Our handy guide to the Champions League will explain all you need to know about the biggest football competition in Europe.
2021/22 Champions League
European club competition gets no bigger than this. The tournament where all the biggest clubs and biggest names look to be the dominant force in continental football.
Although the Champions League has only been in existence for 30 years, the legacy of this competition goes back to the 1955/56 season and with Real Madrid winning the first of five successive European Cups, they would soon begin to write themselves into football immortality.
While because of the quality of teams and players in this competition, there is a huge amount of interest when it comes to Champions League betting
and whether you support Manchester United or Bayern Munich, there are plenty of opportunities to beat the bookmakers.
When it comes to Finnish stars who have lifted the Champions League, there are two that have achieved that honour. The first was forward Jari Litmanen
after his success with Ajax in 1995 and the second was Sami Hyypiä
, when the defender won the competition with Liverpool in 2005.
Champions League schedule
Although the Champions League has several qualification rounds, the competition starts proper each September. Here 32 teams enter the group stage and from each of the eight four-team groups, two will advance to the Round of 16 knockout phase.
From here, it is a format of home and away Champions League games in the Round of 16, Quarterfinals and Semi-finals. Before the two best clubs in Europe each season, play a one-legged final in a bid to be crowned winners of the Champions League.
When it comes to the top teams in the Champions League, the premise is rather simple. You quite simply must be a top team to enter the competition. While the bulk of the entrants are usually found within some of Europe’s biggest leagues.
With four clubs being invited from each of the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A
and La Liga, it is no surprise that these four nations dominate the competition and rarely does a winner come outside of these leagues.
Then again, it is not impossible for a winner to come from elsewhere and the last team to break the stranglehold of those four leagues was Porto, as the Portuguese outfit won the 2004 edition of the Champions League.
While when it comes to the subject of who won the Champions League 2021 final, it was Chelsea who eventually lifted the trophy and as holders of the crown, they now will now look to make it back-to-back outright victories.
Top players and managers
Just like the top teams that play in the Champions League, it is also home to the top players and with the likes of Kylian Mbappe
, Cristiano Ronaldo
, Lionel Messi
and more all appearing in the competition, it is packed with talent throughout.
Whether it be the group stage or the final, the quality of football
on show is nothing short of phenomenal and because of the managers who oversee these stars, the quality off the pitch is just as impressive as the quality on it.
With the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp regularly advancing in the Champions League, it means that Manchester City and Liverpool
are making constant progress and these two men would love nothing more than to lead their respective teams to outright success.
Who will win …
When it comes to the current Champions League odds, Manchester City are the current favourites to win the 2021/22 edition of the competition and their Premier League counterparts Liverpool are just behind them.
Of course, a lot will depend on the draw for the last eight and if these two sides are paired with each other, then the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid will also have to be given some serious consideration as well.