European club competitions · European football · Football history · Records & statistics

Changing Dominance In The Champions League

The Wikipedia article entitled “European Cup and UEFA Champions League history” addresses periods of dominance by countries or clubs.  What it doesn’t address is how the advent in 1997 of having more than one club qualify from certain countries has influenced which countries dominate the competition.  The dominant footballing nations of European club football, Italy, Spain, England and Germany, have benefitted.

So far, we have had 3 finals involving clubs from the same country:

  • 2000:  Real Madrid v Valencia (both from Spain)
  • 2003:  AC Milan v Juventus (both from Italy)
  • 2008:  Manchester United v Chelsea (both from England)

We haven’t had an all-German final to date, but that could change this year.  Both semi-finals pit a German side against a Spanish side:

  • Bayern Munich v Barcelona
  • Borussia Dortmund v Real Madrid

Bayern Munich, who this season have dominated in Germany, and have looked dominant in Europe as, have an excellent chance of reaching their 10th final as they strive for the treble.  Borussia Dortmund, current German champions, and second only to Bayern in the Bundesliga, are capable of defeating Real Madrid.

Of course, we could end up with another all-Spanish final, but the way these thing work, I think an all-German final is more likely.

If Bayern Munich reach the final, they will be glad not to be facing an English club.  In their 9 previous finals, they have met English sides four times (1 win and 3 defeats), Spanish sides twice (two wins), a French side once (a win), an Italian club once(a defeat)  and a Portuguese club once (a win):

  • 1974, defeated Atletico Madrid (Spain) on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
  • 1975, defeated Leeds United (England) 2-0.
  • 1976, defeated St. Etienne (France) 1-0.
  • 1982, lost to Aston Villa (England) 0-1.
  • 1987, lost to Porto (Portugal) 1-2.
  • 1999, lost to Manchester United (England) 1-2.
  • 2001, defeated Valencia (Spain) on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
  • 2010, lost to Inter Milan (Italy) 0-2.
  • 2012, lost to Chelsea (England) on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Apart from the “corrupt” final of 1975, Bayern have always lost to English clubs in the final.  In finals between clubs from the same country, the club with more previous wins has prevailed.  Bayern have 4 previous wins, Borussia Dortmund 1.

There have been many more finals involving clubs from the same country in the Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup/Europa League:

Year Finalists Score Country
1962 Valencia v Barcelona 6-2 (H), 1-1 (A), agg 7-3 All-Spanish
1964 Real Zaragoza v Valencia 2-1 All-Spanish
1966 Barcelona v Real Zaragoza 0-1 (H), 4-2 (A), agg 4-3 All-Spanish
1972 Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 (A), 1-1 (H), agg 3-2 All-English
1980 Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-3 (A), 1-0 (H), agg 3-3 (won on away goals) All-German
1990 Juventus v Fiorentina 3-1 (H), 0-0 (A), agg 3-1 All-Italian
1991 Internazionale v AS Roma 2-0 (H), 0-1 (A), agg 2-1 All-Italian
1995 Parma v Juventus 1-0 (H), 1-1 (A), agg 2-1 All-Italian
1998 Internazionale v Lazio 3-0 All-Italian
2007 Sevilla v Español 2-2 (3-1 pen) All-Spanish
2011 F C Porto v Sporting Braga 1-0 All-Portuguese
2012 Atletico Madrid v Athletic Bilbao 3-0 All-Spanish

5 all-Spanish finals, 4 all-Italian finals, 1 all-English final, 1 all-German final and 1 all-Portuguese final.  Interestingly, there is a clustering of 3 all-Spanish finals between 1962 and 1966, and 4 all-Italian finals between 1990 and 1998.

More broadly, finals involving two clubs from the same country in the final of the Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup/Europa League largely occur around the time clubs from that country are successful in the European Cup/Champions League, as reflected in the Wikipedia article referred to at the start of this article.

As an aside, 1990 and 1991, and 2011 and 2012, are the only times clubs from the same country meeting in the final has occurred in successive seasons (all in the Fairs Cup/UEFA Cup/Europa League).  If it happens again this season in the Champions League, it will be the first time it has happened three seasons in a row, in either competition.


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