While the clubs with Americans slog through the quagmire of qualifying, these five powerhouses are eyeing Wembley in May
1 REAL MADRID
Coach José Mourinho brings the experience of two Champions League crowns, and Cristiano Ronaldo is on a hot streak like no other (71 goals in 67 games last season). That could spell Real Madrid's first crown since 2001--02.
New coach Tito Vilanova, a Pep Guardiola protégé, will maintain tiki-taka with a roster almost wholly unchanged, though it's fair to wonder whether vets Xavi and Carles Puyol have another elite season in them. After being knocked off Spain's top perch last season, the Blaugrana are plenty motivated to take down Real in a dream final.
3 MANCHESTER UNITED
The unthinkable happened last season when United failed to get out of the group stage. It's hard to envision the same this time, especially with last year's leading EPL scorer, Robin van Persie (30 goals), joining Wayne Rooney, who finished second (27).
4 MANCHESTER CITY
They, too, failed to advance, a slipup unforgotten even after a dramatic EPL title win. But a peaking Mario Balotelli (star of this summer's Euro) and a resurgent Carlos Tevez (who's made nice with manager Roberto Mancini) make City a contender.
5 BAYERN MUNICH