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The UEFA Champions League is the pinnacle of club football. The tournament, formerly known as the European Cup, used to be only for the champions of each domestic league in Europe but it was gradually expanded to include more sides, to the point where there are now multiple teams from multiple countries competing each year.

It is, by some distance, the most important tournament in European football and qualification for the UEFA Champions League is a target for all top clubs each season and top players will regularly state the desire to play Champions League football as a reason for moving club.

The tournament itself has undergone many different changes since its introduction in 1992, when just eight teams made up two groups. The expanded nature of the competition means that there are now 32 teams that make up eight groups of four in the Champions League itself, with two from each group qualifying for the knock-out stages, which are two-legged matches all the way until the final, which is a one-off game.

Before the group stage is played, however, there are qualification rounds. These are for non-seeded teams from minor leagues or for teams that are non-champions in the major leagues. There are three qualification rounds in total, with different sides from different countries entering at various stages. The most high profile of these is the final stage where the fourth placed sides from England, Germany and Spain, as well as the third placed sides from France and Italy, join some of the champions from lesser domestic leagues in a play off to make the lucrative Champions League group stage.

Due to the nature of European football, and the key role that money plays in the sport at present, the UEFA Champions League has been dominated by sides from Spain, England, Germany and Italy. There has, in fact, only been four sides from outside those four countries that have contested Champions League finals, with Marseille and Ajax winning the trophy in the 90s and FC Porto beating AS Monaco in 2004. Since Porto's triumph every final has been between sides from Spain, England, Germany and Italy.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE OUTRIGHT ODDS

Champions League Odds & Offers

The Champions League is the biggest club competition in football and the bookmakers are always offering a whole host of betting markets and special promotions. Enhanced odds, cashback insurance... we have it all covered!

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Where To Bet on the UEFA Champions League

There are literally hundreds of bookmaker which accept bets on the UEFA Champions League and, like in every other type of sports betting, punters are advised to bet with the biggest and most trustworthy firms.

bet365 are the world's biggest bookmaker and they come highly recommended for UEFA Champions League betting. The firm offers odds on every market imaginable and regularly runs a fantastic promotion where all customers are entitled to a risk free £50 in-play bet on a Champions League match if they place a £50 pre-match bet on the fixture.

Other firms such as Ladbrokes, BetVictor, William Hill and Paddy Power offer equally competitive odds and run regular enhanced odds and money back promotions on individual Champions League matches. New customers registering accounts with these firms will also be entitled to a Free Bet after making a deposit. As with all sports betting, it pays to shop around and take advantage of these offers as well as compare prices with the top firms before placing your wager.

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE HISTORY

There is no bigger prize in European club football than the Champions League crown and 22 different clubs have been crowned European Champions since the competition was first launched - as the European Cup - back in 1955.

No club has been more successful than Spanish giants Real Madrid, who boast a host of European Cup/Champions League records. Los Blancos have won this competition a record-setting 12 times, with their latest success coming in 2016/17, and they have appeared in the final more times than any other club, having reach the finale on 15 occasions.

Star man Cristiano Ronaldo is the competition's all-time leading goalscorer and he also holds the honours for the most goals scored in a single Champions League campaign having netted a staggering 17 times during the 2013/14 campaign.

Juventus have suffered the most Champions League Final disappointments having lost in the European finale on seven occasions, but the Italian giants have at least won the competition on two occasions. Atletico Madrid have not been so unfortunate - they boast the unwanted record of the most Champions League Final appearances without a victory, having lost in three of them.

And when it comes to countries, no nation has enjoyed more success in this European competition than Spain. Real Madrid and Barcelona have combined for 17 European Cup/Champions League successes over the years - five more than Italy and England.

