I sat ‘watching’ the Champions League a fornight ago and began to contemplate what the competition has evolved into. Regrettably, in recent years I’ve started to find that the group stages are becoming predictable. With this in mind I decided to look at the data on recent qualification groups. The table below presents data on the number of teams qualifying for the knockout stages from the respective seeded pots. Pot 1 represets the strongest teams according to UEFA's ranking system, Pot 4 the weakest.
That said, while the lower ranked teams’ chances of qualifying for the knockout stages appear to be improving, a Friedman Test on data from 2004 to 2013 reports a statistically significant difference between the likelihood of qualifying from each pot (p<0.001, X² = 23.61). Furthermore, the winners of the competition have come from Pot 1 since 2006, with Liverpool’s unlikely win in 2005 the last time a Pot 1 team failed to win the competition. With Benfica and Porto currently outside the qualification spots, that leaves six potential winners. Real, Barca, Bayern, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd. Take your pick.