Champions League finals history
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The UEFA Champions League was first held under its current moniker in the 1992-93 season and was won by French outfit Marseille.
Defending champions Barcelona, who were attempting to defend the European Cup with Cruyff’s vision of ‘Total football’, were eliminated by CSKA Moscow early in the new format competition. Marseille racked up 25 goals on the way to their maiden European success, although allegations of match fixing domestically tainted their progression in the tournament and the final (as they were able to rest players as the domestic title was already).
In the 1993-94 season Barcelona again reached the final, but were outclassed by one of the greatest sides ever to feature in Europe. Fabio Capello moulded a side containing Maldini, Costacurta, Baresi and Desailly into a fearsome defence and the Italian manager was blessed with the flair of Marco van Basten, Laudrup, Donadoni and Papin up front.
Louis van Gaal and his Ajax production line claimed the 1995 Champions League as they scored an 85th minute winner to deny AC Milan. Ajax boasted young stars such as Edwin van der Sar, Reiziger, Seedorf, Davids, Kanu and the goal-scorer Patrick Kluivert.
The 1995-96 final was contested by Ajax, for the second year running, but they lost out on penalties to Juventus managed by Marcello Lippi. Current Juventus manager, Antonio Conte, was part of the side which also included a young Alessandro Del Piero, who top-scored with six for the Old Lady.
Omar Hitzfeld claimed his first Champions League win in 1997 with Borrussia Dortmund, as they surprised everyone to upset the expensively assembled Juventus team. Paul Lambert kept Zidane quiet in the midfield to win his and Dortmund’s only Champions League, which took place in the Olympiastadion in Munich.
Real Madrid won their first European title for 32 years in 1998, under Jupp Heynckes, and promptly repaid their manager by sacking him that summer! Madrid spent big to reach the final and they overcame Juventus in the final again, with Mijatović scoring a 61 minute winner.
Sir Alex Ferguson completed a famous turnaround in the 1999 Champions League final, with Teddy Sheringham and a late Ole Gunner Solskjaer strike wrote their names in United folklore. Bayern Munich were 1-0 up inside 90 minutes before failing to deal with two David Beckham corners in stoppage time. The result at the Camp Nou, all the more impressive because of the absence of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes, completed their treble winning season.
The 2000 Champions League final was an all Spain affair as Real Madrid dominated a one sided match against Valencia. Steve McManaman won his first Champions League and scored a superb second on the volley for Vicent Del Bosque’s side.
Valencia reached a second successive Champions League final in 2001-02 but their strong squad was undone by Bayern Munich on penalties 5-4. A Bayern side boasting only three German players overcame the flair of a south American influenced Valencia side; Pablo Aimar, Kily Gonzalez, Roberto Ayala and Mauricio Pellegrino all started under manager Hector Cuper.
Del Bosque won his second Champions League with Real Madrid in 2002 and like one of his predecessors, Jupp Heynckes, was soon after dismissed by the Spanish giants. The Hampden Park final is best remembered for the left foot volley from Zinedine Zidane that proved to be the match winner, as Real beat Bayern Leverkusen 2-1.
The 2002-03 final was contested by the Italian sides, Juventus and Milan at Old Trafford. Finishing 0-0 after 120 minutes the match was eventually decided on penalties in favour of Milan, inspired by Andriy Shevchenko, to give Carlo Ancelotti his first Champions League win as a manager.
2004 was the year in which Jose Mourinho fully announced his name on a global stage. After winning the UEFA Cup in 2003, his Porto side went one better knocking out Man United en route to the final, where they comfortably beat Monaco 3-0. The Porto win must rank as one of the biggest shocks in Champions League history, with Mourinho leaving that summer to build a new team at Chelsea.
The 2004-05 final was one of the most dramatic in the competitions history. Milan took a deserved 3-0 lead in at half-time before Liverpool staged an incredible comeback, scoring three in seven minutes to level the match before Jerzey Dudek and his wobbly legs won it on penalties for Liverpool.
There was an English representative in the 2006 final as Arsenal made it to the Stade de France to face favourites Barcelona. Jens Lehmann was sent off after 18 minutes but Sol Campbell struck in the first half. Arsenal hung on with ten men but an equaliser from Samuel Eto’o and a late winner for Belletti in the 81st minute won the tie for Frank Rijkaard’s team.
The 2006-07 Champions League final was a repeat of 2005 with Milan facing off against their conquerors from Istanbul. Milan gained a small measure of revenge, with Flippo Inzaghi making the difference with two goals in Athens. Dirk Kuyt netted a late consolation for Liverpool, but Carlo Ancelotti claimed his second Champions League.
An all English affair in 2008, saw Chelsea come a John Terry slip away from winning their first ever Champions League final. Ronaldo scored during normal time before missing in the shoot-out, but it was Nicholas Anelka who missed the decisive penalty to hand Sir Alex his second European triumph.
Manchester United made the final in 2009, but were comprehensively outplayed by Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, who tweaked the Catalans philosophy so effectively. Xavi and Messi pulled the strings, with the Argentinean saving a collector’s item, scoring with a header, for the final in Rome.
Jose Mourinho claimed his second Champions League medal in 2010 after taking un-fancied Inter all the way to glory. Built upon the solid defensive pairing of Walter Samuel and Lucio, with Wesley Snjeider dovetailing perfectly with Diego Milito, Internazionale eliminated Barcelona before easing to a 2-0 win over Bayern in the final.
The 2011 final was contested at Wembley between the 2009 finalists, Manchester United and Barcelona, with Barca easing to a 3-1 victory. United were well beaten by Guardiola’s side, with many pundits declaring the then crop of Barcelona players as the greatest club team ever assembled. Seven of Barcelona’s starting XI graduated from the la Masia academy.
Roberto Di Matteo finally delivered the Champions League for Chelsea in 2012, beating Bayern Munich on penalties in their own stadium. Chelsea rode their luck en route to the final, edging past Napoli and Barcelona before seeing off Bayern in the Allianz Arena. Didier Drogba scored the winning penalty, in what proved to be his last ever touch at the club.
Champions League Final 2012 – Bayern Munich v Chelsea