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2024 Champions League Final  – A History of Europe’s Biggest Club Game

The 2024 Champions League Final will take place on Saturday, June 1st, 2024, at Wembley Stadium in London, England. For the first time, Borussia Dortmund will face Real Madrid in the final of this famous tournament.

The game starts at 8 pm and will be shown live on TNT Sports in the UK.

The Champions League, a tournament steeped in history and tradition, dates back to the 1950s. It has evolved over the years, changing its name and format, but its essence remains the same—a battle of the best clubs in Europe.

As this tournament enters its final year under the current format, it seems appropriate to look back at the final and the competition over the years.

If you want to bet on the action between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the 2024 Champions League Final, check out the markets available at bet365 Sport.

Following the previous link, you can also find a detailed preview of the 2024 Champions League Final on our sister site.

So, let’s take a look back at the tournament before we begin a look at the final itself.

Champions League Factfile

  • The Champions League began in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, commonly shortened to the European Cup. It remained this name until the competition was rebranded in 1992.
  • Until the 1997/98 season, the tournament was only open to the current domestic League Champions of UEFA-registered European countries and the previous season’s Champions League winners.
  • Only 16 teams competed in the very first European Cup tournament, some of whom were invited to do so by UEFA.
  • In its early years, some teams viewed the competition as a distraction from its domestic program and struggled to attract entrants, notably from England.
  • The first British team to compete in the European Cup were Scottish side Hibernians, who competed in the first tournament and reached the semi-finals, going out to French side Reims.
  • The very first European Cup match was contested in Lisbon between Sporting Lisbon and Partizan Belgrade in September 1955. The game finished in a 3-3 draw.
  • Real Madrid dominated the competition for its first five years. The first team to knock Real Madrid out of the European Cup were Barcelona, who defeated Real 4-3 on aggregate in the First Round of the 1960/61 season.
  • English teams won the competition every year from 1976/77 to 1981/82, a total of six successive years, a record for the competition.
  • The tournament changed from being the European Cup to the Champions League in the 1991/92 season.
  • The tournament then opened up to teams other than the Champions of their domestic leagues and the Champions League winner of the previous season, the 1997/98 season.
  • The current Group Stage format of the tournament is set to change for the 2024/25 season.

Champions League – Record Breakers

  • Most Seasons In Competition – Real Madrid – 54 seasons
  • Most Appearances – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 183
  • Most Goals – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd, Real Madrid, Juventus) – 140
  • British Player With Most Champions League Wins – Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – 5
  • Most Champions League Wins Team – Real Madrid – 14
  • Most Champions League Wins Player – Paco Gento (Real Madrid) – 6
  • Most Commonly Played Champions League Match – Real Madrid v Bayern Munich, which has been played 28 times.
  • Most Red Cards – Juventus – 28
  • Most Common Champions League Final – Liverpool v Real Madrid – 3 occasions

Champions League – Countries with Most Champions League Winners

  1. Spain – 19 winners (Real Madrid 14, Barcelona 5)
  2. England – 15 winners (Liverpool 6, Man Utd 3, Chelsea, Nottingham Forest 2, Aston Villa, Manchester City 1)
  3. Italy – 12 winners (Milan 7, Inter 3, Juventus 2)
  4. Germany – 8 winners (Bayern Munich 6, SV Hamburg 1, Borussia Dortmund 1)
  5. Netherlands – 6 winners (Ajax 4, Feyenoord 1, PSV Eindhoven 1)
  6. Portugal – 4 winners (Benfica 2, FC Porto 2)
  7. France – 1 winner (Marseille 1)
  8. Yugoslavia – 1 winner (Red Star Belgrade 1)
  9. Scotland – 1 winner (Celtic 1)
  10. Romania – 1 winner (Steaua Bucharest 1)

Countries who have had a team reach the final but not win the final are Greece (Panathinaikos), Belgium (Club Brugge) and Sweden (Malmo).

Champions League Final – Facts and Stats

  • The first European Cup Final was contested at the Parc des Princes in Paris in June 1956. Real Madrid won, defeating Reims 4-3 in front of 38,239 spectators.
  • Real Madrid dominated the first years of the tournament winning five times in succession from the 1955/56 season to the 1959/60 season.
  • Celtic were the first British winners of the European Cup Final in 1966/67 when beating Inter Milan 2-1 in Lisbon.
  • A year later, Manchester United became the first English team to win the trophy, beating Benfica 4-1 after extra time at Wembley.
  • In the competition’s formative years, winning the European Cup back-to-back occurred relatively frequently. Real Madrid, Benfica, Inter Milan, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Milan all won the competition in successive seasons before it became the Champions League.
  • Only three teams, Real Madrid, Ajax, and Bayern Munich, have won the trophy three years in a row or more.
  • However, since the tournament became the Champions League in 1992/93, only one team has won the trophy in successive seasons, Real Madrid, who won thrice from 2015/16 to 2017/18.
  • Only two teams from Eastern Europe have won the competition in its history, both when it was the Champions League. Steaua Bucharest did so in 1985/86, and then Red Star Belgrade achieved the same feat in 1990/91.
  • The first European Cup Final to be decided by penalties was the 1985/86 final between Barcelona and Steaua Bucharest. After a 0-0 draw, the Romanian Champions triumphed 2-0 on penalties.
  • The highest-scoring European Cup Final was the 1959/60 final at Hampden Park in Glasgow, when Real Madrid beat Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3. Ferenc Puskas scored four goals in the game, while Alfredo Di Stefano scored a hat-trick for Real Madrid.
  • Di Stefano also holds the record for scoring in five consecutive finals for Real Madrid in the first five years of the tournament. A record that is unlikely to be broken.
  • If Real Madrid wins the 2024 final, Toni Kroos, Dani Carvajal, Luke Modric, and Nacho Gonzalez will join Paco Gento as the only players to win the trophy six times.
  • Only four teams have reached the final on ten or more occasions. Real Madrid (18), Bayern Munich & Milan (11) and Liverpool (10).
  • Juventus have the worst record of all finalists winning just two of their nine finals contested.
  • The most appearances in a final without winning the trophy is three by Atletico Madrid.
  • Wembley has hosted the final on a record seven occasions.
  • 11 clubs have won the Champions League unbeaten in a campaign. Four have done so twice including Liverpool, AC Milan, Ajax and Manchester United. The other teams to achieve the feat once are Inter, Nottingham Forest, Red Star Belgrade, Marseille, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
  • Bayern Munich is the only team to win every game on its way to the Champions League Final, winning 11 matches in the 2019/20 season.

With many changes for the 2024/25 season, the Champions League continues evolving. However, its place at the top of the European football wish list for the top teams will remain undiminished.

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