History of the Champions League
The Champions League started life as the European Cup in 1955 and is considered as the most prestigious club level trophy in the world. In 1992 it was restructured and renamed to the current Champions League.
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Since 1955, the title has been won by 21 different clubs. 12 teams have won the competition more than one time and the current record holders are Real Madrid with 9 titles up to 2009.
Champions League qualification
The structure of the Champions League has changed many times, but currently there two or three different rounds depending on where the team finishes in their domestic league. The rounds consist of
Depending on the strength of a countries domestic league, they will have 1 to 4 positions available for Champions League entry. Usually the last available place in not automatic qualification and the team has to enter a qualifying round. The stage in which a team enters the qualifying round is again determined how strong their domestic league is, and there can be up to 4 rounds.
Champions League tournament structure
After the extra qualifying round the teams that qualify are added to the automatically qualifying teams and drawn into 8 group stages consisting of 32 teams. In the group stage each team plays each other home and away and the top 2 in each group progress to the last 16 knockout stage. The team that ends up 3rd in their group is dropped into the Europa League.
In the last 16, the runner up of one group will be paired with the winner of another group. Each match in the knockout stage is also two-legged, being played at home and away, with exception of the final which is a single match played at a neutral venue. Before the final the last 16 progress to the quarter-finals (last 8), and semi-finals (last 4), before the remaining two teams meet for the final at the end of May.
Champions League betting
If you would like to place some champions league bets, you can find a full list of free bets here. Betting on the Champions League is very popular and it attracts bettors from all over the world, not just from Europe. Over the last few years English teams have been dominant throughout the tournament and a lot of people have bet on these teams to do well. Bets on the Champions League group stages can be popular as there can often be some upsets in the games that take place early on in the tournament. However once the tournament reaches the knockout stages there is usually an increase in bets as the tournament progresses and the matches get more important.
Popular Champions League bets
- Overall winner
- Golden boot
- To reach the final
- To qualify from their group