Champions League Stadiums & Stats

champions league
By Riccardo de conciliis (Coppacampioni.png Wikipedia Italie) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Champions League, formerly known as the European Cup, is the pinnacle of club football in Europe and being honest in the world too. Each year up to 79 teams from Europe's top 54 ranked leagues enter into the Champions League. The final 32 is then arranged into eight groups with the winner and runner up progressing to a final 16 knock out stage. This culminates in late May or early June each year as one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar, the champions league final.

In 2018 this will be held in Kiev's NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium and the winner can expect to receive €15.5 million on top of the €12.7 million fee for reaching the group stages and additional TV revenue. On this page you will find all of the information about the Champions League from the qualifying to the final. This includes tournament and club statistics, fixtures, stadium details, history and more.

Champions League Stadiums

Stadium Year Opened Capacity Ave Attendance Record Attendance Record Attendance Match
Allianz Arena
Bayern Munich / TSV 1860 München
2005 75,000 71,000 75,000 B Munich v Schalke 04 (2015)
Liverpool FC
1884 54,074 44,659 61,905 Liverpool v Wolves (1952)
NSC Olimpiyskiy
Dynamo Kyiv
1923 70,050 28,931 100,062 Dynamo Kiev v Utrecht 1985
Santiago Bernabéu
Real Madrid
1947 81,044 73,081 128,000 Real Madrid v D Zagreb (1974)
Stadio Olimpico
AS Roma / SS Lazio
1937 70,634 21,274 100,000 Italy v Hungary (1953)


FixtureDate & TimeStadium
?v?Sat 26th MayNSC Olimpiyskiy

Semi Finals

FixtureDate & TimeStadium
LiverpoolvRomaTues 24th AprilAnfield
B MunichvReal MadridWeds 25th AprilAllianz Arena
Real MadridvB MunichTues 1st MayBernabéu
RomavLiverpoolTues 2nd MayStadio Olimpico

Quarter Finals

FixtureDate & TimeStadium
JuventusvReal MadridTues 3rd AprilJuventus Stadium
SevillavB MunichTues 3rd AprilRamón Sánchez Pizjuán
BarcelonavRomaWeds 4th AprilCamp Nou
LiverpoolvMan CityWeds 4th AprilAnfield
Man CityvLiverpoolTues 10th AprilThe Etihad
RomavBarcelonaTues 10th AprilStadio Olimpico
B MunichvSevillaWeds 11th AprilAllianz Arena
Real MadridvJuventusWeds 11th AprilBernabéu

Round of 16

FixtureDate & TimeStadium
JuventusvTottenhamTues 13th Feb Juventus Stadium
Basel 1893vMan CityTues 13th Feb St Jakob Park
FC PortovLiverpoolWed 14th Feb Estádio do Dragão
Real MadridvPSGWed 14th Feb Bernabéu
ChelseavBarcelonaTues 20th Feb Stamford Bridge
B MunichvBeşiktaşTues 20th Feb Allianz Arena
S DonetskvRomaWed 21st Feb Metalist Stadium
SevillavMan UnitedWed 21st Feb Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán
LiverpoolvFC PortoTues 6th March Anfield
PSGvReal MadridTues 6th March Parc des Princes
TottenhamvJuventusWed 7th March Wembley
Man CityvBasel 1893Wed 7th March The Etihad
Man UnitedvSevillaTues 13th March Man United
RomavS DonetskTues 13th March Stadio Olimpico
BarcelonavChelseaWed 14th March Camp Nou
BeşiktaşvB MunichWed 14th March Vodafone Arena

Group Stages

Group A

Benfica v Basel 1893Tues 12th SeptEstadio da Luz
Man United v CSKATues 12th SeptOld Trafford
Basel 1893 v BenficaWeds 27th SeptSt Jakob Park
CSKA v Man UnitedWeds 27th SeptArena CSKA
Benfica v Man UnitedWeds 18th OctEstadio da Luz
CSKA v Basel 1893Weds 18th OctArena CSKA
Basel 1893 v CSKATues 31st OctSt Jakob Park
Man United v BenficaTues 31st OctOld Trafford
CSKA v BenficaWeds 22nd NovArena CSKA
Basel 1893 v Man UnitedWeds 22nd NovSt Jakob Park
Benfica v Basel 1893Tues 5th DecEstadio da Luz
Man United v CSKATues 5th DecOld Trafford

