last two games 0-0. Yet Atletico may offer more value at 25.0 to win the Champions League than either Real or Barca, with Simeone repeatedly having shown his ability to navigate his way through to the latter stages. Though maybe short of the quality needed to win the competition, there's potential for Atletico's price to get much shorter.

Sevilla will top Chelsea and could go far

Amongst the Spanish teams involved, Sevilla are the outsiders at 50.0 to win the Champions League, when they may well have the best chance of any of them.

Of all the Spanish clubs, Sevilla have got the easiest draw. As Europa League winners they were top seeds and have been drawn alongside Chelsea, Krasnodar and Rennes in Group E. Chelsea are the favourites to win that group at 2.16, but have hardly looked convincing in the Premier League. Sevilla are more likely to come out on top at odds of 2.42, having proved their European pedigree last season.

Julen Lopetegui's team have perhaps made the most impressive unbeaten start to the La Liga season (P3 W2 D1), having claimed an away draw at Barcelona. Ultimately it seems unlikely that any Spanish side will win the Champions League this season, but Sevilla at least have big enough odds to enable successful trading.

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