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The Top 10 UEFA Champions League Finals

Updated on October 05, 2016
UEFA Champions League Logo
UEFA Champions League Logo

The UEFA Champions League is regarded as the greatest club competition in the world for a reason. The season long campaign sees the most decorated clubs belonging to various leagues from all across Europe fight it out for the title of the champions of Europe. Since it was re-named back in 1992, the competition has seen its fair share of great finals and has provided us with several moments to savour and reminisce upon. Here is a look at some of the most memorable finals to have been played so far in the biggest club competition in the world.

10) Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich (2012/13)

Bayern Munich - 2012/13 UEFA Champions League Winners
Bayern Munich - 2012/13 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final was the first all German final to have been played in the history of the entire competition. This match was of monumental importance to Bayern Munich as they had the chance to do the treble for the first time in the club's history having already been crowned the 2012/13 Bundesliga and DFB Pokal champions. Even though he did not feature in the final due to an injury, this was also to be Mario Gotze's final match as a Dortmund player before his move to rivals Bayern Munich in the summer.

Result

Bayern Munich defeated their rivals Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in front of a crowd of around 86,000 people packed in the new Wembley stadium in London, England. It was a tightly contested match which was decided by Arjen Robben who scored the winner in the 89th minute to break the hearts of the Dortmund faithful. It was an even match with Bayern Munich having the majority of the possession but they were not able to break down a stubborn Dortmund defense up until the 89th minute when a moment of individual brilliance from Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben put the Bavarian side in front and won them the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League. The match was an amazing display of 2 contrasting styles of play where both sides passed the ball around with pin-point precision and displayed unimaginable cohesiveness in their attacking play. The match was proof that German football was on the rise again and had a bright future ahead but more importantly, the match will be remembered as it handed Bayern Munich their 1st ever treble in their entire history as a club and it silenced the critics who labelled them as "chokers".

Match Statistics

 
Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich
Goals Scored
1
2
Total Shots
12
14
Total Shots on Target
8
9
Possession
42%
58%
Corners
6
8
Fouls Committed
11
7
Yellow Cards
1
2
Red Cards
0
0

9) Barcelona vs Arsenal (2005/06)

Barcelona - 2005/06 UEFA Champions League Winners
Barcelona - 2005/06 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2005/06 UEFA Champions League final saw the then Spanish champions Barcelona face off against Arsenal in yet another close encounter. This was Arsenal's first and is their only UEFA Champions League final appearance till date. Both teams came into the final having been unbeaten during their respective Champions League campaigns. The match pinned those 2 teams against each other who had gone about following different philosophies with Arsenal possessing a mean defense which had not conceded a single goal in 919 minutes of play in the competition whereas Barcelona had scored 114 goals in all competitions in the build up to the final. This was also to be Henrik Larsson's last appearance for Barcelona before his move back to Helsingborg of Sweden, the club where he started his career. Another player playing in his last match was Robert Pirès who had announced he would be joining Villarreal of Spain in the summer.


Result

Barcelona defeated Arsenal 2-1 in front of almost 80,000 people in a packed Stade de France stadium in Paris, France. It was a very tight affair which was decided by one moment controversy which saw Arsenal being reduced to 10 men after only 18 minutes of play as goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was sent off for a foul. Even though Arsenal fought through most of the match, they could not hold out a resilient Barcelona attack and conceeded 2 goals in 5 minutes to surrender their lead and ultimately the trophy. In hindsight of the events of the match, Jens Lehmann became the first player to be sent off in a UEFA Champions League final. Even though Robert Pirès did not get the send off he dreamed of, Barcelona's Henrik Larrson on the other hand won the biggest competition in his last match for the club and deservedly so as he instigated a Barcelona comeback after providing assists for both the goals after coming on as a substitute. The win handed Barcelona only their 2nd UEFA Champions League win.

