Power Ranking the Top 25 European Clubs After Matches from August 9-11
Welcome to the latest edition of our European club power rankings, where we order the top teams on the continent based on pre-season form and transfer negotiations.
Last time out we had Real Madrid at No. 10 and Liverpool flailing, so what's changed after the latest bout of matches? Ligue 1 and the Eredivisie have kicked off, the Russian Premier League is in full flow and the European Super Cup is upon us.
Hang tight, we're almost there!
Everton lost their second successive pre-season fixture in Germany this weekend, falling 3-1 to Paderborn.
A fairly strong team was fielded with the odd exception, and though academy striker Chris Long netted early to get the Toffees off to a good start, the wall soon began to crumble.
Roberto Martinez's men failed to win a single pre-season game.
24. PSV Eindhoven
PSV Eindhoven began with a 3-1 win at Willem II, but for Phillip Cocu this is nothing new.
His starlets started superbly last season but tailed off dramatically, and he'll be looking for renewed consistency from the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum and Co.
Memphis Depay was on the scoresheet.
As if the Monaco project could appear in any more danger than it already is, Lorient came to town and beat them 2-1 on the opening weekend of the new Ligue 1 season.
Radamel Falcao equalised in the second half after Vincent Aboubakar had opened the scoring, but super-sub Valentin Lavigne netted late on to rescue a dramatic win.
From bad to worse for les Monegasques...
Benfica may have lost their entire squad of players, but Jorge Jesus still managed to pull a semblance of a team together to beat Rio Ave in the Portuguese Super Cup on Sunday evening.
The two sides missed chances each and played to a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes, and the unlikely figure of beleaguered goalkeeper Artur Moraes came to the rescue as he saved three penalties in the shootout.
21. FC Porto
FC Porto stepped up their preparations with a strong 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion in the Midlands this weekend, with Jackson Martinez grabbing a brace and on-loan midfielder Casemiro notching the spare.
A long pre-season tour in which seven games have been played has ended, and the Dragoes go into the Liga Sagres campaign as early favourites for the title.
20. Zenit St. Petersburg
Zenit St. Petersburg cruised to an 8-1 victory over Torpedo Moscow this weekend, making it two wins from two for Andre Villas-Boas to start the season.
Salomon Rondon, Hulk, Danny, Domenico Criscito and more are in electric form, with Lokomotiv Moscow the only real challenger for the crown even at this early stage.
Well we knew it'd be exciting to watch Marseille under Marcelo Bielsa, but six goals in the opening fixture?
A 3-3 draw with Bastia, who themselves debuted new manager Claude Makelele, was the pick of the games from Ligue 1's opening round.
Andre-Pierre Gignac began the campaign with a brace.
Ajax started the Eredivisie season like a house on fire, beating a strong Vitesse side 4-1 with ease.
Lasse Schone starred from the left with two goals and one assist, per WhoScored.com, and Daley Blind rejoined the fold after an extended FIFA World Cup 2014 break from the bench late on.
Schalke 04 started pre-season well but have tailed off a little, and the recent loss to Tottenham Hotspur proved they're a little short of where they hoped they'd find themselves.
One major positive emanating from the schedule is the progress of Donis Avdijaj—the next superstar fresh off the Royal Blue talent conveyor belt.
16. Athletic Bilbao
Ernesto Valverde has been preparing for life in the UEFA Champions League this summer, but he's only been able to bring in one bit-part player (Borja Viguera) due to the cantera recruitment policy.
Without Ander Herrera, his midfield loses some serious buzz and creativity, meaning young midfielders Erik Moran and Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta could come in for serious playing time a lot earlier than expected.
Napoli fell 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain on Monday evening, with Gonzalo Higuain's early effort cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Javier Pastore.
The Partenopei have been a little quiet in the transfer market but welcomed back some more FIFA World Cup 2014 players into the fold.
14. Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino's plans are all falling nicely into place, and beating a UEFA Champions League latter-stage contender in Schalke 04 is a fine way to round off the preparation.
13. Borussia Dortmund
Losing 4-0 to Liverpool, a fellow UEFA Champions League contender, is not a good thing to do at any point in the season.
