The losing finalists in the Champions League since the competition was rebranded in the 1992/93 season have performed as well on average in their domestic league in the year they qualified for the final as the winners. Thirteen of the 24 winners in that spell also won the league, the same number as runners-up that came into the deciding tie as champions.
Calling the competition the Champions League is an anomaly because up to four teams qualify from each league. Next season Manchester United will be playing in the Champions League after finishing sixth in the Premier League. Granted they had to win the Europa League to get in and there is more value in that than Liverpool’s route. They finished fourth in the table, 17 points behind the champions Chelsea.
In the European Cup era it truly was a concept that brought together champions. There is often a debate, often involving Liverpool supporters, about how hard it was to win the European Cup before the 1992/93 season. Only the winners of 32 leagues qualified but that included many minor leagues. To win the European Cup a team had to play 9 games at most. Juventus and Real Madrid have played 12 matches to qualify for this year’s Champions League Final in Cardiff.
The fact that 25 of the 48 finalists in the current format had won their leagues suggests calling the competition the Champions League is not quite so inappropriate. The lowest league finishing position of the winners is Chelsea who beat Bayern Munich in 2012 after finishing sixth in the Premier League. They were one of three winners who had finished outside the top four that season at home. Only one losing finalists were not top four teams in the season they qualified for the deciding tie.
Real Madrid have not won La Liga and the Champions League in the same season since 1957-58. Barcelona have won the Champions League four times since 2006 and on each occasion won the title in Spain in the same year. Real Madrid have won the Champions League five times after finishing between 2nd and 5th in Spain. Juventus have lost in the final of the Champions League four times having won Serie A in each of those seasons. Both this year’s finalists won their domestic leagues.
The 24 finals of the Champions League have produced 59 goals in 90 minutes which is an average of slightly less than 2.5 goals per match. The first halves have produced 31 goals so the scoring on average has slowed down after the break. Both teams have scored in 13 of those matches, on five occasions in the first half. There has only been one goalless draw and in 11 of 24 fixtures the goals tally has been more than two. There have been over three goals in just four finals in the current era.
A relatively high proportion of Champions League finals have gone to extra time. Indeed nine of these matches have not produced a definite winner after 90 minutes. Six finals have ended at 1-1 after normal time which is 25% of the sample and by far the most common score. On-nil and 2-1 are the next most frequent outcomes, each in three finals. The Champions League winners have won the final without conceding seven times. The losing finalists have scored nil or one goal in 23 of the finals, the exception being AC Milan who scored three goals but lost on penalties to Liverpool in 2005.
Thirteen Champions League winners were leading at half time, seven fixtures were level at the break and four teams winning after 45 minutes did not pick up the trophy. On 17 occasions the team that scored the first goal won the trophy, six losing finalists scored first and there was one final that did not produce a goal. The team winning at half time and scored the first goal have won 50% of the finals in the 24 year history of the Champions League. No losing team that led at half time have not scored the first goal. The first goal and score at half time are important but not crucial.
The betting suggests a tight contest so the correct score suggestion is 1-1 with one team winning 1-0 at half time. So, the best bets are Real Madrid/Draw and Juventus/Draw in the double result market.