League record: 13-0-2. // Next opponent: Cruz Azul or Western Sydney Wanderers (FIFA Club World Cup). // Team report: Nineteen straight wins! Do we need to say more? The reigning kings of Europe just keep on keepin’ on behind a powerful Ronaldo-led offense. Their sixteen goals in the UEFA Champions League were tied for most in the group stage, and in La Liga, well, their goal difference of +42 is still greater than anyone else’s total goals or points output after extending its winning streak to 20 games on Friday night.
Getty ImagesGonzalo Arroyo Moreno
League record: 11-1-2. // Next opponent: Getafe (La Liga). // Team report: Since back-to-back losses to Real Madrid and Celta Vigo six weeks ago, Barca have simply been outstanding, winning eight in a row and outscoring opponents, 24-4. Over that span, Lionel Messi has rounded back into his top form (12 goals) and Luis Suarez has found a new way to be a big-time contributor (2 goals, 5 assists).
Getty ImagesAlex Caparros
League record: 11-3-0. // Next opponent: Augsburg (Bundesliga). // Team report: The loss to Manchester City aside, Bayern have been untouchable this season. With 36 points, no losses, 33 goals scored and just three allowed in 14 Bundesliga matches, Bayern boast a frighteningly similar record to Year One under Josep Guardiola (38 points, no losses, 32 GF, 7 GA).
Bongarts/Getty ImagesLennart Preiss
League record: 11-3-1. // Next opponent: Hull City (Premier League). // Team report: The Blues lost at surging Newcastle United last weekend to hand Jose Mourinho his first loss since last year’s UEFA Champions League semifinal vs. Atletico Madrid. It was their second straight bad result away from home, following the goalless draw at Sunderland, and suddenly, their Premier League lead is down to three points.
Getty ImagesStu Forster
League record: 10-3-2. // Next opponent: Leicester City (Premier League). // Team report: City were in a dire situation just a few weeks ago, trailing Chelsea by eight points in England and approaching another early UEFA Champions League exit. But then came the rally against Bayern Munich at home thanks to a Sergio Aguero hat trick, and City haven’t stopped winning since.
Getty ImagesJulian Finney
League record: 10-7-0. // Next opponent: Guingamp (Ligue 1). // Team report: PSG were the last side in Europe’s top five leagues to remain undefeated in all competitions… until Barcelona beat them this week to win their Champions League group. The good news? Zlatan Ibrahimovic has five goals in six games since coming back from injury, and PSG have crept to within one point of Marseille’s Ligue 1 lead.
Getty ImagesJean Catuffe
League record: 11-2-1. // Next opponent: Sampdoria (Serie A). // Team report: It was squeaky-bum time for Juve on Wednesday, as just one Atletico goal would have knocked them out of the Champions League group stage for a second straight year. The goalless draw was enough to see them through, however, making them Italy’s lone representative in the Round of 16. In Serie A, the Old Lady continues to hold off Roma by a slim margin.
Getty ImagesValerio Pennicino
League record: 8-4-3. // Next opponent: Liverpool (Premier League). // Team report: Have they figured it out? We’re a little uneasy about pushing United back into the top ten, but after winning five straight games -- including at Arsenal and Southampton -- the Red Devils are suddenly in third place and brimming with confidence. Sunday’s derby against Liverpool will be another big test for Louis van Gaal & Co.
Getty ImagesMike Hewitt
League record: 10-2-2. // Next opponent: Villarreal (La Liga). // Team report: Isn’t it a little weird that nobody is talking about Atletico again? Diego Simeone’s defense is playing at a similar level to last season, having recorded five clean sheets in a row. Meanwhile, Mario Mandzukic (12 goals in all competitions) has exactly matched Diego Costa’s production at the same stage a year ago. Look out!
AFP/Getty ImagesJOSE JORDAN
League record: 10-6-2. // Next opponent: Quilmes (Primera Division). // Team report: We’ll start by spreading some holiday cheer to South America, where River Plate downed Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. Los Millionarios are also the defending champions in Argentina’s Primera Division, and currently sit in second place 18 games into the new campaign.