With the help of the AI-powered Opta supercomputer, we provide our UEFA Champions League match predictions for every game across each matchday.
The UEFA Champions League season in 2023-24 promises to be one of the best in recent memory.
Manchester City won their first ever UCL title in 2022-23 thanks to a 1-0 win over Internazionale, but can they become just the second club to retain the Champions League trophy after Real Madrid’s three successive titles between 2016 and 2018? With Europe’s biggest and best clubs competing, it’ll be a tough task.
Our AI-powered Opta supercomputer will be making its match picks for every fixture over the course of what looks set to be an exciting UCL season.
Read on as Opta Analyst provides its UEFA Champions League match predictions and be sure to check back here ahead of each matchday.
UEFA Champions League MD 1: The Quick Hits
- Reigning champions Manchester City have the highest chance of victory on MD1 of the new UCL season according to the Opta supercomputer (90.3%).
- The Opta supercomputer’s most likely results would see 11 home wins – this was only achieved once in 2022-23 (12 on MD3).
- Both Manchester United and Newcastle are tipped to start the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League with an away defeat.
The 2023-24 UEFA Champions League starts with a duo of early kick-offs on Tuesday to get the ball rolling. Let’s be brutally honest, here – Young Boys vs. RB Leipzig is certainly the undercard to Newcastle United’s trip to AC Milan.
It’ll be the first ever competitive meeting between Newcastle and Milan, with the Italian side holding vastly more experience than Eddie Howe’s team in the competition. It’ll be Milan’s 20th UCL campaign – only Juventus (23) have more of Italian sides – while 2023-24 is only Newcastle’s third appearance in the Champions League, and their first since 2002-03. This match will be their first in the UCL in 20 years and 184 days, making it the longest gap between two games in the competition by an English side.
Milan are favourites to win the match with the Opta supercomputer, with a 40.7% chance of victory, but a Newcastle away win should not be considered a big shock, with their chance at 34.6%.
The other early kick-off on Tuesday is predicted to produce an away win, with RB Leipzig’s 57.3% chance of victory well above that of home side Young Boys (19.3%) – this is the best chance of an away win on MD 1 according to the Opta supercomputer. The Swiss side have never kept a clean sheet in the UCL, conceding 24 goals across their previous 12 matches, but they have won their last two European games versus German opposition, beating Bayer Leverkusen home and away in the 2020-21 UEFA Europa League.
Reigning champions Manchester City begin their title defence with a home game versus Serbian giants Crvena Zvezda (you might know them as Red Star). No side have a bigger chance of winning on MD 1 according to the Opta supercomputer, with Pep Guardiola’s side having a 90.3% chance of victory at the Etihad Stadium. Only once in the last 28 seasons have the competition holders lost their opening group stage match, with Liverpool going down 2-0 at Napoli in 2019-20.
One of the most exciting ties, on paper, on Tuesday is Paris Saint-Germain’s game at home to Borussia Dortmund. The Parc des Princes has been somewhat of a fortress for PSG in the UCL, with the French club losing just one of their last 33 games there in the group stage (W26 D6), with that lone defeat coming against Manchester United in October 2020. The Opta supercomputer predicts a strong chance of another PSG win, here – they are being given a 59.3% chance of victory, compared to BVB’s 18.7%.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Opta supercomputer is predicting home wins for Barcelona (79.0% chance of victory) over Royal Antwerp and Feyenoord (60.4%) over Celtic. Antwerp coach Mark van Bommel has won none of his nine Champions League games in charge (D4 L5), with only three managers having taken charge of more UCL games without ever winning (Frantisek Straka, Giorgos Donis and Stanimir Stoilov, all 12). The good news for Celtic is that Feyenoord have never won their opening game of a Champions League campaign (D3 L2), but the bad news possibly outweighs that – Celtic have lost 58.3% of their UCL games (42/72), the highest ratio of any side with at least 50 games in the competition.