Match Statistics

 
Barcelona
Arsenal
Goals Scored
2
1
Total Shots
20
8
Total Shots on Target
9
5
Possession
64%
36%
Corners
3
4
Fouls Committed
20
16
Yellow Cards
2
2
Red Cards
0
1

8) Borussia Dortmund vs Juventus (1996/97)

Borussia Dortmund - 1996/97 UEFA Champions League Winners
Borussia Dortmund - 1996/97 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 1996/97 UEFA Champions League final saw the then current holders Juventus face off against German underdogs Borussia Dortmund. This was Borussia Dortmund's first ever UEFA Champions League final appearance and the 2nd time that they met Juventus in a major European final. Borussia Dortmund were looking to get the better of Juventus at thesecond time of asking, having been beaten 6-1 on aggregate by the Turin based outfit in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup final. As for Juventus, they came into this match as favourites and this was their chance to become the first team in the history of the competition to win back to back Champions League titles since the competition was re-named. For some players such as Julio César, Jürgen Kohler, Paulo Sousa and Andreas Möller, it was a familiar sight with the only difference being the jersey's they wore. The 4 of them were part of the Juventus side which beat Borussia Dortmund in that previous final and were now tasked to deliver the trophy for the Germans this time around.

Result

Borussia Dortmund exacted revenge for their 6-1 demolition at the hands of Juventus in the 1992/93 UEFA Cup final as they came out on top after a 3-1 win in front of a crowd of 60,000 people at the Olympiastadion in Munich, Germany. Borussia Dortmund managed to frustrate their opponents throughout the entire match, with Juventus' Zinedine Zidane well marked to have any impact, and hit them on the counter with 2 goals from their German striker Karl-Heinz Riedle to give them a half time lead. Juventus got back into the match through a wonderful back heel goal from Alessandro Del Piero but the hopes of a comeback faded as Dortmund substitute Lars Ricken scored with his first touch of the ball after coming on, which is said to be the fastest goal scored by a substitute. The win gave Borussia Dortmund their first and only UEFA Champions League title till date and is regarded as one of the best underdog victories of the competition.

Match Statistics

 
Borussia Dortmund
Juventus
Goals Scored
3
1
Yellow Cards
2
2
Red Cards
0
0

7) Barcelona vs Manchester United (2010/11)

Barcelona - 2010/11 UEFA Champions League Winners
Barcelona - 2010/11 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2010/11 UEFA Champions League saw Barcelona and Manchester United meet in the final for the second time in 3 seasons. The previous match between the 2 sides in the 2008/09 final of the same competition resulted in a 2-0 win for Barcelona which saw them win the competition for the 3rd time and become the first Spanish team to win the treble, stopping their rivals from becoming the first team to retain the title since the re-branding of the competition. Both teams came into the match on the back of winning their respective leagues and were also unbeaten in the competition with Barcelona having scored 27 goals in 12 games. As for United, this was their 3rd Champions League final appearance in 4 years and were hoping to win their 3rd UEFA Champions League trophy.

Result

Barcelona managed to get the better of their English opponents yet again as they ran out comfortable 3-1 winners in front of a crowd of 90,000 spectators in a packed Wembley stadium in London, England. Barcelona outplayed Manchester United for large periods of the game and dominated possession to frustrate their opponents. Pedro rightfully gave Barcelona the lead on 27 minutes when he beat United goal keeper Edwin Van Der Sar at his near post. The match looked like it could turn out to be a long 90 minutes for United but against the run of play, Rooney scored to bring united back on level terms and both sides went in at the break on level terms. In the 2nd half, Barcelona continued from where they left off. Messi scored in the 54th minute to give Barcelona the lead for the second time in the match before David Villa scored a stunning curler in the 69th minute to give Barcelona their 3rd UEFA Champions League title. Barcelona's performance in the final was of such quality that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said that this was the greatest team that he had come up against during his managing career.

