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Champions League Final: The rivalries of the decider

The UEFA Champions League is Europe’s premier club football tournament. The tournament is an important stage where players become legends, and rivalries get renewed.

Having a storied history that goes back to the first edition of the European Cup in 1955/56, the tournament has since evolved into one of the most-watched sporting spectacles in the world.

Over the last 68 years, we have seen some unforgettable finals, from repeated clashes in the decider, to same-nation showpieces when the format was expanded to include multiple clubs from the same domestic leagues.

Champions League final rematches

Since the formation of the European Cup in the mid-fifties, only 23 teams have been crowned European champions. A further 19 teams have reached finals without lifting the trophy.

Real Madrid are the record 14-time winners of the competition and unsurprisingly feature heavily in the repeat Champions League finals.

There have been nine different fixtures played in a Champions League final more than once, with the most common opposing sides being Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The Reds won the first final between the teams in 1981, before Real Madrid exacted revenge on their English opponents in 2018 and 2022.

Real Madrid have also faced Stade de Reims (1956 and 1959), Juventus (1998 and 2017), and Atletico Madrid (2014 and 2016) in multiple Champions League finals.

European Cup finals played more than once

Real Madrid v Stade de Reims: 1955/56 and 1958/59
AC Milan v Benfica: 1962/63 and 1989/90
AC Milan v Ajax: 1968/69 and 1994/95
Ajax v Juventus: 1972/73 and 1995/96
Liverpool v AC Milan: 2004/05 and 2006/07
Barcelona v Manchester United: 2008/09 and 2010/11
Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid: 2013/14 and 2015/16
Real Madrid v Juventus: 1997/98 and 2016/17
Real Madrid v Liverpool: 1980/81, 2017/18 and 2021/22

Same Nation Champions League finals

The UEFA Champions League expanded its format in the late nineties to include multiple teams from the same country, a change which brought the birth of same-nation finals.

The first final between compatriots saw Spanish sides Real Madrid and Valencia meet in Paris. Despite the former’s poor form domestically, Real Madrid ran out comfortable winners with a 3-0 win at the Stade de France. Fernando Morientes opened the scoring before second-half goals from Steve McManaman and Raul sealed the win.

Italian sides met for the first time in a final in 2003. AC Milan and Juventus played out a goalless draw at Old Trafford, with the Rossoneri emerging triumphant via a shootout. Andriy Shevchenko converted the winning spot-kick, after David Trezeguet, Paolo Montero and Marcelo Zalayeta all missed for their Serie A rivals.

There have been three all-English Champions League finals, which have incredibly featured five different clubs. Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties in the first of those in 2008, before Liverpool won their sixth European Cup with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in 2019. Two years later, Kai Havertz’s goal earned Chelsea a 1-0 win over Manchester City in Porto.

The first-ever all-German final came during the 2012/13 season, as Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in a Champions League final Der Klassiker. Arjen Robben scored a late winner, as Bayern completed a treble under Jupp Heynckes.

La Liga and the Premier League hold the record for most same-nation finals (3 each), though Real Madrid’s final clashes with Atletico Madrid in 2014 and 2016 are the only examples of two teams from the same city meeting in a European decider.

Same nation Champions League finals

  • Real Madrid vs Valencia: 1999/2000
  • Manchester United vs Chelsea: 2007/08
  • Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund: 2012/13
  • Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: 2013/14 and 2015/16
  • Liverpool vs Tottenham: 2018/19
  • Chelsea vs Manchester City: 2020/21

Conclusion

In conclusion, the UEFA Champions League final is a celebration of exceptional moments in European football, where tradition and rivalry take place on the grandest stage of all. Fans from all around the world gather to witness the drama and excitement unfolding. To buy authentic tickets for the Champions League, Seatsnet is highly recommended to go for.

The footballing greats have always managed to attract millions of eyes towards the spectacle and help the Champions League become the greatest club competition on earth.

Read – Champions League last 16: Four things we learned

See more – Five players who impressed in the Champions League this week

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