Tuesday also sees Lazio host Atlético Madrid in Rome, with the Spanish club the favourites to pick up all three points with the Opta supercomputer (38.8%). Lazio’s run of 19 Champions League games without a clean sheet, combined with Atlético Madrid being a clean sheet machine in the competition (50 in 117 games – 43%), might have swayed its decision.
The final game to cover across Tuesday action sees Shakhtar Donetsk face FC Porto in Hamburg, Germany as they are unable to host games in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. Shakhtar are winless in each of their four previous clashes with Porto in the UCL (D2 L2) and the Opta supercomputer isn’t hopeful they’ll end that run here – the Portuguese side are the favourites to win (52.2%).
Arguably the game of MD 1 is on Wednesday, as Bayern Munich host Manchester United at the Allianz Arena.
The German side have never lost at home to Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, winning three and drawing two of their previous five games, while Man Utd have only suffered more UCL defeats against Barcelona (five) than they have versus Bayern (four). United will always have that famous 1999 final win over them, though.
Bayern’s new star striker Harry Kane has been directly involved in seven goals in his last 10 appearances against United (four goals and three assists), although he’s not ended on the winning side in any of his last five games against them, losing four of those (D1). But he doesn’t play for Spurs anymore, does he?
The Opta supercomputer predicts Kane and Bayern will be celebrating on Wednesday night, with the record German league champions having a 59.0% chance of victory compared to Man Utd’s 20.4%.
Real Madrid have won more UEFA Champions League titles than any other team (eight), while this extends to 14 if including the old European Cup. So, for Union Berlin to have to face the record champions away from home in their first UCL match is a true baptism of fire. They are the fifth side to face Real Madrid in their first ever Champions League match, with each of the previous four losing (Internazionale 1998, Roma 2001, BATE Borisov 2008, Zürich 2009).
Real Madrid have only failed to score in one of their last 68 home games in the Champions League and the Opta supercomputer can’t see past more goals and another win for the Spanish club in this game. They are being given a 70.8% chance of winning, while Union Berlin have a 10.2% chance of victory and a 29.2% chance of winning at least a point.
Both Arsenal (67.4%) and Benfica (65.8%) are also heavy favourites to win their home games on MD1 versus PSV Eindhoven and FC Red Bull Salzburg respectively.
This is Arsenal’s first season back in the Champions League since 2016-17, and in their UEFA Europa League campaign last season, they only lost to one team – PSV. The Dutch side won 2-0 at home on that occasion, but they haven’t won any of their previous four away games at the Gunners.
Benfica have reached the knockout stages of the UCL in each of the last two seasons, but they have never previously done this in three successive campaigns. A good start against an FC Salzburg side that have never kept a clean sheet in 16 previous UCL away games would be ideal.
Last season’s losing finalists Internazionale make a tricky trip to Spain to face La Liga side Real Sociedad on the opening matchday of 2023-24. Real Sociedad are on a run of 12 UCL games without a win (D4 L8) and have scored just once in their last eight in the competition – the Opta supercomputer isn’t backing them to end that winless run here, either. Inter Milan are the favourites at 46.8%, with the home side’s chance of victory at 28.7%.
Serie A champions Napoli also face a tricky away tie, with a journey to northern Portugal to face SC Braga in one of the most iconic modern stadiums, Estádio Municipal de Braga.
Napoli are strong favourites to overcome their first UCL hurdle of 2023-24 by the Opta supercomputer, with a 51.4% chance of victory. Powered by Victor Osimhen and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Napoli were arguably the most entertaining team in the group stage last season as they scored more goals than any other side before the knockout stages (20). However, they’ve lost manager Luciano Spalletti and now have Rudi Garcia in charge.
The other two games on Wednesday see the Opta supercomputer expect more joy for the home team. Sevilla are being given a 49.9% chance of defeating Lens, while Turkish giants Galatasaray’s 59.1% chance of victory far exceeds that of Danish visitors FC København (19.7%).
Overall, the Opta supercomputer is predicting 11 home wins across MD 1 of the 2023-24 UEFA Champions League. Only once last season did 11+ home wins on a single matchday occur across the group stage, with 12 home wins on MD 3. We sit tight to see how the Opta supercomputer predictions play out.