Match Statistics

 
Barcelona
Manchester United
Goals Scored
3
1
Total Shots
19
4
Total Shots on Target
12
1
Possession
63%
37%
Corners
6
0
Fouls Committed
5
16
Yellow Cards
2
2
Red Cards
0
0

6) Manchester United vs Chelsea (2007/08)

Manchester United - 2007/08 UEFA Champions League Winners
Manchester United - 2007/08 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2007/08 UEFA Champions League final was the first ever all English final which saw Manchester United and Chelsea face off against one another. This was Chelsea's first ever appearance in a Champions League final while United were appearing in only their 2nd final appearance in the Champions League era. United came into the final on the back of an unbeaten European campaign which saw them score 19 goals en route to the final. Chelsea on the other hand were looking to pip United to the trophy and make sure they did not come out as second best again to United as they had in their Barclays Premier league campaign. This was also the first time that a major European final had been staged in Russia.


Result

Manchester United edged Chelsea in a penalty shootout to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy for the 2nd time in their history. The match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes with Cristiano Ronaldo opening the scoring for United in the 26th minute which was later cancelled out by Frank Lampard when he scored just before half-time. Extra time saw no goals but saw a sending off as Chelsea's Didier Drogba became the 2nd player to be sent off in a Champions League final for slapping Nemanja Vidić so the match headed to the dreaded penalty shootout. Ronaldo's miss from the spot meant that Chelsea were just one swing of the boat away from glory. Dramatically, Chelsea captain John terry missed the spot kick which led United back in the contest and they ultimately won after Nicolas Anelka's spot kick was saved by Edwin van Der Sar. The win gave United their 2nd UEFA Champions League victory at the expense of their domestic rivals.

Match Statistics

 
Manchester United
Chelsea
Goals Scored
1
1
Total Shots
12
24
Total Shots on Target
5
3
Possession
58%
42%
Corners
5
8
Fouls Committed
22
25
Yellow Cards
4
4
Red Cards
0
1
Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (AET) Manchester United won 6-5 on penalties

5) Bayern Munich vs Chelsea (2011/12)

Chelsea - 2011/12 UEFA Champions League Winners
Chelsea - 2011/12 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2011/12 UEFA Champions league final was contested by Germany's Bayern Munich and England's Chelsea which met in a major European final for the first time. It was Chelsea's 2nd appearance in the final of the competition having previously been beaten at this stage in the 2007/08 season by Manchester United. As for Bayern Munich this was their 4th appearance in the competition's final since 1992, having won it only once in the Champions League era. Chelsea were aiming to write history by winning their maiden Champions League trophy after their last disappointment in the 2007/08 final while Bayern Munich hoped to shake off the final hoodoo and win the competition with the benefit of playing it in their home stadium.

Result

Chelsea recorded their first ever UEFA Champions League triumph after beating Bayern Munich 4-3 on penalties in their own back yard and in front of more than 60,000 spectators. Bayern Munich dominated proceedings and restricted Chelsea for large parts of the game but were unable to find the net up until the 83rd minute when Thomas Müller headed home to the excitement of the Bayern fans. As soon as the match looked to have been decided, up stepped Didier Drogba to power home a header on 88 minutes to send the final into extra time. Bayern were the given the perfect opportunity to win the game when they were awarded a penalty but Arjen Robben missed the resulting spot kick to the delight of the Chelsea fans. Chelsea won the resulting penalty shootout with Drogba striking the winning penalty to send the Chelsea fans into ecstasy. This gave Chelsea their first ever Champions League win while for Bayern, it was yet another occasion when they fell at the final hurdle. This was also Drogba's last match for Chelsea and the striker was given a hero's reception for his efforts.

