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UCL power rankings: Cinderella sides dominate midway through group stage

The Champions League resumes on Tuesday with Matchday 3. Here are the latest UCL power rankings as it nears the halfway mark of the group stage.    

As the Champions League enters the third round of group-stage games, the later power rankings reveal a few trends that have emerged over the past few weeks.

For starters, English clubs, who typically dominate the competition from the start, only feature one team (Manchester City) in the top 10 this time around. That’s largely due to the fact that Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea have underperformed over the course of the first two games.

Meanwhile, several surprises have popped up following a string of upsets. Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk and Belgium’s Club Brugge could very well grab a spot in the knockout round should they continue to earn points along the way.

Italy sees two teams in the top 10, led by a Napoli side that has played impressively to start the season and defending league champions AC Milan. Portugal also has two entrants, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, cracking the list. It remains to be seen whether they can remain consistent following last week’s international break.

Here are the latest UCL power rankings.

10. Shakhtar Donetsk (1-1-0) 

Even a brutal war with Russia, and the decimation of its roster last spring, can’t keep the Ukrainian club from being competitive in the continent’s top club competition. Neutrals will certainly be rooting for this side throughout the remainder of the group stage.

9. AC Milan (1-1-0)

The Serie A champions have been hurt by the absence of a few key players, but striker Olivier Giroud remains one of the best scorers out there. Watch for him to single-handedly drive the Rossoneri attack.

8. Club Brugge (2-0)

The Belgium-based club is the early surprise. Club Brugge seem to be the odds-on favorites at the moment to win Group B, something few would have said just a month ago.

7. Sporting Lisbon (2-0)

The Portuguese side are also undefeated and look like they could advance past the group stage. It’s not too shocking to see them get to this point, but the misfortune of other teams (most notably Spurts and Eintracht Frankfurt) in Group D have helped.

6. Napoli (2-0)

Few would have predicted that the Partenopei would be undefeated after two games. A few big tests remain, but a very strong start has the Napoli faithful dreaming of a deep run.

5. Benfica (2-0)

A second Portuguese side has made the power rankings, a testament to how well the clubs from the Iberian peninsula are faring at this competition. Their unblemished record could be a thing of the past come Wednesday, however, after taking on PSG.

4. Real Madrid (2-0)

The defending European champions are quietly going about their business. They could surge even higher in the rankings should they remain unbeaten against a plucky Shakhtar side.

3. Bayern Munich (2-0)

Never count out the Bavarian club. When they’re not bulldozing teams in the Bundesliga, they are having a pretty easy go of it in the UCL.

2. Manchester City (2-0)

The team looks unstoppable with Erling Haaland in amazing form. Pep Guardiola’s side is used to great starts. It is whether they can finish that remains to be seen.

1. Paris Saint-Germain (2-0)

PSG has had the money and big names for a few years now. For now, they have what it takes to be tops. Time will tell whether they can stay at the helm.

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