EUROPEAN CUP/CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINALS

SEASONWINNERSCORERUNNERS-UP
1955/56Real Madrid4-3Stade de Reims
1956/57Real Madrid2-0Fiorentina
1957/58Real Madrid3-2 (AET)AC Milan
1958/59Real Madrid2-0Stade de Reims
1959/60Real Madrid7-3Eintracht Frankfurt
1960/61Benfica3-2Barcelona
1961/62Benfica5-3Real Madrid
1962/63AC Milan2-1Benfica
1963/64Inter Milan3-1Real Madrid
1964/65Inter Milan1-0Benfica
1965/66Real Madrid2-1Partizan Belgrade
1966/67Celtic2-1Inter Milan
1967/68Manchester United4-1 (AET)Benfica
1968/69AC Milan4-1Ajax
1969/70Feyenoord2-1 (AET)Celtic
1970/71Ajax2-0Panathinaikos
1971/72Ajax2-0Inter Milan
1972/73Ajax1-0Juventus
1973/74Bayern Munich4-0 (AET)Atletico Madrid
1974/75Bayern Munich2-0Leeds United
1975/76Bayern Munich1-0St Etienne
197677Liverpool3-1Borussia Monchengladbach
1977/78Liverpool1-0Club Brugge
1978/79Nottingham Forest1-0Malmo
1979/80Nottingham Forest1-0Hamburg
1980/81Liverpool1-0Real Madrid
1981/82Aston Villa1-0Bayern Munich
1982/83Hamburg1-0Juventus
1983/84Liverpool1-1
4-2 pens
Roma
1984/85Juventus1-0Liverpool
1985/86Steaua Bucharest0-0
2-0 pens
Barcelona
1986/87Porto2-1Bayern Munich
1987/88PSV Eindhoven0-0
6-5 pens
Benfica
1988/89AC Milan4-0Steaua Bucharest
1989/90AC Milan1-0Benfica
1990/91Red Star Belgrade0-0
5-3 pens
Marseille
1991/92Barcelona1-0 (AET)Sampdoria
1992/93Marseille1-0AC Milan
1993/94AC Milan4-0Barcelona
1994/95Ajax1-0AC Milan
1995/96Juventus1-1
4-2 pens
Ajax
1996/97Borussia Dortmund3-1Juventus
1997/98Real Madrid1-0Juventus
1998/99Manchester United2-1Bayern Munich
1999/00Real Madrid3-0Valencia
2000/01Bayern Munich1-1
5-4 pens
Valencia
2001/02Real Madrid2-1Bayer Leverkusen
2002/03AC Milan0-0
3-2 pens
Juventus
2003/04Porto3-0Monaco
2004/05Liverpool3-3
3-2 pens
AC Milan
2005/06Barcelona2-1Arsenal
2006/07AC Milan2-1Liverpool
2007/08Manchester United1-1
6-5 pens
Chelsea
2008/09Barcelona2-0Manchester United
2009/10Inter Milan2-0Bayern Munich
2010/11Barcelona3-1Manchester United
2011/12Chelsea1-1
4-3 pens
Bayern Munich
2012/13Bayern Munich2-1Borussia Dortmund
2013/14Real Madrid4-1 (AET)Atletico Madrid
2014/15Barcelona3-1Juventus
2015/16Real Madrid1-1
5-3 pens
Atletico Madrid
2016/17Real Madrid4-1Juventus

EUROPEAN CUP/CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RECORDS

MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TITLES: Real Madrid - 12

MOST CONSECUTIVE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TITLES: 5 - Real Madrid (1955/56. 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59, 1959/60)

COUNTRY WITH MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WINNERS: Spain - 17 

MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL DEFEATS: Juventus - 7

MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL APPEARANCES WITHOUT WINNING: Atletico Madrid - 3

MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE APPEARANCES: Iker Casillas - 164

MOST CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GOALS: Cristiano Ronaldo - 105 (prior to 2017/18 campaign)

MOST GOALS IN A CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEASON: Cristiano Ronaldo - 17 (2013/14)

MOST SUCCESSFUL MANAGER: 3 - Bob Paisley (1977, 1978, 1981), Carlo Ancelotti (2003, 2007, 2014)

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