Group B

Celtic v PSGTues 12th SeptCeltic Park
B Munich v AnderlechtTues 12th SeptAllianz Arena
PSG v B MunichWeds 27th SeptParc des Princes
Anderlecht v CelticWeds 27th SeptConstant Vanden Stock
B Munich v CelticWeds 18th OctAllianz Arena
Anderlecht v PSGWeds 18th OctConstant Vanden Stock
Celtic v B MunichTues 31st OctCeltic Park
PSG v AnderlechtTues 31st OctParc des Princes
PSG v CelticWeds 22nd NovParc des Princes
Anderlecht v B MunichWeds 22nd NovConstant Vanden Stock
Celtic v AnderlechtTues 5th DecCeltic Park
B Munich v PSGTues 5th DecAllianz Arena

Group C

Chelsea v QarabagTues 12th SeptStamford Bridge
AS Roma v Atl MadridTues 12th SeptStadio Olimpico
Qarabag v AS RomaWeds 27th SeptBaku National Stadium
Atl Madrid v ChelseaWeds 27th SeptWanda Metropolitano
Qarabag v Atl MadridWeds 18th OctBaku National Stadium
Chelsea v AS RomaWeds 18th OctStamford Bridge
Atl Madrid v QarabagTues 31st OctWanda Metropolitano
AS Roma v ChelseaTues 31st OctStadio Olimpico
Qarabag v ChelseaWeds 22nd NovBaku National Stadium
Atl Madrid v AS RomaWeds 22nd NovWanda Metropolitano
Chelsea v Atl MadridTues 5th DecStamford Bridge
AS Roma v QarabagTues 5th DecStadio Olimpico

Group D

Barcelona v JuventusTues 12th SeptCamp Nou
Olympiakos v Sporting CPTues 12th SeptGeorgios Karaiskakis
Juventus v OlympiakosWeds 27th SeptJuventus Stadium
Sporting CP v BarcelonaWeds 27th SeptEsadio Jose Alvalde
Barcelona v OlympiakosWeds 18th OctCamp Nou
Juventus v Sporting CPWeds 18th OctJuventus Stadium
Olympiakos v BarcelonaTues 31st OctGeorgios Karaiskakis
Sporting CP v JuventusTues 31st OctEsadio Jose Alvalde
Juventus v BarcelonaWeds 22nd NovJuventus Stadium
Sporting CP v OlympiakosWeds 22nd NovEsadio Jose Alvalde
Barcelona v Sporting CPTues 5th DecCamp Nou
Olympiakos v JuventusTues 5th DecGeorgios Karaiskakis

Group E

Liverpool v SevillaWeds 13th SeptAnfield
Maribor v S MoscowWeds 13th SeptStadion Ljudski vrt
Sevilla v MariborTues 26th SeptOtkritie Arena
S Moscow v LiverpoolTues 26th SeptRamón Sánchez Pizjuán
Maribor v LiverpoolTues 17th OctStadion Ljudski vrt
S Moscow v SevillaTues 17th OctOtkritie Arena
Liverpool v MariborWeds 1st NovAnfield
Sevilla v S MoscowWeds 1st NovRamón Sánchez Pizjuán
S Moscow v MariborTues 21st NovOtkritie Arena
Sevilla v LiverpoolTues 21st NovRamón Sánchez Pizjuán
Liverpool v S MoscowWeds 6th DecAnfield
Maribor v SevillaWeds 6th DecStadion Ljudski vrt

Group F

Feyenoord v Man CityWeds 13th SeptDe Kuip
S Donetsk v NapoliWeds 13th SeptMetalist Stadium
Man City v S DonetskTues 26th SeptThe Etihad
Napoli v FeyenoordTues 26th SeptStadio San Paolo
Feyenoord v S DonetskTues 17th OctDe Kuip
Man City v NapoliTues 17th OctThe Etihad
Napoli v Man CityWeds 1st NovStadio San Paolo
S Donetsk v FeyenoordWeds 1st NovMetalist Stadium
Man City v FeyenoordTues 21st NovThe Etihad
Napoli v S DonetskTues 21st NovDe Kuip
Feyenoord v NapoliWeds 6th DecDe Kuip
S Donetsk v Man CityWeds 6th DecMetalist Stadium

