We’re in the thick of the Champions League competition for another season, and it’s proving to be as fascinating as ever. Bayern Munich beat Tottenham Hotspur 7-2 and Liverpool just scraped a 4-3 result against Red Bull Leipzig – it’s certainly not been plain sailing for the 2018/19 finalists. The next fixtures are coming up quickly and are sure to be filled with more excitement.
This year, according to William Hill, Man City are favourites to win the whole competition at 3/1 – but who are the most successful Champions League clubs from the competition’s inception in 1955 to the present day? As this year’s heavyweights prepare to flex their muscles on a continental stage, here’s the fab five that they’re all out to emulate.
1. Real Madrid
By far the most successful Champions League club, Real Madrid have won a staggering 13 titles. Los Blancos actually won the first ever European competition in 1955 and the following four – so the first five years the trophy went home to Spain with Real Madrid. No club has managed to surpass that record since – a testament to Real Madrid’s strength.
2. AC Milan
Winning their first title in 1963, AC Milan have won this prestigious European competition seven times. They last won in 2007, when they beat Liverpool 2-1 in the final and were victorious in consecutive seasons in 1989 and 1990 where they beat Steaua Bucureşti and Benfica 4-0 and 1-0 respectively. Their city rivals Inter Milan have won three titles in their history, so have a lot of ground to make up to catch them up. That’ll be some comfort despite the current challenges facing the rossoneri.
3. Liverpool FC
The third most successful club in Champions League history is Liverpool FC with six titles. The Reds first won in 1977 and followed that up with a consecutive title 1978. They’re the most successful club from the UK in Europe, followed by Manchester United with three titles and Nottingham Forest with two. Celtic, Chelsea and Aston Villa all have one each. Liverpool are the current reigning champions – despite their first group round loss to Napoli, can they take a successive title again?
4. Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich first won the European championship back in 1974, where they began a run of titles to almost rival Real Madrid. They won three consecutive championships from 1974 to 1976. The Bundesliga champions have won the title five times having taken the accolade in 2001 and 2013.
Closely following Bayern Munich’s record of five titles is Ajax with four of their own. Before Munich’s three season run came Ajax’s three years of European titles in ’71, ’72 and ’73. Their most recent Champions League title was in 1995 when they beat AC Milan 1-0 in the final.
The other European clubs that have won more than one title who haven’t already been mentioned are Juventus, Benfica and Porto with two titles each. Who are your form teams this season? The odds are stacked in favour of Manchester City, Barcelona and Liverpool – can The Reds have another consecutive run or will we have new champions of Europe? City need to make their own history if they’re to catchup with the biggest European giants.