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Both Atletico and Napoli can ruffle Champions League feathers

| 15.10.2013

Picking a Champions League winner outside of Bayern Munich and the two La Liga powerhouses is a difficult and, probably futile task, but cases can be made for two long shots to break up the triumvirate at the head of the pack.

The first of this pair is pace-setting Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid, available to back at 20/1 for success in Europe’s premier competition with Ladbrokes.

An electrifying start to the season has seen Atleti win every game they’ve played, aside from their Spanish Super Cup double-header with Barcelona (which yielded two draws) and they sit at the top of Group G after two games.

They broadcast their credentials to dive deep into the tournament by winning in Porto, which very few do.

In addition to this, they’ve also got the better of archenemies Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on domestic detail, confirming they can indeed compete with the cream of the elite.

What’s more, in Diego Simeone, they have one of the most promising coaches in world football manning the rudder and the Argentine has previous when it comes to lifting trophies in Europe.

This experience will see the lesser-celebrated Madrid outfit fare well when the tension of two-legged knockout football comes into force in the latter stages.

The second side with genuine ability to travel far in the competition is Italian establishment, Napoli.

Like Atletico, having a European trophy-winning helmsman in Rafa Benitez can only work in their favour and they have a glittering squad studded with some of the continent’s top talents.

The likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Marek Hamsik and Pepe Reina are all masters of their trade and integral aspects of a team that’s won seven of nine this term, including a victory over last season’s Champions League finalists, Borussia Dortmund.

Partenopei’s biggest issue is that they’re stationed in the toughest group, but three points from six suggests they can compete and their upcoming home and away dates with Marseille will go some way to determining the value in their monstrously lengthy 50/1 price to hoist ‘Old Big Ears’ come May.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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James Middleton