in ,

The eight teams to make it to back-to-back Champions League finals

The Champions League is the biggest competition in club football, and reaching the final is undoubtedly the pinnacle for even the biggest of sides.

Since its rebranding from the old European Cup in 1992, eight teams have reached successive finals in the competitions illustrious history.

Here are the sides to have achieved the feat.

AC Milan – 1993, 1994, 1995

The European Cup was rebranded as the Champions League ahead of the 1992/93 season, with Italian giants AC Milan competing in the first three finals.

In 1993, Milan came up against French side Marseille in Munich looking to win Europe’s biggest prize for the fifth time in their history and for the first time since consecutively winning the trophy in 1989 and 1990.

A team featuring the likes of Franco Baresi and Marco Van Basten were somewhat surprised as Marseille became the first, and so far only, French side to win the Champions League as Basile Boli’s goal sealed a 1-0 success.

A year later, Milan had the opportunity for redemption, however, they were huge underdogs against a Barcelona side who had won four consecutive Spanish titles. Johan Cruyff’s ‘Dream Team’ headed into the tie as favourites, though were shocked by Milan in arguably the greatest ever final performance.

Despite missing key players such as Van Basten, Baresi, Gianluigi Lentini and Alessandro Costacurta, Milan thrashed their opponents 4-0 in Athens as a Daniele Massaro brace and goals from Dejan Savicevic and Marcel Desailly secured a famous win.

In 1995 and as holders, Milan reached the final again, this time against a young Ajax side in Vienna. Milan were looking to match Real Madrid’s record of six European titles, however, they would suffer a second final defeat in three years as Patrick Kluivert became the youngest goalscorer in Champions League final history.

Aged just 18 years and 327 days, the Dutch forward came on as a substitute and sealed a 1-0 win with just five minutes remaining.

Ajax – 1995, 1996

Having won three consecutive European Cups between 1971-1973, a young Ajax side featuring the likes of Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Marc Overmars had the chance to write their name into the club’s history when they met Italian giants AC Milan in 1995.

Milan, who were in their third successive final, came into the game as holders, having thrashed Barcelona 4-0 in the previous years final.

Despite their lack of experience, Ajax were crowned champions of Europe for the fourth time in their history after teenager Patrick Kluivert scored a late winner to seal a 1-0 win.

Despite losing Clarence Seedorf to Sampdoria, Ajax would return to the final the following year where they would again meet Italian opposition in the shape of Juventus.

Despite dominating domestically, Juventus’ sole European success had come in 1985 but they lifted the trophy for a second time courtesy of a penalty shoot-out.

Following a 1-1 draw after extra time, Davids and Sonny Silooy missed their kicks as Ajax’s second final ended in defeat.

https://youtu.be/U6yMQ1Jb2OU

Juventus – 1996, 1997, 1998

One of only three teams to reach the final in three consecutive years, Juventus first appearance began with a penalty shoot-out success over holders Ajax in Rome.

Fabrizio Ravanelli had opened the scoring for Juventus before Jari Litmanen equalised before half-time. With neither side able to find a winner, the game went to penalties. Edgar Davids and Sonny Silooy missed for Ajax and Juventus’ four takers all found the net, sealing a second European Cup triumph for the Turin side.

A year later they reached the final again where they would meet Borussia Dortmund in Munich. The two had previously met in the 1993 UEFA Cup final, with Juventus winning 6-1 over two legs. Four years later it was a different scenario, with Dortmund running out convincing 3-1 winners. Karl-Heinz Riedle scored twice in the first-half, before Alessandro Del Piero pulled one back with a backheeled effort.

Substitute Lars Ricken would seal Dortmund’s success with a memorable chip, the 20-year-old scoring with his first touch just 16 seconds after coming on.

After the pain of the defeat to Dortmund, Juventus once again reached the final in 1998 where they would face a Real Madrid side looking for their first European Cup in 32 years. Madrid were the record title holders, the Spanish giants having won the first five editions of a tournament they had won six times.

Juventus, who have lost more finals than any other side, would suffer heartbreak for the second successive year as Predrag Mijatovic’s goal secured a 1-0 win for Real in Amsterdam.

https://youtu.be/e9A9Cl4T7r0

Valencia – 2000, 2001

In the early 2000’s, Valencia began to emerge as a contender in Spanish football and soon made their mark in Europe. Competing in their first European Cup campaign since 1971/72, they progressed all the way to the final in 2000.

Hosted in Paris, they met fellow Spaniard’s Real Madrid in the first final to be played by two teams from the same country. Real had won the tournament two years prior, and their experience showed running out 3-0 winners.

Fernando Morientes headed the opener before a spectacular volley from Steve McManaman doubled the lead in the second half. Raul sealed the win with a third with fifteen minutes remaining.

The following season Valencia reached a second final, knocking out Arsenal and Leeds United on route to a final meeting with Bayern Munich.

Bayern had won three consecutive trophies between 1973-75 but had lost their last three appearances in the final to Aston Villa, Porto and Manchester United respectively, the latter being two years earlier in 1999.

The final started well for Valencia who opened the scoring after just three minutes following a Gaizka Mendieta penalty but a Bayern penalty of their own saw the game finish 1-1 after extra time.

In the shoot-out, a topsy-turvy affair went to sudden death with Valencia’s Mauricio Pellegrino missing the decisive kick to condemn the Spanish side to back-to-back final defeats.

https://youtu.be/QJ3270yotEU

Manchester United – 2008, 2009

40 years after becoming the first English side to win the tournament, Manchester United reached the Champion League final looking to win the trophy for the third time.