Group G

FC Porto v BeşiktaşWeds 13th SeptRed Bull Arena Leipzig
RB Leipzig v MonacoWeds 13th SeptEstádio do Dragão
Beşiktaş v RB LeipzigTues 26th SeptVodafone Arena
Monaco v FC PortoTues 26th SeptStade Louis II
Monaco v BeşiktaşTues 17th OctStade Louis II
RB Leipzig v FC PortoTues 17th OctRed Bull Arena Leipzig
Beşiktaş v MonacoWeds 1st NovVodafone Arena
FC Porto v RB LeipzigWeds 1st NovEstádio do Dragão
Beşiktaş v FC PortoTues 21st NovVodafone Arena
Monaco v RB LeipzigTues 21st NovRed Bull Arena Leipzig
FC Porto v MonacoWeds 6th DecEstádio do Dragão
RB Leipzig v BeşiktaşWeds 6th DecRed Bull Arena Leipzig

Group H

Real Madrid v A NicosiaWeds 13th SeptBernabéu
Tottenham v B DortmundWeds 13th SeptWembley
A Nicosia v TottenhamTues 26th SeptGSP Stadium
B Dortmund v Real MadridTues 26th SeptSignal Iduna Park
A Nicosia v B DortmundTues 17th OctGSP Stadium
Real Madrid v TottenhamTues 17th OctBernabéu
B Dortmund v A NicosiaWeds 1st NovSignal Iduna Park
Tottenham v Real MadridWeds 1st NovWembley
A Nicosia v Real MadridTues 21st NovGSP Stadium
B Dortmund v TottenhamTues 21st NovSignal Iduna Park
Real Madrid v B DortmundWeds 6th DecBernabéu
Tottenham v A NicosiaWeds 6th DecWembley

Tournament Format

Qualification Format

The system of qualification for the Champions League has changed a few times over the last 25 years however since 2009 this seems to have settled into a fixed format. The Champions League begins with 32 teams split into 8 groups of 4.

Automatic qualification is given to the winners and runners up from the top European football league members. This system is based on the UEFA coefficient rankings, these are calculated based on the number of games and the results of those games from club teams and the national team of that country. Teams from the first 12 rank associations receive automatic places for finishing as champions or runners up in their respective leagues, outlined in the table below. An additional automatic place is given to the winner of the previous year's Champions League.

Country1st Place2nd Place3rd Place4th PlaceTotal
SpainYesYesYesPlay Off4
GermanyYesYesYesPlay Off4
EnglandYesYesYesPlay Off4
ItalyYesYesPlay Off-3
PortugalYesYesPlay Off-3
FranceYesYes3rd Q Round-3
RussiaYes3rd Q Round--2
UkraineYes3rd Q Round--2
BelgiumYes3rd Q Round--2
NetherlandsYes3rd Q Round--2
TurkeyYes3rd Q Round--2
SwitzerlandYes3rd Q Round--2
Czech Rep3rd Q Round3rd Q Round--2
Greece3rd Q Round3rd Q Round--2
Romania3rd Q Round3rd Q Round--2

Teams that do not directly qualify can enter into two distinct qualifying streams, termed 'champions' and 'non-champions'. The first and second qualifying rounds are made up from the league winners of countries that rank between 16th to 54th in the UEFA rankings.

In the third qualifying round the group splits into the champions and non-champions steam. In the champions stream the 17 winners from round two are met with the 3 league winners from countries ranked 13th to 15th. In the non-champions stream the nine second placed teams from countries ranked 7th to 15th and the third place team from the country ranked 6th meet.

The final qualifying round is known as the play off. The champions stream play off is simply made up from the 10 winners from round three. The non-champions play off is made up of the 5 winners from round three plus the two third placed teams from countries ranked 4th an 5th, the three fourth placed teams from countries ranked 1st to 3rd and the previous year's Europa League champions.

