There isn’t a more prestigious club competition in world soccer than the Champions League. It is the competition where the best teams in Europe face off in Champions League fixtures throughout the campaign in order to call themselves the best team on the continent. It has made for some of the most iconic moments in the history of the sport and ensures that it is regularly a competition that bettors and fans follow throughout the year.
The Champions League was first established in 1955 before it was rebranded as the competition that we know today in 1992. Before being known by its current name, it was called the European Cup. In its previous format, only the teams that were crowned champions of their respective domestic leagues were able to be involved. The very first European Cup campaign ran in the 1955-56 season, with 16 sides involved. Joao Baptista Martins of Sporting Lisbon scored the very first goal in the European Cup, while Real Madrid was crowned the inaugural champions after beating Stade de Reims in the final in Paris.
In 1992, the rebirth of the Champions League occurred, as a round-robin group stage was added to allow multiple clubs from countries to compete in the competition. Nowadays, the competition is much bigger, with the most illustrious leagues around Europe boasting up to four qualifying spots for the Champions League.
Making wagers on Champions League teams throughout the season is exceptionally popular. There are few competitions that attract bettors to wager on soccer more than the Champions League, which means that there is a wide selection of soccer betting markets available. You can learn more about some of the most popular below.
The first stage of the Champions League is competitive, as 32 teams are drawn into their respective groups. Bets can be made on the team that will top their respective Champions League table with the leading sportsbooks. This market is much closer than it was previously, as the changes in format mean that it is often likely that two heavyweight European giants will be placed in the same group. That could make it a potentially lucrative betting option.
At the beginning of every season, the Champions League outright market opens. Here, bets can be placed on the team that bettors believe will be crowned champions of Europe at the end of the campaign. Bets are settled after the final has taken place, or if your selection exits before the final is staged. Odds change throughout the season depending on the performances of the sides in the betting, meaning that finding the best time to make a value play is essential. But, if you select the outright winner, you will get paid out once the full-time whistle has been blown in the final.
With some of the best attacking players in world soccer involved in the Champions League, it isn’t very surprising that both teams' score market is one of the most popular. Bettors will need to put their stake on whether they believe both teams will score or both teams won’t score in this market. In order to claim returns from the selection if you have selected ‘yes’, then both teams must score at least once in the game for the bet to be a winner.
Like other European competitions, UEFA coefficients determine the number of teams that are able to qualify for the Champions League from each nation. But, for smaller nations, this means that their club sides will enter the competition in the qualifying round. Before the group stage gets underway, teams could enter the preliminary round, or the first, second or third qualifying round. The final qualifying round involves 12 teams competing in the play-off round.
The group stages signal the start of the Champions League proper, with 32 teams drawn into eight groups. Teams that finish in the top two places qualify for the knockout round, with the team finishing top having a home advantage in the crucial second leg of the first knockout round. Each team then faces off against their rivals on two occasions, with the winning team after two legs progressing. The final is typically the final game of the European season and is played in a pre-determined venue.
Real Madrid is the most successful team in Champions League history, as they have won the European Cup on 14 occasions. That is double the number of the second-most successful club, AC Milan. Only five teams have won five Champions League titles, with the other sides being Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Barcelona. Spanish sides are the most successful in the Champions League, as the nation has produced 19 winners.
There are few more synonymous Champions League players than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar has made more appearances in the European competition and has scored more goals than any other player in Champions League history. Francisco Gento is the player to have won the Champions League the most amount of times, as he won the top honour on six occasions between 1956 and 1966 with Real Madrid.
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