The idea of a pan-European competition between domestic league champions first became a reality in 1955, in the form of a knockout tournament that was called the European Champion Clubs’ Cup. This tournament was widely accepted in Europe, eventually evolving into today’s UE Champions, featuring a group stage and a knockout stage as the most famous talents of the football world paraded their skills.
As the UE Champions tournament marks 30 years of the current brand, 32 clubs across Europe are braced to charge forth, with the final in May 2022 taking place in the Russian city of St Petersburg. All eyes around the world will be drawn by the high-quality football on display, but at the end of nine months of intense competition, only one team can be crowned champions of Europe.
The UE Champions final will be held in a Russian city for the second time in 15 years. The 2007/2008 edition had its final in Moscow, with Manchester Utd and Chelsea meeting in an all-English affair.
366 goals were scored in the 125 UE Champions matches last season, from the group stage to the final in Porto. The average of 2.93 goals per match was identical to the average in the 2018/2019 season.
The current edition will be the first since 1967/1968 where the away goals rule no longer applies in the knockout stage. If the aggregate score over two matches is tied, teams will have to play 30 minutes of extra time without exception.
Spain, England, Germany and Italy have provided 16 of the 32 teams in the group stage in each of the three previous editions. They also dominated the knockout stage in those years, with at least 12 of the 16 spots taken by these four nations each time.