The 5 winners from both the champions and non-champions play off then progress to the Champions League group stage proper.

2018 / 2019 Season

From 2018/19 the qualification for the Champions League changes. The top four leagues (England, Spain, Italy and Germany) will all be given four direct group qualification places with no teams from these countries needing to go through the playoffs. This will be a huge cash cow for Europe's top leagues and will prevent so called big teams being dumped out before the tournament proper.

Of course this ultimately all boils down to money, TV audiences in Europe would be much higher to watch say AC Milan compared with Ludogorets Razgrad. Prize money will also increase in an effort from UEFA to prevent a break away European Super League.

This will only serve to create further inequality between Europe's top leagues and clubs and the bottom, but at the end of the day it seems to be what the people who pay the money to watch actually want.

Group Stages

The final 32 teams are drawn into eight groups bases on their 'seeding'. Teams are segregated into 4 pots based on each teams own UEFA coefficient ranking over the previous five years. Each group of 4 is then made up of one team drawn from each pot. There is however an additional protection that ensures teams from the same country cannot meet at this stage.

Beginning in September teams play 6 matches within their groups, three home and three away ties against each other team. The points system is the standard three for a win and one for a draw. After 6 matches the winner an runner up progresses to the last 16, the third place team is parachuted into the last 32 of the Europa League and the fourth place team is eliminated entirely from European competition.

If teams are tied on points the winner is determined first by goal difference and then second by results against each other.

Knock Out Stages and Final

In the last 16 the winners of groups are drawn against the runners up however the protection that prevent teams form the same country meeting remains in place. Teams play two legs, home and away, if the match is a draw after two legs the team with the most goals away from home will progress (the away goals rule). If teams are tied on away goal the match will go to extra time and if no winner is found here, then penalties. Away goals apply in extra time.

In the quarter finals and semi-finals the draw is completely random, teams play in the same format as the last 16.

The Champions League Final is held at a predefined venue selected before the start of the season. This is intended to be a neutral venue although several times in the past teams have has the fortune to play the final at their own stadium. See the table of previous winners for them all.

The final is played over 90 minutes, if the game is a draw the match will then go to penalties and eventually penalties if no winner is found after 120 minutes.

Previous Winners

The table below shows the previous winners, results and hosts of the Champions League since it was rebranded in 1992
Host CityYearWinnerStadium
Kiev2018-NSC Olimpiyskiy
Cardiff2017Real MadridPrincipality Stadium
Milan2016Real Madrid San Siro
Berlin2015Barcelona Olympiastadion
Lisbon2014Real Madrid Estadio da Luz
London2013B MunichWembley
Munich2012ChelseaAllianz Arena
London2011Barcelona Wembley
Madrid2010Inter MilanBernabéu
Rome2009Barcelona Stadio Olimpico
Moscow2008Man UnitedLuzhniki Stadium
Athens2007AC MilanOlympic Stadium
Saint-Denis2006Barcelona Stade De France
Istanbul2005LiverpoolAtatürk Olympic Stadium
Gel'kirchen2004PortoArena AufSchalke
Manchester2003AC MilanOld Trafford
Glasgow2002Real Madrid Hampden Park
Milan2001B MunichSan Siro
Saint-Denis2000Real Madrid Stade De France
Barcelona1999Man UnitedBorussia Park
Amsterdam1998Real Madrid Amsterdam Arena
Munich1997B DortmundOlympiastadion
Rome1996Juventus Stadio Olimpico
Athens1994AC MilanOlympic Stadium

All-Time Winners

Real Madrid122016-17, 2014, 2002, 2000, 1998, 1966, 1956-1960
AC Milan72007, 2003, 1994, 1990, 1989, 1969, 1963
B Munich52013, 2001, 1974-1976
Barcelona52015, 2011, 2009, 2006, 1992
Liverpool52005, 1984, 1981, 1977, 1978
Ajax41995, 1973, 1972, 1971
Inter Milan32010, 1965, 1964
Man United32008, 1999, 1968
Juventus21996, 1985
Benfica21962, 1961
Notts Forest21980, 1979
Porto22004, 1987
S Bucharest11986
B Dortmund11997
Aston Villa11982
PSV Eindhoven11988
Red Star Belgrade11991

