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Champions League Final Betting

Champions League Trophy - © GEPA pictures

The Champions League Final is one of the most-watched sporting events in the World. It is the modern evolution of the European Cup Final and it is the pinnacle of continental club competition in Europe. The tournament got its rebranding and reformatting for the first time for the start of the 1992/93 season replacing the European Cup which had been running since 1955. The old competition used to be only for the champions of countries, but the Champions League opened up the doors to runners-up from national leagues and brought in the group format expanding the competition greatly.

The Champions League Final itself is held every May and is played after the major European leagues have all finished for the season. European Cup/Champions League Final winners are part of an exclusive club. It is seen as being at the very top of club football and it is so coveted that even domestic campaigns can be put on the backburner in order to win this huge feature match.

There are a couple of extra bonuses for winning the UEFA Champions League Final. The winner of it goes on to represent as the European champions in the FIFA Club World Cup and it also puts them into the UEFA Super Cup where they face the winner of the UEFA Europa League.

The Trophy

The trophy is one of the most iconic and most recognisable in the world game. The winners of each of edition though don’t actually get to enjoy the original, that is kept safe and sound by UEFA. The modern winners just get a replica.

History of the old European Cup

The first ever European Cup final was won by Real Madrid who beat Stade de Reims at the end of the 1955-56 season at the Parc des Princes, Paris. Who could ever have guessed from that moment on, the Spaniards would go on to dominate the competition so much. Real Madrid went on to win the first five editions of the European Cup and the first ever final to be settled in extra time was in 1958 with Real Madrid taking a 3-2 win over AC Milan in Brussels.

Real Madrid’s reign in Europe was ended by Barcelona in the first round of the 1960-61 European Cup. Barcelona took them out 4-3 on aggregate and the Catalans marched their way through to the Final, but they lost there against Benfica. England’s first winners were Manchester United who beat Benfica in 1968 and in the preceding year, it was Scottish side Celtic who was crowned champions.

England’s purple patch of success was between 1977 and 1982 (inclusive) when Liverpool won three times, Nottingham Forest twice and Aston Villa got on in the act as well. It was such a great period for English football with the country producing six straight winners. The last ever English winner of the old European cup was Liverpool with their win over Roma in the 1984 European Final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome. That was also the first final to be settled by a penalty shootout.

Real Madrid won the old tournament seven times with AC Milan getting their hands on it four times, the same amount as Liverpool managed. Bayern Munich won it three times as did Dutch side Ajax. The last winners of the old tournament in 1992 before it changed to the Champions League was Barcelona. They were up against Italian side Sampdoria for the honours at Wembley and the Spaniards battled through with a 1-0 success after extra time.

Champions League Betting – Predictions and Match Preview

The Champions League Era

The inaugural winners of the first ever Champions League Final in 1993 was Marseille. Being the first tournament under the Champions League brand, the event was opened to more teams to take part and for the first time, there was a group stage format. That was after two straight knockout rounds of action and the final remaining eight teams were split into two groups, the winner of each group going through to the final. Marseille took the win over AC Milan 1-0.

The first three Champions League finals were all won to nil (Marseille over Milan, Milan vs Barcelona and Ajax over Milan). Real Madrid won their first Champions League title in 1998 against Juventus and the following year, Manchester United became the first English side to land it. The Red Devils took down Bayern Munich in that unforgettable final with Manchester United producing two injury-time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to steal the title from under the noses of the Germans at the Nou Camp.

Really the Champions League started to produce powerhouses on the continent with the top clubs from Spain, Italy, Germany and England stamping their authority over the tournament, despite the big changes of getting more and more teams into the competition from around Europe. It is unusual to see a side who are not from one of the top leagues to be participating in the final of the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo‘s first ever Champions League goals came in the 2006/07 edition while he was still at Manchester United, getting a brace in a 7-1 victory over Roma in the quarter finals. Lionel Messi got his first Champions League goal in the 2005/06 season when netted in the group stage against Werder Bremen in a 2-0 away win for Barcelona.

2017 UEFA Champions League Final Review

Real Madrid created history in the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final. After having won the title the previous season, Los Merengues only finished runner-up in the group stage to Borussia Dortmund so didn’t have the perfect title defence. But that didn’t stop them. They marched their way commandingly past Napoli in the round of sixteen before being thrown into a tough tie against Bayern Munich in the quarter finals.

That was an absorbing contest and not without controversy. The tie went to extra time at the Bernabeu, but before the end of regulation, Bayern had Arturo Vidal controversially sent off. Then breaking the deadlock in extra time, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a goal despite clearly being offside by a large margin. Bayern Munich crumbled after that and Real Madrid went on to meet their Rivals Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals. There was no problem there for real who won 4-2 on aggregate.

Juventus would stand in their way in the final and given that they had done a superb job in beating Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate in the quarter finals, they were going to turn up in Cardiff for the Final as a real threat to Real Madrid. What Real Madrid had on the line was not only another European title, but they had the chance to become the first to successfully defend a Champions League title. Because of how well Juventus were performing, the Final was expected to be close.

It was, until the final half hour of the game when Real Madrid took full control with three goals and they indeed became the first to win back to back titles in the Champions League, just as they had been the first to win back to back titles in the old European Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo finished the campaign as top scorer with twelve goals, his fifth consecutive season of top scoring in the competition. He is the all-time top scorer in the history of the competition.

2018 UEFA Champions League Final Preview

It is Liverpool and Real Madrid, two giants of European football who will be meeting in Kiev on May 26th, 2018 for the Final of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League. Real Madrid will be on the hunt for their 13th European Cup/Champions League title while Liverpool goes in search of their fifth. Real Madrid could extend history by making it three Champions League titles in a row if they are successful in the summer of 2018. That would set a precedent that would be hard to beat.

But the argument against it happening is that they have ridden their luck throughout the tournament. Real Madrid only finished second in their group to Spurs and conceded heavily in each of the knockout stages. But the route that the reigning champions had to take to get back to the final was just about as tough as it could get. They managed to take out upstarts PSG in the round of sixteen, then had an enormous battle against Juventus which was won in injury time at home in the second leg by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty.

Then they should have been dead and buried by an injury-hit Bayern Munich in the semi-finals. But the German champions wasted a lot of chances and Real Madrid stuck in there and survived. The asset that they have is the big game experience, the big game management having been to three of the last four Champions League finals and winning each time. Will that see them across the line to be crowned European Champions for yet another season?

Or will Liverpool’s powerful attack-based game, led by trio Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane stop the reign of the Spaniards? Liverpool topped the scoring charts on the route to the final thanks to their high risk-high reward style of play. When they are on song there are not many defences, as was seen repeatedly throughout the 2017/18 campaign, that can contain them. Will the Premier League side stick to their guns, stick to what they know best and produce another famous European night?

Champions League Final 2018 Infographic

You can find betting odds, match previews and predictions about upcoming Champions League fixtures in our news category Champions League Betting: