Football

May 2014

UEFA Champions League Final

24.05.14
Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon

The most glamorous cup competition in the world, the Champions League pits the best clubs in Europe against one another. It's here that the top players in the world compete against each other and, with the stakes so high, the football on offer is mouthwatering.

Its format has altered over the years, from a knockout competition to one in which teams first compete in a league before moving into a more traditional cup contest, eventually decided in a final staged at a different major ground each year. The World Cup aside, this is the trophy most prized by footballers.

A competition of such stature has inevitably been the scene of some extraordinary matches. The famous Barcelona final of 1999, in which Manchester United scored twice in the last two minutes of injury time to beat Bayern Munich 2-1, is one that will live long in the memory.

Dominance of the competition has swayed across Europe. Though Spanish side Real Madrid have won the trophy the most often, in the '70s and early '80s it was the Dutch, the Germans and the English who prevailed before Italian club Milan stamped their authority on the tournament in the late '80s and early '90s, including a memorable 1994 victory.

This century, though, has proved more open, with winners from Spain, England, Germany, Italy and, surprisingly, Portugal in 2004, once again injecting the Champions League with the whiff of glitz, unpredictability and excitement that few other football competitions can claim.

The reigning champions are Chelsea who won their first Champions League title in 2012, defeating Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties.

The 2013 final is scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 25 May.

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