From Champions League to League of Elites

Since its inception, the Champions League has undoubtedly been the most prestigious football tournament around the world. In the early days, only champion teams of European countries could participate in the tournament, hence they had a significant chance to reach quarter-final and further. However, the Champions League has been gradually transforming into the league of elites with expanding scale by the participation of teams that are placed in the top ranks of the top leagues. In particular, the rule, which has been put into practice since the 2018-2019 season and guarantees the place of top-4 teams of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga, has closed the door for other teams. The above-mention words of Andrea Agnelli, the current member of the Agnelli dynasty that ruled Juventus for nearly 100 years and the president of the European Clubs Association, pointed out this process would continue with higher momentum.

Given a tremendous increase in revenue mainly stemming from broadcasting rights and sponsors over the past two decades, does the ChampionsLeague need more protection of elite teams? In fact, this question is obviously answered by the below facts.

As one of the most striking facts, the British, Italian, German and Spanish teams won 24 times of the total 27 seasons. The French in 1993, the Netherlands in 1995 and the Portuguese in 2004 once reached the happy ending in Europe’s most prestigious tournament. In other words, there is only one season in which the English, Italian, German and Spanish teams have not won the cup in the last 24 seasons! On the other hand, Croatian, Swedish, Norwegian and Polish teams, which reached quarter-final between 1995 and 1997, could not repeat this achievement over the past 22 years. Except for seven victory countries, there are only three countries that represented quarter-final since 2010: Turkey, Ukraine and Cyprus…

In-depth analysis for games in quarter-finals and further rounds gives a more concrete and detailed answer of the above query. It is almost impossible to see a team with an outstanding positive statistic, except for the four major leagues in Europe!

National Breakdown by Years

  • England is the only country represented by 4 teams in the quarter-finals. This was also repeated for the third time in the 2018-2019 season.
  • In 4 out of 7 seasons since 2012-2013, teams from the same country faced in the finals. This occurred only three times over the previous 20 seasons.
  • In the 15 seasons after 2003-2004, only the Spanish, German, British and Italian teams had reached the final.
  • In the three seasons between 2006-2008, the English Premier League had the most brilliant period and was represented in the semi-finals with 3 teams each season as well as took part in the final with at least 1 team. However, only Manchester United won a trophy in the 2007-2008 season.
    Spain; In the 7 seasons between 2010-2011 and
  • Spain was represented by 2 teams in the semi-finals of the 7 seasons between 2010-2011 and 2016-2017. They won 5 times during 7 seasons.
  • The quarter-final of the 2011-2012 season was the quarter-final the most represented countries since 2000. (Two teams from Spain, one team from Germany, France, Cyprus, Portugal, England and Italy).
  • Within the same period, three seasons hosted teams from different countries.
    • 2003-2004: France, Portugal, England and Spain
    • 2009-2010: Germany, France, Spain and Italy
    • 2017-2018: Germany, England, Spain and Italy

Matchups from Same Country

  • Tottenham is the sixth team facing multiple national rivals within a season. The only team, which was faced two national opponents and won the trophy, was Milan. (Other teams: Valencia, Liverpool, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid (2 times))
  • Given facing four times between 2004-2005 and 2008-2009 Chelsea and Liverpool took their national competition into the international stage.
  • Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were faced in each of the seasons between 2013-2014 and 2016-2017. Real Madrid won all games: 2 times in the final, once in the quarter-final and in the semi-final.
  • The Italian teams faced three times. Milan, which defeated Inter once in the quarter-final and once in the semi-final, took the trophy to their museum by defeating Juventus in the final of 2003.

Matchups from Different Countries

  • As standing at the top of the list, the Spaniards were faced with the British (24), the Germans (21) and the Italians (18), respectively. 
  • There is an interesting fact between the French and Italian teams that matched 8 times: The Italians won the total of 7 matches in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, while the French won the final in the season of commencement.

Team Matchups

  • As the most frequent matchup, Real Madrid-Bayern Munich has never realized in the final.
  • No team that matched Real Madrid with a minimum of 2 times got the edge over the Spanish team. Juventus, faced with Real 6 times, could get the edge 3 times. In addition, Barcelona eliminated Real in one matchup while defeated in the other.
  • Galatasaray was the only Turkish team to match the same team in the quarter-final. The yellow-red was faced with Real Madrid in the 2000-2001 and 2012-2013 seasons and defeated by the Spaniard.

Team Breakdown

  • If Tottenham could win the cup, they would be the 14th team. Just like Tottenham, Bayer Leverkusen reached 2 times quarter-final, one-time semi-final and final. Bayer was also defeated in the final!
  • Liverpool caught up Manchester United and started to share the title of the most successful English team with their opponent.
  • As the best of the Champions League, Real Madrid also stands at the forefront as the team with the most semi-final (13). 
  • Despite 6 quarter-finals, Porto reached only one semi-final when they won the trophy in the season of 2003-2004.
  • Juventus, who reached the finals 6 times out of 7 semi-finals, won only one final by defeating Ajax in 1996 final.

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