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Information about 2014 UEFA Champions League
The 59th year (including the champions league ancestors) of the most prominent club competition in Europe is slowly but surely coming to its conclusion and it is crystal clear that it will be, yet again, an amazing spectacle no true football fan can afford to miss. After last year Germany’s domination (Champions league winner was Bayern Munich and the runner-up Borusia Dortmund), the competition is still widely open and each of the clubs remaining in the competition has a great chance to become a part of the European football history. Who will eventually hold the UEFA Champions League winner title is still a question but an exceptional football experience is guaranteed already.
Second time in its history (the first hosting was in 1967), the Champions league final game will be staged in Lisbon at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, also known as the stadium of light (Estadio da Luz). The stadium opened in October 2003 and was constructed in the same location as its ancestor demolished earlier that year, which also carried the name Estadio da Luz. The construction cost reached 120 million EUR and it can seat up to 65.647 football fans. The stadium will host the final match on the 24th of May 2014.
Source of picture: ©Getty Images
2014 UEFA Champions League Finals format
The Champions League presently consists of three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, a group stage and four knockout rounds – round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.
Since 2011, 32 teams participate in the group stage. 22 of those teams advance to the group stage automatically, based on their placement in their national championship. The number of teams from the national championship which can enter the group stage is based upon the UEFA coefficients of the member association. Currently, 13 national champions from associations with UEFA ranking 1-13, 6 runners-up from associations with ranking 1-6 and 3 third placed teams from associations with ranking 1-3 advance directly to the group stage. The remaining 10 places are granted to 5 winners of the play-off round for national champions and 5 winners of the play-off round for non-champions.
Teams participating in the group stage are drawn into eight groups of four. The draw takes into consideration seeding of the participants, moreover, teams from the same country may not be drawn into one group together. Within the groups, each team plays home and away against the other 3 teams in the group in a round-robin format. Top two teams from each group subsequently advance into the knockout stage. The third-placed team continues in the UEFA Europa League.
In the round of 16, quarter-finals and semi-finals clubs always play two games against each other, one home and one away. Before and after the round of 16 as well as after the quarter-finals a draw takes place to determine which teams will face each other. The winner of the Champions League is decided by a single match.
2014 UEFA Champions League Finals participants
The draw on the 16th of December decided the following couples for the round of 16:
- Manchester City vs FC Barcelona
- Olympiakos vs Manchester United
- AC Milan vs Atletico Madrid
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen vs Paris Saint-Germain
- Galatasaray vs Chelsea
- Schalke 04 vs Real Madrid
- Zenit St. Petersburg vs Borussia Dortmund
- Arsenal vs Bayern Munich
The first legs of the round of 16 will take place on the 18th and 19th of February and on the 25th and 26th of February, the second legs on the 11th and 12th of March and 18th and 19th of March. The quarter-finals will be played on the 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th of April, teams playing against each other in the quarter-finals will be drawn on the 21st of March. The semi-finals will take place on the 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th of April. A draw determining the semi-final competitors will be held on the 11th of April.
UEFA Champions League trophy
The winner of the UEFA Champions League is awarded the European Champion Clubs’ Cup. Its present version is made of silver, weighs 11 kg and is 74 cm tall. It was introduced in 1967, after the original was handed over to Real Madrid in recognition of their six titles they have won until 1966. A replica of the current trophy is given to a team that either wins the competition three times in a row or five times overall. Until today, only five teams have achieved this – Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich, AC Milan and FC Liverpool. Since the season 2012/2013, the 2 finalists are also presented with gold and silver medals.
Nevertheless, the Champions League is not only about trophies and medals, it is also a financially very attractive competition. UEFA awards every play-off round participant with 2,1 mil EUR and every group stage participant with 8,6 mil EUR. A win in the group stage is worth 1 mil EUR a draw 0,5 mil EUR. Round of 16 teams receive further 3,5 mi EUR each, quarter-finalists additional 3,9 mil EUR and semi-finalists 4,9 mil EUR on top of that. The Champions League winner receives 10,5 mil EUR and the runner-up 6,5 mil EUR. Moreover, teams also participate on the revenues from television rights, based on the value of the television market in each country, which is another significant source of funding for Champions League participants.
Brief history of the UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League replaced in 1992 its ancestor - the European Champion Clubs’ Cup (usually called only European Cup), which had run since 1955, when it was conceived in Paris. Sixteen teams participated in its initial season and the first winner of the European Cup was Real Madrid who managed to win the competition also in the four subsequent seasons. No other football team has been able to win the Champions League five times in a row until present. The most important change of the competition format came in the season 1992/1993 when the group stage was added to the traditional knockout system and increased the popularity of the event significantly.
Real Madrid is not only the holder of the record for the highest number of consecutive wins of the League, but also the most successful club in the history of the competition for it has won the title nine times already. AC Milan has won the league seven times, Bayern Munich and Liverpool five times, Barcelona and Ajax four times, Manchester United and Inter Milan three times, four teams have managed to win two times and ten other teams once. The most successful country in the competition history is Spain with 13 victories, followed by England and Italy with 12 titles.