Since its inception in 1992, teams have strived to be crowned the best team in Europe. Barcelona were the first to win the illustrious UEFA Champions League after overcoming Italian giants Sampdoria at Wembley and it is the La Liga giants that will be looking to become the first team to defend the trophy this year in Germany.
It is the Catalan outfit that remain the stand-out favourites in the competition and for good reason as well, despite the 10 point gap between themselves and first placed Real Madrid in Spain, and you’ll be able to pick the winner and receive a hefty pay-out with some Champions League betting when the final rolls around in May.
As mentioned, no team has ever defended their crown of Europe’s best since the tournament emerged with the task proving too hard a task to overcome in the past. And that is the beauty of the Champions League; any team can win it. Whether it is new-boys Napoli, who comfortably swept aside Chelsea last week, the most successful team in the competition in the form of Real Madrid or the slim hope that Arsenal can overcome their four goal deficit handed to them in the form of defending Serie A champions AC Milan, the tournament is there for the taking by any of the remaining 16 teams.
There are still shocks to be had in the Champions League in the latter stages, where any mistake will be capitalised upon by the opposition. Remarkably, of the 16 teams left in the competition, only four are leading their national league (Real Madrid, Zenit St. Petersburg, AC Milan and FC Basel) showcasing the competitiveness of Europe’s top teams. Calling who would win the tournament in its twentieth year is too close to call, despite a number of the continents big hitters falling at the first hurdle.
And it is what makes the football on offer of the highest quality. The unpredictability of the results, the excellent player’s on view to the watching world and the passion of each individual fan see’s the game take centre stage whether it is the first qualifying round or the final. Will it be Barcelona’s year to create history once again or will one of Europe’s heavyweights deliver a knock-out blow to deliver the trophy come May? Either way, it is sure to be an enthralling finale to a tournament that grips the footballing world tightly and will never let you go.