Match Statistics

 
Bayern Munich
Chelsea
Goals Scored
1
1
Total Shots
35
9
Total Shots on Target
7
3
Possession
56%
44%
Corners
20
1
Fouls Committed
14
26
Yellow Cards
1
4
Red Cards
0
0
Bayern Munich 1-1 Chelsea (AET) Chelsea won 4-3 on penalties

4) Olympique de Marseille vs AC Milan (1992/93)

Marseille - 1992/93 UEFA Champions League Winners
Marseille - 1992/93 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 1992/93 UEFA Champions league final saw French side Olympique de Marseille meet Italian giants AC Milan. The final turned out to be a season of firsts as this was the 1st UEFA Champions League final to be held. The French side were also appearing in their 1st ever UEFA Champions League final having also featured in the final 2 seasons before when the competition had not underwent a change of format. This was also AC Milan's 1st appearance in a final during the Champions League era. Both sides came into the final undefeated and were looking to write their names in the history books by winning their 1st ever UEFA Champions League trophy.

Result

Marseille won their 1st and only UEFA Champions League title to date by defeating AC Milan 1-0 in the final which was played at the Olympiastadion in Munich, Germany in front of almost 65,000 spectators. A goal from their centre back Basile Boli was enough to see the French side home which made history as they were the first side to win the competition after its re-structuring. With the victory, Marseille also became the first French team to win the competition, a record which is still held by them. However, this success was short lived as Marseille's off field problems saw them stripped of their Ligue 1 title and demoted to Ligue 2 due to match fixing allegations which blemished what had otherwise been a memorable season for the club's players and fans.

Match Statistics

 
Marseille
AC Milan
Goals Scored
1
0
Yellow Cards
3
1
Red Cards
0
0

3) Bayer Leverkusen vs Real Madrid (2001/02)

Real Madrid - 2001/02 UEFA Champions League Winners
Real Madrid - 2001/02 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-up to the Match

The 2001/02 UEFA Champions league final was played between Spanish side Real Madrid and German outfit Bayer Leverkusen. This was Bayer Leverkusen's 1st ever appearance in a Champions League final and is their only one till date. Bayer came into the match on a fantastic run of form which saw them finish runners up in both their domestic season and the DFB Pokal to Borussia Dortmund and Schalke respectively. Bayer were looking to win Europe's biggest prize and make sure they did not finish 2nd best again with only Real Madrid standing in their way. As for Real Madrid, this was their 3rd UEFA Champions league final appearance, having won the previous 2 finals. Madrid came into this match on the back of winning the 2001/02 Copa Del Rey and were the favourites to lift the trophy.


Result

Real Madrid defeated Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland to lift their 3rd UEFA Champions League trophy in front of more than 50,000 people. Bayer Leverkusen were the better team during the course of the entire match as they created more opportunities than their rivals but Real managed to display their class and carve out a victory. Real Madrid took their chances in the first half with Raúl opening the scoring on 8 minutes. The German's equalized within minutes through defender Lúcio's header but what came next was simply stunning. Zidane scored one of the best goals in the history of the competition as he struck a spectacular left footed volley from the edge of the box which flew into the top corner to give Real the lead going into the break. Madrid managed to hold back their opponents in the 2nd half to eventually come out as winners. That was Madrid's last Champions League trophy till date and will be remembered as a game which saw one of the greatest players score one of the best goals in history. As for Leverkusen, they had to settle for 2nd best again.

Match Statistics

 
Bayer Leverkusen
Real Madrid
Goals Scored
1
2
Total Shots
13
7
Total Shots on Target
6
4
Possession
52%
48%
Corners
6
0
Fouls Committed
17
31
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0

2) Manchester United vs Bayern Munich (1998/99)

Manchester United - 1998/99 UEFA Champions League Winners
Manchester United - 1998/99 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 1998/99 UEFA Champions League final was played between Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Both the clubs came into the final at the back of winning their domestic league titles while for United, they had the opportunity to the treble for the first time in their history. United and Bayern were meeting for the 3rd time in the competition, with the previous 2 matches resulting in draws when they met in the group stages of the competition. United also came into the final having been undefeated in Europe. This was also Peter Schmeichel's last match in a United shirt, who was also their captain in the absence of Roy Keane who was suspended.

