The biggest match in Europe - the Champions League Final is the most anticipated game of the season, and this year it features two English clubs...
Champions League Final
The biggest match in Europe - the Champions League Final is the most anticipated game of the season, and this year it features two English clubs with Liverpool and Spurs making it all the way to the final at Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
History of the Champions League and Best Champions
The Champions League came to be in its current guise in 1992, after a rebranding of the European Cup. The competition has expanded dramatically since its beginnings, when originally only the league winners and holders of the competition took part.
Real Madrid won the first five competitions, and have been the dominant force in the history of the Champions League with a record 13 titles, including the last three in a row. Liverpool have been England’s most successful team in the competition, winning five times - most recently in 2005.
There have been several truly memorable finals, none more so than in 1999 and 2005.
United trailed against Bayern Munich for the majority of the 1999 final, before a final few minutes that defied the imagination. Two goals in injury time saw United snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, with the winning goal scored by current Manchester United manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won an unprecedented treble in the process.
Liverpool’s win was, if anything, even more unlikely considering they went into half time of the 2005 final with a three goal deficit against an incredible AC Milan side featuring the likes of Pirlo, Kaka and Maldini. A remarkable six minute spell of scoring saw a trio of goals that left the tie level. After extra time, Liverpool eventually triumphed in a penalty shootout.
The Road to the Champions League Finals
This season has been one of the most memorable in Champions League history, and that’s before we’ve even reached the final!
Spurs secured their place with a dramatic comeback against Ajax in Amsterdam, but could well have seen their European season over at the first hurdle, with their fate looking bleak after just a single point gained from their first three games in the group stages. Consecutive wins over PSV, Inter and Barcelona saw Spurs scrape into the knockout rounds, and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Round of 16 was easy enough for Spurs, beating Dortmund 4-0 on aggregate, but a quarterfinal tie against Man City posed more problems. Spurs won the first leg 1-0 at their new stadium, before an unbelievable display of attacking football from both sides in the second leg. Five goals in the opening 21 minutes of the second leg saw the tie level on aggregate at 3-3, with the tie ending 4-4 after 90 minutes, Spurs going through on away goals.
Spurs’ passage was equally difficult in the semis, losing their home leg 1-0 to an exciting young Ajax team, before going 2-0 down in the first half of the second leg, leaving Spurs needing three goals to win the tie. An inspired second half performance from Lucas Moura saw Spurs do just that, with the dramatic winner coming in the last minute of injury time.
If Spurs’ road to the final is anything to go by, then the final should certainly be exciting to watch as a neutral!
Like Spurs, Liverpool only just managed to escape from the Group Stages of the competition.
A victory over Napoli in their final game saw Klopp’s team through to the knockout stages on the basis of goals scored.
After that, their progress was somewhat simpler, with a 4-1 aggregate victory over German champions, Bayern Munich, in the last 16, before a comfortable 6-1 aggregate victory over Porto in the quarterfinals.
The drama for Liverpool began in the semi-finals, losing their first leg to Barcelona at Camp Nou in what seemed an irreversible scoreline of 3-0. Inspired by the Anfield crowd, however, Liverpool incredibly were able to beat the Spanish champions by a 4-0 margin in the second leg, seeing Liverpool through to their 9th Champions League final, and their second in a row.
Champions League Final Betting Odds and Tips
Liverpool will understandably go into the final as the favourites after a Premier League season where they gained 97 points, losing just once in the process. They also beat Spurs in both of their league meetings this season, although both by a narrow 2-1 scoreline.
Liverpool go into the game as even money favourites to win the tie in 90 minutes, with Spurs an outside shot at 3/1. Another 2-1 win for Liverpool is currently a best priced 8/1.
Spurs might be thinking that this is their year, though, considering how many times they have come back from the brink to reach this stage, and based on the way both sides have progressed to the final, an exciting Champions League Final with plenty of goals should be on the cards. Both teams to score is therefore an interesting option at 5/6, while over 2.5 goals can be backed at a decent value price of even money.
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