British Club Performance

ClubCupsRunners UpPlayedWins
Man United32261145
Notts Forest252012
Aston Villa10159
Leeds United013921

Champions League Stats

Tournament Stats
First Year1955 - 1956 Season
Titles (Nation)Spain (17)
Titles (City)Madrid (12)
Highest Attendance127,621 (Hampden Park 1960)
Prize Money Winner€15,500,000 (2016)
Group Stage Base Fee€12,700,000 (2016)
Qualifying Teams78/79
Final Teams32
Club Stats
TitlesReal Madrid - 12
Runner UpJuventus - 7
AppearancesReal Madrid - 47
Games PlayedReal Madrid - 408
Games WonReal Madrid - 244
Goals ScoredReal Madrid - 904
Goals ConcededReal Madrid - 439
Biggest WinD Bucharest 11 - 0 Crusaders (1974)
Manager Titles3 - Bob Paisley (Liverpool)
Least Wins for TitleMan United - 5 (1999)
Consecutive TournamentsReal Madrid - 21
Consecutive TitlesReal Madrid - 5 (1956-60)
Consecutive Clean SheetsArsenal - 10 (2006)
Player Stats
TitlesFrancisco Gento - 6 (Real Madrid 1956-60 & 1966)
AppearancesIker Casillas - 164 (Real Madrid & Porto)
GoalsChristiano Ronalso - 105 (Real Madrid & Man Utd)
Goals Single SeasonChristiano Ronaldo - 17 (Real Madrid 2013-14)
Golden BootLionel Messi - 5 (Barcelona)
Fastest Goal10.2 Seconds (Roy Makaay 2007)

About the Champions League

The Beginnings

In a similar story to the European Championships the creation of a Europe wide club football competition was delayed until the mid 1950's primarily due to political tensions on the continent.

A few precursors existed prior to the second world war. In 1897 an international competition was formed for clubs in the Austro-Hungarian empire known as the Challenge Cup. This knock-out tournament was played between teams that mainly hailed from Prague, Vienna and Budapest and continued until 1911. In 1927 a tournament modelled on the Challenge Cup called the Mitropa Cup began and continued until after WWII. This was intended to assist central European nations in setting up their own professional leagues.

In 1930 Swiss club Servette made an attempt to create a European club championship. They invited 10 major European teams to compete with the trophy won by Hungarian club Ujpest. Unfortunately, in spite of its success, the competition was never repeated.

Following the war a small Latin Cup was created as a knock-out tournament between Portugal, Italy, France and Spain but never expanded

It was the French publication L'Equipe that played a massive role in creating the European Cup just as they had played a similarly important role in the creation of the European Championship. Journalists Jacques Ferran and Gabriel Hanot are documented as the first to put proposals forward after being inspired by a visit to the South American Championship of Champions.

The European Champion of Clubs' Cup was finally conceived in Paris and began in 1955.

1955 – 1960 European Champions Cup

In its first season 16 teams participated from around Europe. Scottish team Hibernian entered but the English FA's secretary Alan Hardaker denied the then English champions Chelsea from entering citing it was against the interest of English club football.

The first ever match took place between Sporting CP and Partizan and ended as a 3-3 draw, the first ever goal being scored by Sporting's Baptista Martins.

The first ever championship was won by Real Madrid who came from behind to win 4-3 in the final at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

for the following 1956-57 season English Champions Manchester United decided to defy the governing body and enter the European Champions Cup. It was however Real Madrid that successfully defended the trophy beating Fiorentina at their home stadium, the Bernabeu. Real Madrid continued to dominate the tournament until winning it on 5 consecutive occasions until 1960.

Munich Air Disaster

Manchester United entered the European Cup again after winning the English league in 1957. Having just advanced to the semi-final after beating Red Star Belgrade in Yugoslavia the Manchester United plane stopped in Munich for refuelling. On a day of bad weather the British Airways plane crashed on a third attempt at take-off killing 23 out of 44 people on the plane including the main body of Manchester United's Busby Babes along with journalists and other staff.

