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The UEFA Champions League was formed as the European Cup in 1955. In 1992 the format of the competition was expanded and re-branded as the UEFA Champions League. It is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world, contested by top-division European clubs.
Since the 1990s the competition has included a group stage, allowing the runner-up clubs from some nations' top level leagues to compete. Whilst most nations' only enter the winner of their national league, Europe's strongest national leagues can now potentially enter up to 5 teams in the competition.
32 teams take part in the competition proper. 22 of these teams are qualified in advance and the remaining 10 places are taken by teams that qualify through the knock-out and play-off rounds that start in mid July.
The final 32 teams are drawn into 8 groups of four teams who play each team in their group twice. The group winners and runners-up of the group phase then proceed to the final knock-out rounds of the tournament. The final takes place in May or early June.
Since the tournament began in 1955 22 teams have won the European Cup or Champions League. 12 of these have won on multiple occasions. Real Madrid are the most successful team, having won 11 times and been runners-up in 3 other years. The winners of the cup have come from 10 nations. The most successful nation in the tournament has been Spain with 16 wins, followed by Italy and England with 12 wins each. England is also the country that has provided the highest number of winning clubs and the highest number of finalists, 5 and 7 respectively.
The final has involved 2 teams from the same country on 6 occasions. Since 1992 the record for making it to consecutive finals is held jointly by 2 teams, Milan and Juventus, with 3 finals each.
Each season over £1 billion in bets are placed on the Champions League. It is one of the most popular betting events in the World, beaten only by the Super Bowl.
Betting on the outright winner of the tournament is popular, but there are a variety of other bets that can be placed. It is possible to place bets on which teams reach the final, which teams will place as winner and runner-up and the nationality of the winner. Bets can also be placed on the final taking place between 2 teams from the same country.
In the group stages bets can be placed on the winner of each group as well as on individual matches.
It is also popular to place bets on the tournaments highest goal scorer.
|14/15 and 21/22 February||First Leg|
|7/8 and 14/15 March||Second Leg|
|11/12 April||Quarter-finals – First Leg|
|18/19 April||Quarter-finals – Second Leg|
|2/3 May||Semi-finals – First Leg|
|9/10 May||Semi-finals – Second Leg|