They would meet Premier League rivals Chelsea in an all-English affair in Moscow, looking to complete a double after earlier league success.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side would go in front following Cristiano Ronaldo’s towering header, before Frank Lampard’s deft finish took the game to extra-time.

Neither side could find a breakthrough and when Ronaldo saw his penalty saved by Petr Cech in the ensuing shoot-out, Chelsea captain John Terry had the chance to win the trophy for his side.

On a rain-soaked night in the Russian capital, Terry slipped as his kick hit the post, taking the shoot-out to sudden death. After Anderson and Ryan Giggs had converted, Nicolas Anelka saw his effort saved by Edwin van der Sar and United were champions of Europe.

The following year, United again reached the showpiece. In the final in Rome they met a Barcelona side coached by a young Pep Guardiola, who were looking to become the first Spanish side in history to win a treble of La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League.

Barcelona dominated the match, Samuel Eto’o opening the scoring after 10 minutes. Lionel Messi’s header secured a 2-0 win, and Barcelona’s second Champions League in four seasons.

https://youtu.be/jh_kBDG3SGY

Bayern Munich – 2012, 2013

Four-times winners Bayern Munich reached the final in 2012, with the opportunity to win the trophy on home soil with the final being hosted at their Allianz Arena stadium.

Bayern were the first team to have home advantage in a final since 1984 and were looking to avenge their final defeat to Inter Milan two years prior. Opponents Chelsea were making their second appearance in the final, having lost to Manchester United in 2008.

A cagey affair looked to be heading to extra-time until Thomas Muller put the Germans in front with just seven minutes remaining. Munich hearts inside the ground were to be broken however as Didier Drogba’s powerful 88th-minute header sent the tie into extra-time.

Bayern had the chance to win the contest in the extra-period, winger Arjen Robben missing a penalty against his former side as the tie went to a shoot-out.

After Chelsea’s Juan Mata and Bayern’s Ivica Olic and Bastian Schweinsteiger all missed, Drogba had the chance to win it for Chelsea and duly slotted home as the Blues became the first London side to win the Champions League.

One year later, Bayern had the chance for redemption as they faced German rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley. Dortmund had emerged as a serious threat to Bayern’s dominance of German football, winning back-to-back titles before they met for Europe’s biggest prize.

Mario Mandzukic opened the scoring for Bayern before Ilkay Gundogan’s penalty levelled the scores. With the game seemingly set for extra-time, Robben banished the memories of the previous year with a late winner as the Bavarians came out on top of the first ever all-German final.

https://youtu.be/hr24ZYxQVSo

Real Madrid – 2016, 2017, 2018

Having become the first side to win 10 titles in 2014, Real Madrid again reached the final two years later.

Like 2014, their opponents were city rivals Atletico Madrid who they had beaten 4-1 after extra time in their first final meeting.

Played at the San Siro in Milan, Real got off to the perfect start when captain Sergio Ramos, the hero in 2014, scored his second final goal after 15 minutes. Atletico had the opportunity to equalise early in the second half after being awarded a penalty, however, Antoine Griezmann’s effort hit the bar. With just 11 minutes remaining Diego Simeone’s side did find an equaliser, Yannick Carrasco levelling from close range to force extra-time.

Level after the extra period, the tie was to be decided on penalties with Juanfran missing the crucial kick for Atletico as Real won their 11th European crown.

In 2017, Madrid returned for their third final in four seasons where they met Juventus in a repeat of the 1998 final. Like in 1998, Madrid again emerged victorious after a 4-1 victory, becoming the first side in the Champions League era to defend their crown.

Two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and one each from Casemeiro and Marco Asensio sealed the win, with Mario Mandzukic’s wonder goal little consolation to Juventus who lost a fifth final in a row.

A year later, Real became just the third side in the Champions League era to reach a third successive final. Their opponents were Liverpool, making their first appearance in the final for over a decade. In a memorable encounter, Reds goalkeeper Loris Karius’ howler handed Real the lead, before Sadio Mane equalised for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Substitute Gareth Bale won a third consecutive Champions League for Real, his stunning overhead kick arguably the greatest goal in final history. A second Bale goal, with help from another Karius blunder, sealed a 3-1 win for the Spaniards in Kiev.

https://youtu.be/WHZkNsRR76A

Liverpool – 2018, 2019

Liverpool reached the 2018 final in Kiev after memorable wins over the likes of Manchester City and Roma, where they would meet holders and 12-times winners Real Madrid in the final.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius had a nightmare evening, first rolling the ball against Madrid forward Karim Benezema, who could not believe his luck as the ball bounced off him into the goal for the opener.

Liverpool’s hopes took a further blow as top-scorer Mohamed Salah was forced off through injury, however, Sadio Mane brought Jurgen Klopp’s side level as they sought a sixth European Cup.

With the game tightly poised, a wonder goal from substitute Gareth Bale put Madrid in front. The Welsh superstar meeting Marcelo’s cross with a stunning overhead kick which flew into the top corner.

Bale would later score his second from distance, with help from some further questionable goalkeeping from Karius as the Spanish side sealed a 3-1 victory.

A year later Liverpool have reached a second final, a run that included coming back from a 3-0 first-leg deficit to beat Barcelona 4-3 on aggregate.

Jurgen Klopp’s side will be looking for redemption when they face Tottenham in Madrid on June 1.

https://youtu.be/Mqohrb-r1aM