Still recognised as one of the worst ever footballing disasters it took over 10 years for Manchester United to reach a similar level again, eventually rebuilding to win the European Cup in 1968.

1961 - 1969

Real Madrid's dominance came to an end when they were knocked out of the 1961 competition by their bitter rivals Barcelona in the quarter finals. Benfica then began their own short dominance by beating Barcelona in the 1961 final 3-2 before beating Real Madrid themselves 5-3 in the 1962 final.

The baton was passed on again as AC Milan beat Benfica in the 1963 final before rivals Inter Milan won the trophy in 1964 and 1965 in an era of dominance for the city that holds the current record of 6 European Cup wins between the two Milanese teams.

Real Madrid returned win in 1966, beating FK Partisan at Heysel Stadium in Brussels. This was the last time real would win the trophy again for over three decades.

1967 and 1968 saw British teams come to the fore at last. Celtic won the European Cup in 1967 beating Inter Milan 2-1 in the final held in Lisbon. Matt Busby's Manchester United won the cup the following year ten years after the devastating Munich disaster beating Benfica 4-1 after extra time at Wembley.

It was another victory for AC Milan that saw the decade out with a win over the emerging Dutch champions Ajax.

1970 - 1984

It was the Dutch and Germans that dominated the early 1970's. Feyenoord beat Celtic in the 1970 final to prevent the Scottish club winning the cup for a second time. This was followed by three wins on the trot for the team branded 'total football' containing the Johan Cruyff as Ajax won in 1971, 1972 and 1973. It was Germany's turn next as Bayern Munich won three on the bounce in 1974, 1975 and 1976.

England's most successful club in Europe, Liverpool, were next to claim the crown as Bob Paisley, who holds the managerial record of 3 European Cup wins, drove his team to claim the crown Liverpool beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 in Rome to bring the title home in 1977.

This started a period of 8 years of dominance from English teams as Liverpool were again champions the following year in 1978 beating Club Bruge 1-0 at Wembley. Nottingham Forrest became the only club in history to win the European Cup on more occasions than their domestic league as the won the competition in 1979, beating Malmo 1-0 in Munich, and 1980, beating Hamburg at the Bernabeu. This was followed by Liverpool again who won the cup for a third time in 1981, defeating Real Madrid 1-0 at the Parc des Princes in Paris, before Aston Villa won the European Cup for the first and only time in 1982 by beating Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam.

After a blip that saw Hamburg claim the crown in 1983 against Juventus it was again Liverpool's turn. Joe Fagan, in his only year in charge, completed a cup treble for Liverpool by beating Roma 1-0 at their home stadium in Rome to win the cup for the 4th time.

Heysel Stadium Disaster 1985

In 1985 Liverpool were aiming to win the European Cup again for the 5th time as they took on Juventus in the final at Brussels Heysel Stadium. Liverpool were beaten 1-0 in a result overshadowed by the death of 39 and injury of 600 mainly Juventus fans. Disruption in the Liverpool end an hour prior to kick off led to the collapse of a concrete retaining wall onto the Italian fans. The match continued, something that would never happen in the modern day and Liverpool lost.

As a consequence of Heysel, combined with an already tense situation of hooliganism in English football, all English clubs were banned from Europe for 5 years, Liverpool for 8, later reduced to 6.

English clubs therefore did not renter the competition until 1990.

1985 – 1992

With the dominant English clubs banned from the competition the European Cup was won by 6 different clubs over the next seven years. Steaua Bucharest win in 1986 followed by Porto in 1987, PSV Eindhoven in 1988, AC Milan back to back in 1989 and 1990, Red Star Belgrade won in 1991 before Barcelona won the trophy for the first time in 1992. This was the last time the competition was titled the European Cup

Champions League 1993 – 1999

In one of the most successful rebranding's ever the European Cup was changed to the UEFA Champions League. The new competition came with enhanced marketing and TV rights that rapidly made the competition the richest club competition in the world. The first Champions League was won by Marseille, becoming the first, and only, French team to win the title, beating AC Milan in the final in Munich. Marseille were embroiled in controversy in the same year as it emerged their chairman, Bernard Tapie, has been involve in match fixing. This lead to Marseille being stripped of their Ligue 1 but not Champions League title. Marseille were then banned from defending their Champions League title in 1994.