Yes, Borussia Dortmund fielded a weakened squad but it wasn't a B-team by any notion, and the defensive setup on show at Anfield looks of massive concern.
BVB need Marco Reus to return and fire, and fast.
Roma recovered from a drab International Champions Cup by smashing poor little SV Eltendorf 5-0 in Austria this weekend.
Rudi Garcia's men will play one final match against Wiener SK before knuckling down to a Serie A campaign starting with Fiorentina.
OK, so it was just a pre-season friendly against a side who begin their season a week after the English one starts, but that 4-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund was something special on Sunday.
It's the sort of result that can boost your players enough to begin the campaign in great form despite not playing competitively, and it was fantastic to see the post-Luis Suarez era carry on taking shape.
Philippe Coutinho is looking ominously good.
10. Paris Saint-Germain
Paris Saint-Germain have had a rough few days, drawing their opener to Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 and then losing Thiago Silva to what looks like a bad hamstring injury in a friendly against Napoli.
The exhibition match against the Partenopei, while clearly attached to Edinson Cavani's big-money deal last summer, was ill-timed and may have put PSG into a defensive rough spot.
Juventus' pre-season is a tale of two halves: They did poorly in Italy early on but most of their players were away, and now the first-teamers have linked up together, they're destroying teams on their Australasian tour.
Their relative strength lingers in the balance, resting on whether or not Arturo Vidal is actually ever sold or not. Should the Chilean go, Roma could become favourites for the title.
8. Manchester United
Manchester United finish their pre-season schedule with a home tie vs. Valencia on Tuesday evening and haven't played since defeating Liverpool 3-1 in the USA.
They won all five games they played across the channel and beat some pretty prestigious-looking opposition, but Louis van Gaal has dedicated the last week and a bit to training on the new 3-4-1-2 formation.
7. Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid's summer has seen an alarming transfer turnover occur, but it's arguable they are now no stronger nor no weaker than before.
They recently crushed Wolfsburg 5-1 as Diego Simeone steps up the preparation for the 2014-15 campaign, and it's fantastic to see Mario Mandzukic playing well in Diego Costa's place.
6. Manchester City
Manchester City may have been without key players, but the 3-0 collapse to Arsenal in the Community Shield is not something you wish to see six days before the big Premier League kick-off.
Yaya Toure looked thoroughly disinterested, Fernando struggled to play against three in midfield and Samir Nasri flunked under immense crowd pressure.
City's response? Immediately sign Eliaquim Mangala from FC Porto; Dedryck Boyata's days are numbered.
Chelsea squeezed out a 2-1 victory over Ferencvaros on Sunday ahead of their final pre-season match vs. Real Sociedad on Tuesday evening.
The Budapest-based side took the lead through Premier League old-boy Zoltan Gera but the Blues bit back, with Cesc Fabregas weaving his way into the box to score a sublime winner.
The match vs. La Real is the first pre-season at Stamford Bridge for over half a decade.
Try telling Arsenal it was a glorified friendly. Go on, we dare you!
The Gunners ran rampant at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, beating 2013-14 Premier League champions Manchester City 3-0 in the usual English season curtain-raiser.
Aaron Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Calum Chambers...the list of impressive performances just goes on and on.
La Liga kicks off a week after the Premier League, so Barcelona are still in the midst of their preparations and transfer negotiations ahead of the season.
That's reflected in their slightly lower ranking here.
Their latest exhibition did see them hit top form, however, smashing HJK Helsinki in Finland 6-0. A young side impressed, Munir El Haddadi stole the spotlight and even Sergi Roberto scored a goal.
2. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich's last friendly, a loss to the MLS All-Star selection, is firmly in the rear-view mirror as they gear up for the DFL Supercup tussle against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola has reacted to the walloping Real Madrid handed his side last season by toying with different formations and systems, and Robert Lewandowski is certain to boost the attack and give it more of a dynamic edge.
1. Real Madrid
Real Madrid begin their season on Tuesday evening against Sevilla in the European Super Cup.
Gareth Bale leads his team to his home town of Cardiff City to try and add another piece of silverware to his fast-growing cabinet, and Carlo Ancelotti will try out his new attacking toys in James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos.
We can't wait.
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