UEFA Champions League

UEFA Champions League

champions league logoUEFA Champions League is a competition that took place one month after UEFA’s first congress, held in March 1955. Strangely enough it was not an initiative that came from the European forum itself, but from the French sports daily L’Equipe, which was campaigning for a European club competition that would bring the best clubs from all countries together.

As there weren’t any rules, the journalists invited 15 clubs that they thought had the most fan appeal and their representatives agreed to the guidelines proposed by L’Equipe.

As time passed, the rules changed and only winners of the national leagues were accepted at the competition, but as UEFA was always on the lookout for expanding, they changed altered the rules again to allow even more teams to take part, thus improving the chances for even more excitement during matches. With the competition’s new rules becoming effective in 1992, we now have a tournament with three qualifying rounds, a play off, a group stage and four knockout rounds:

  • Qualifying rounds – based on UEFA coefficients, each country delegates their teams to take part in 3 qualification rounds, at the end of which only 10 teams remain to enter the tournament.
  • Knockout phase – starting with the remaining 16 teams and up until the semi finals, the teams play with the same home/away rules to reach the final.
  • Final – The final is decided in just one game and each year the venue in which it will take place is different and chosen by the association.

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The team that wins the Champions League is awarded a trophy donated by the French newspaper that originally suggested the start of the competition. Although over the years it suffered some changes, the one we have today is 74 cm long and weighs approximately 9 kg. The names of each winner are engraved on the back of the trophy and the original cup can remain in the property of any club that won the competition 5 times or at least three years in a row. This being said, only Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam, AC Milan and Liverpool have an original trophy. Besides being allowed to keep the trophy, these clubs have been awarded a badge of honor on their shirts, which clearly indicates the years in which said club won the Championship. Check out the best Champions League predictions in this blog and become a betting champ yourself!

trophyThe most successful clubs in the Champions League are Real Madrid with 9 wins, Milan with 7, Liverpool with 5, as well as Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Ajax Amsterdam with 4 trophies. If we look at the statistics per country, we’ll see that Spain has the most winners with 2 clubs gaining 13 titles each; Italy comes next with 12 winners from 3 clubs and England with 2 winners from five clubs. English teams hit a dark patch in 1985 when all English clubs were banned from all competitions following the Heysel Disaster, where 39 people were killed when a wall collapsed on Juventus fans. This tragedy allowed other small clubs to win a trophy they wouldn’t have otherwise, so you can easily spot teams like Steaua Bucharest, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto or Red Star Belgrade in the list of winners.

Looking at statistics, we can spot various achievements such as the 9 clubs who won the Champions League unbeaten, but only 4 clubs managed to do this twice, Liverpool, Milan, Ajax and Manchester United. Arsenal holds the record for the most consecutive clean sheets with 10 in the 2005-2006 tournament. Five clubs have won all their games in the group stage, Milan, PSG, Spartak Moscow, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while AEK Athens managed to finish all their games in a draw.

The Champions League is always one of the biggest and colorful events in the world and during its run, it’s a fan favorite when it comes to betting. With our expert tips and helpful predictions, you will always know the best ways you can place a bet, so you can win with your favorite team too. It would be safe to mention that the Champions League is sponsored by corporations like Ford, Gazprom, Heineken, Mastercard, Sony and more recently HTC, that is poised to become the Champion League’s official mobile supporter. There is no online bookmaker that does not offer Champions League odds, Pinnacle Sports often offering the best ones on the market. You will also find a great deal of UEFA Champions League predictions in this blog – follow them and become a champion of betting yourself!

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The UEFA Champions League has had its share of moments that are still present in fans’ eyes, such as:

  • Only 3 clubs managed to win the trophy on their field: Celtic (1967), Real Madrid (1966) and Steaua Bucharest  in 1986.
  • The fastest goal in history was scored by Roy Makaay from Bayern Munich in the 10th second of their match against Real Madrid in 2007.
  •  In 2006 Arsenal had the best defense of the tournament, as it managed to play 10 games without conceding a single goal.
  •  Clarence Seedorf has won the Champions League four times, while he played for 3 different clubs: Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan.

One of the greatest moments the competition ever saw was Jerzy Dudek’s magnificent reflexes against AC Milan in the 2004/2005 final. No wonder the game was dubbed “Miracle of Istanbul”, as Dudek’s reflex managed to deny Shevchenko the goal and he was the main reason Liverpool won the cup.

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