The early years of the Champions League carried on where the European Cup left off seeing a variety of winners before the end of the century. AC Milan shocked a lauded Barcelona team in 1994 winning 4-0 in Athens in what is cited as one of the best ever European finals. Milan reached the final the following year only to be beaten by Ajax 1-0 in Austria in 1995. 1996 saw Juventus win the trophy for the second time beating holders Ajax 4-2 on penalties. Borussia Dortmund claimed their first Champions league title in 1997 against holders Juventus in Munich.

Real Madrid finally returned to the top winning the Champions League 1998 after a gap of 32 years beating Juventus 1-0. 1998 was also the first year in which second placed clubs from Europe's top leagues were allowed entry.

Manchester United won the European Cup for the second time in 1999 becoming the first club to win the tournament having not been champions of their own league, finishing runners up to Arsenal in 1997-98. United won 2-1 in a thrilling final that shocked dominant Bayern Munich, Bayern winning 1-0 were knocked as Man U scored two injury time goals stole the title from under them. Manchester United still hold the record for winning the trophy with the least number of wins in this season, five.

New Millennium 2000 – 2004

Real began a new era of dominance winning at the same time UEFA Champions League qualification was further relaxed now allowing 3rd and even 4th placed teams to enter from UEFAs top ranked domestic leagues. Real won in 2000 and 2002 with Bayern Munich winning in 2001.

An all Italian final in 2003 saw Milan prevail for their 6th title beating Juventus 3-2 on penalties after a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. Porto claimed their second title a year later in 2004 defeating Monaco 3-0 in France.

One Night In Istanbul

In 2005 Liverpool won their British record 5th European Cup and first trophy since it was rebranded the Champions League. The final in which Liverpool beat AC Milan 3-2 on penalties following a 3-3 draw is widely regarded as the most entertaining final yet. Liverpool 3-0 down at half time looked humiliated and in damage limitation mode only for a miraculous second half comeback in which Liverpool drew level in just 7 minutes of football. Liverpool won on penalties largely thanks to the antics of their keeper, Jerzy Dudek.

2006 - 2015

In recent years the European Cup has been shared between Europe's four biggest nations, Spain, England, Italy and Germany.

From Spain Barcelona emerged as the most dominant team in the competition since Real Madrid in the 1950's winning the 2006 final 2-1 against Arsenal, in 2009 they won 2-0 and in 2011 3-1 both Vs Manchester United. Barcelona capped 4 wins in 9 years with a 3-1 win over Juventus in 2015 in Berlin.

Despite Barcelona's dominance perhaps the most notable event was Real Madrid winning 'La Decima', their 10th European Cup in 2014 betting local rivals Atletico Madrid 4-1 Lisbon. They will surely remain the only club to achieve double digits for a long time to come.

Following Liverpool's success in 2005 it was Manchester United turn to win their 3rd Cup beating Chelsea in a dramatic 6-5 penalty shoot-out after a rather drab 1-1 draw. Chelsea won the cup for the first time on their second final appearance in 2011, this time winning on penalties 4-3 over Bayern Munich in their home stadium.

Bayern Munich prevented domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund winning their second title in 2013 beating them 2-1 at Wembley for the only title to go to Germany over the last ten years.

The remaining two cups both went to Milan. AC Milan won their 7th competition getting revenge on Liverpool in the process beating then 2-1 in Athens in 2007. Inter Milan became the last Italian team to win in 2009 beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at the Bernabeu.

2016 -

The 2016 final saw even more heart break for Atletico Madrid who were beaten by local rivals Real Madrid on penalties, almost a remake of the 2014 final. The following year in 2017 Real Madrid won a consecutive title beating Juventus comfortable 4-1, Ronaldo staring again.

With 12 titles now in the bag it would take decades potentially for any other club to catch Real Madrid, that is providing they don't now start a whole new Champions League dynasty. Can anyone wrestle the crown away from Spain this year? Watch this space.