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UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

UEFA Champions League 2022/23: Ranking clubs and groups with the Elo system – data analysis

The 68th season of the European premier class, the 31st since being renamed the UEFA Champions League, starts on September 6th, 2022 and ends on June 10th, 2023. The final will be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, home of the Turkish national team. This arena hosted the final in 2005 when Liverpool clinched the title on penalties after falling 3-0 against AC Milan.

In this data analysis, we will take a look at this UEFA Champions League campaign based on the Elo system. Additionally, in this analysis, we will discover data and statistics of all competitors.

How does it work?

Elo estimates the strength of a club based on the results against opponents and their strength. The Elo system works with only a single number, the Elo value. The difference in Elo points between two teams directly translates to a likelihood of winning against that team.

The expected number of Elo points gained from the next match is always zero. That means that over and underperforming over one or more games can be recognised by the number of Elo points won or lost in these games. That makes it very easy to actually judge how good a result or set of results has/have been.

Every game’s influence decreases when new games are played. In this way, a club’s Elo rating is a combination of all its previous results with games from the distant past having only a microscopic influence and the newest games influencing the rating most.

To conclude, Elo ratings put a club’s results into perspective. Leagues vary greatly in quality and a metric that takes opposition strength into account is indispensable to compare clubs across leagues.

Overview

The Elo rating of all UEFA Champions League Competitors is within the range of 1,500 and 2,100. The average value of all attendees is 1,795. This is approximately the quality of clubs like Leverkusen (1,769), Juventus (1,790), Benfica (1,796) and Sevilla (1,799). The five weakest clubs are FC Copenhagen (1,571), Maccabi Haifa (1,606), Viktoria Pilsen (1,611), Club Brugge (1629) and Donezk (1,639). The five best clubs are Ajax Amsterdam (1,887), Bayern Munich (1,967), Real Madrid (1,994), Liverpool FC (2,013) and Manchester City (2,032). Therefore, the likeliness to win the trophy for Manchester City is the highest according to the Elo rating. However, the course of the knockout phase with possible opponents is not taken into account.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group A

In Group A, the attendees are Ajax Amsterdam (Netherlands), Liverpool FC (England), Napoli (Italy) and Rangers (Scotland). According to the Elo ratings, Liverpool FC (2,013) is the biggest favourite in Group A. They are followed by Ajax Amsterdam (1,887). Therefore, two out of the best five competitors in this year’s campaign will face each other in the group stage already. Napoli (1,805) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Rangers (1,725) are the biggest outsiders in this group.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group B

In Group B, the attendees are Atlético Madrid (Spain), Club Brugge (Belgium), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) and Porto FC (Portugal). According to the Elo ratings, Atlético Madrid (1,869) is the biggest favourite in Group B. They are followed by Porto FC (1,823). Bayer Leverkusen (1,769) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Club Brugge (1,629) are the biggest outsiders in this group.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group C

In Group C, the attendees are FC Barcelona (Spain), FC Bayern (Germany), Internazionale (Italy) and Viktoria Pilsen (Poland). According to the Elo ratings, FC Bayern (1,967) is the biggest favourite in Group C. They are followed by FC Barcelona (1,886). Internazionale (1,858) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Viktoria Pilsen (1,625) are the biggest outsiders in this group. Overall, Group C is one of the best groups in this campaign. Especially the match between FC Barcelona and Internazionale might be decisive.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group D

In Group D, the attendees are Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany), Olympique Marseille (France), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal) and Tottenham Hotspurs (England). According to the Elo ratings, Tottenham (1,881) is the biggest favourite in Group D. They are followed by Olympique Marseille (1,843). Sporting (1,841) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Eintracht Frankfurt (1,731) are the underdogs in this group. However, as you can see, the latter three clubs are ranked in places 22 to 24 out of 32. Therefore, even if it is not the best group in terms of quality, it is probably the most interesting one.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group E

In Group E, the attendees are Chelsea FC (England), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia), FC Red Bull Salzburg (Austria) and AC Milan (Italy). According to the Elo ratings, Chelsea FC (1,874) is the biggest favourite in Group E. They are followed by AC Milan (1,838). FC Red Bull Salzburg (1,748) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Dinamo Zagreb (1,673) are the biggest outsiders in this group. With Dinamo Zagreb and FC Red Bull Salzburg, two of the clubs with the best youth academies are in Group E. Together with the young squad of AC Milan, this group might bring out several future stars.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group F

In Group F, the attendees are Celtic (Scotland), Donezk (Ukraine), RB Leipzig (Germany) and Real Madrid (Spain). According to the Elo ratings, Real Madrid (1,994) is the biggest favourite in Group F. They are followed by RB Leipzig (1,801). Celtic Glasgow (1,648) are likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Donezk (1,639) are the biggest outsiders in this group.

With Celtic and Donezk, two out of the six weakest clubs are in this group. Therefore, the fight for third place might be the most interesting one in Group F.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group G

In Group G, the attendees are Manchester City (England), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), FC Sevilla (Spain) and FC Copenhagen (Denmark). According to the Elo ratings, Manchester City (2,032) is the biggest favourite in Group G. They are followed by Borussia Dortmund (1,807). FC Sevilla (1,799) is likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. FC Copenhagen (1,571) are the biggest outsiders in this group.

With Manchester City and FC Copenhagen, both the best and the weakest teams will face each other in Group G. Dortmund and Sevilla will fight for second place.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Group H

In Group H, the attenders are Benfica (Portugal), Juventus (Italy), Maccabi Haifa (Israel) and Paris Saint-Germain (France). According to the Elo ratings, Paris Saint-Germain (1,877) is the biggest favourite in Group H. They are followed by Benfica (1,796). Juventus (1,790) are likely to end the group stage in third place. This would mean that they qualify for the UEFA Europa League knockout phase. Maccabi Haifa (1,606) are the biggest outsiders in this group.

The fight for second place between Benfica and Juventus might be the most interesting one in this campaign.

UEFA Champions League: Ranking Clubs and Groups with Elo system - data analysis statistics

Conclusion

Manchester City are the biggest favourites to win the trophy this season, while FC Copenhagen are the biggest outsiders. Both will face each other in Group G. The best group is probably Group C with the likes of FC Barcelona, FC Bayern and Internazionale. The weakest group is probably Group F. The most interesting and balanced group is arguably Group D.