Result

Manchester United defeated Bayern Munich 2-1 in a packed Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain in one of the most dramatic finals in the history of the competition. Bayern Munich scored the opening goal in the 6th minute through a free kick from Mario Basler. The rest of the match saw plenty of chances for both sides but no one could force an opening. United forced Kahn into a number of saves while Bayern struck the frame of the United goal twice. As soon as the Bayern fans thought their team had won, up stepped substitutes Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The former scored a scrappy goal from a corner in the 1st minute of stoppage time and just when it looked like the match would head into stoppage time, up stepped Ole Gunnar Solskjær to net the winner in the final minute of stoppage time to break Bayern hearts. United snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to record their first ever UEFA Champions League triumph as well as winning the treble for the first time. As for the Bayern Munich players, they were completely overwhelmed as to what they had witnessed. Proof that a football match is never over till the final whistle is blown.

Match Statistics

 
Manchester United
Bayern Munich
Goals Scored
2
1
Yellow Cards
0
1
Red Cards
0
0

And the best final to have been played till date in the entire history of the UEFA Champions League is...

1) AC Milan vs Liverpool (2004/05)

Liverpool - 2004/05 UEFA Champions League Winners
Liverpool - 2004/05 UEFA Champions League Winners

Build-Up to the Match

The 2004/05 UEFA Champions league final saw English side Liverpool meet AC Milan meet for the first time in a competitive fixture. This was Liverpool's 1st appearance in a Champions League final since the new format was introduced while AC Milan were appearing in their 5th final. Both teams had lost 2 matches on the way to the final with the favourites Milan looking to win their 3rd Champions League title

Result

Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties in the most dramatic fashion at the Atatürk Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey to surprise the 69,000 people in attendance and lift their 1st UEFA Champions League trophy. Liverpool got off to the worst possible start as Paolo Maldini scored the fastest goal in a Champions League final clocked at 52 seconds. Liverpool tried to get back into the game but were hit on the counter twice with Hernan Crespo ensuring Milan went into the break 3-0 up. Most might have though that the match was over with no way back for Liverpool but one should remember that a football match is never over till the final whistle is blown. Liverpool dramatically scored 3 goals in the space of only 6 minutes to bring the match level at 3-3. The rest of the match so no goals with the match going to penalties. Jerzy Dudek was the hero of the shootout as he saved 2 penalties which saw Liverpool win one the Champions League and record one of the greatest comebacks.

Match Statistics

 
AC Milan
Liverpool
Goals Scored
3
3
Total Shots
22
15
Total Shots on Target
10
7
Possession
55%
45%
Corners
10
4
Fouls Committed
16
23
Yellow Cards
0
2
Red Cards
0
0
AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (AET) Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties

Which was the most memorable UEFA Champions League final in your opinion?

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© 2014 Muzzammil Maniar

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    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 2 years ago from England

      Its hard for me to not to think 1999 as a Man united fan, what a fond fond memory from my childhood

      Surprising you put your club allegiance aside to chose 2005, just shows what a great final that was for the spectator, everyone loves a comeback and an underdog eh :D

      Nice hub, shared

    • muzzster profile image
      Author

      Muzzammil Maniar 2 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

      @CCahill

      It was hard not to choose the 1999 final as the best for obvious reasons but the 2005 final was in my opinion the best one. It was the most emotional final ever which sent chills down my spine and it still does today. Thank you for the share :-)

    • Daniel Avedon profile image

      Musembi Daniel Nduva 2 years ago from Texas

      Wow. A very nice hub. Here is Juventus:http://hubpages.com/sports/Foot-ball-A-profile-of-...

    • john 9 months ago

      Mu vs chelsea

    • Zaid931 7 months ago

      Definitely Arsenal vs Barcelona. I am still sad we lost.

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