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Talent spotting: Five stars in the making

updated 10:34 AM EDT, Wed September 17, 2014
Hakan Çalhanoglu of Bayer Leverkusen has won rave reviews for his performances. The 20-year-old, who arrived from Hamburg during the offseason, is one of the most promising attacking midfielders in European football. Hakan Çalhanoglu of Bayer Leverkusen has won rave reviews for his performances. The 20-year-old, who arrived from Hamburg during the offseason, is one of the most promising attacking midfielders in European football.
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Champions League: Five to watch
Champions League: Five to watch
Champions League: Five to watch
Champions League: Five to watch
Champions League: Five to watch
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The 2014-15 Champions League starts tonight
  • Scouting expert Tor-Kristian Karlsen picks his top five youngsters to watch
  • CNN team picks its potential champion

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- The Champions League is back -- but do you know who the rising stars of this year's competition are likely to be?

CNN asked one of Europe's leading scouting experts, Tor-Kristian Karlsen, to give us his top five young players to watch out for in this season's competition.

But did Tor get it right? You can tweet him here with your own picks.

Alen Halilovic

"Barcelona's attacking midfielder Halilovic, who made his full international debut Croatia at the age of 16,is currently playing for the Catalan club's B side but is expected to make his way into the first team this season.

Hakan Çalhanoglu

All roads point to Spain for Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker has joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan from Manchester United. All roads point to Spain for Javier Hernandez. The Mexican striker has joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan from Manchester United.
Hernandez heads to Spain
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Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win "La Decima" last season -- the club's 10th triumph in Europe's premier competition. No side has retained the Champions League title since its change in format in 1992. Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win "La Decima" last season -- the club's 10th triumph in Europe's premier competition. No side has retained the Champions League title since its change in format in 1992.
Real deal
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Champions League: The contenders Champions League: The contenders
Mario Balotelli is returning to English football with Liverpool after agreeing a move from AC Milan. Balotelli, who left Manchester City for Italy in January 2013, replaces Luis Suarez at Anfield. Mario Balotelli is returning to English football with Liverpool after agreeing a move from AC Milan. Balotelli, who left Manchester City for Italy in January 2013, replaces Luis Suarez at Anfield.
'Why always me?'
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Mario Balotelli: \'Why always me?\' Mario Balotelli: 'Why always me?'

"Çalhanoglu is a 20-year-old attacking midfielder who plays for Bayer Leverkusen. A supremely talented German-born Turkish international, the free-kick specialist is already starring for his new club following his €14.5 million move in July."

Ruben Neves

"Next up is Neves, he's just 17 and is a central midfield player for FC Porto. The teenage sensation became the club's youngest goal scorer when he got Porto's first goal in the opening round of the Portuguese championship. He's an intelligent midfielder with wonderful vision and passing ability.

Kingsley Coman

"Coman is an attacking midfielder who plays for Juventus and he's just 18. He was snapped up by the Italian champions after failing to agree a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain. Quick, agile with excellent technique, his mesmerizing runs from midfield are a headache for any defense.

Lucas Ocampos

"Monaco's Ocampos, a 20-year-old forward, is equipped with great physique, brilliant ability on the ball and a wide range of skills. He can play on either wing or as a floating forward and is expected to break into the Argentina national team any time soon."

Read: Complete guide to the Champions League

Who will come out on top?

So those are the five youngsters to watch out for -- but which team will end up lifting the trophy on June 6 in Berlin?

We asked our CNN sports team which team they fancied to triumph this season and here's what they think.

John Sinnott: "Football is a simple game," former England international Gary Lineker once said. "Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." Which is why Bayern will be crowned Champions League winners.

"Coach Pep Guardiola has had a year to instil his philosophy and Bayern have arguably the strongest squad -- and by strongest I mean the best balanced -- in the competition. The addition of Xabi Alonso's experience and guile could prove a masterstroke.

Tom McGowan: "Already boasting the attacking talents of Lionel Messi and Neymar, Barcelona added the lethal Luis Suarez to an already potent strike force. With three of the best goalscorers on the planet, supported by the likes of Andres Iniesta and Ivan Rakitic, Barca have enough firepower to shoot down any opposition."

James Masters: "Diego Costa is the final piece in the Chelsea jigsaw and Jose Mourinho boasts a squad strong enough to go all the way this time around. The addition of Costa has breathed new life into Chelsea with the striker having scored seven times in his first four league appearances. The 2012 champion will see anything but a place in the last four as a failure and given its impressive start to the season, it would take a brave person to bet against Mourinho's men."

Alex Thomas: " They're not the best team defensively but you could have said the same thing about last season's Real Madrid side -- and it was still good enough to claim "La Decima," a 10th European Cup. With Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez added to the squad, it can become the first club to retain their Champions League title simply by outscoring the opposition."

That's what our team has to say, but what do you think? You can tweet us at @CNNFC or leave us a message on our Facebook page here.

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