Serie A is loaded with world-class talents and teams that are specifically designed to be tough to beat. In the Champions League and Europa League, teams fear drawing a team club Turin, Milan, or Rome in the group or knockout stages.
Once again, the continental competitions are loaded with menacing Italian units. Inter Milan, Atalanta, SS Lazio, and Juventus are all battling in the Champions League while AS Roma, SSL Napoli, and AC Milan seek to establish themselves in the Europa League before those from the Champions League drop down in the next stage.
So, how do the bookmakers rate the chances of one of the seven Italian clubs achieving European glory this season?
The bookmakers foresee an uphill battle for the Italians
The best place to look for expert predictions is the football odds page, and as it stands, the experts aren’t leaning towards the Italian clubs. In the Champions League, the Italian favourites are Juventus, but at 14/1, they trail the likes of Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain. In the Europa League, though, AC Milan are up to fourth in the odds, sitting just behind three Premier League clubs at 10/1.
Bookmakers often take tournament history into account when creating their odds, which may have contributed to the Italian sides being underrated. In the top competition, it has been ten years since Inter Milan triumphed over Bayern Munich in the final. In the Europa League, it’s been even longer since an Italian side has taken the crown, with the last club being Parma in 1999.
That said, Italian sides have come incredibly close in recent campaigns. Juventus made it to the Champions League final in 2015 and 2017, and Inter Milan missed out on claiming a Europa League crown last season. Perhaps the 2020/21 season will see one of Serie A’s finest triumph.
Italians seeking European silverware
Given their utter dominance of the league, top of the list for Italian contenders has to be Juventus. Drawn against Dynamo Kyiv, Ferencváros, and Barcelona, Le Zebre are expected to be one of the leading names in the knockout stages.
What was most exciting about the draw was seeing Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo face off again, but the Italian champions’ talisman had to miss the first match, which may have contributed to Juve’s 2-0 loss in Turin. At the halfway mark of the group stages, Lazio and Atalanta had also put themselves in a favourable position to grab a spot in the last-16.
Inter Milan were drawn into a very tough group, failing to get a win through the first leg. Given their opposition, however, the co-San Siro residents are expected to at least drop into the Europa League. Coming third in Group B would give Inter another crack at the silverware that they narrowly missed last season, but only if they can overcome their inconsistencies.
Should Nerazzurri flip into the Europa League, they could create an Italian quartet in the last-32. All of Roma, Napoli, and AC Milan were in the top two of their groups by their third games, looking poised to go into the knockout stages. Naturally, this would significantly increase the odds of an Italian club triumphing in Europe this season.
Italian clubs may not be favoured to take the Champions League this season, with Italy sitting at 15/2 to be the winning nationality. Still, in the Europa League, there appears to be a strong opportunity in the making.