UEFA Champions League 2017/2018 can be said to be the best in this decade. The expectations and dramatic twists in the champions league final will be remembered by most of the football fans as they look forward to the next season.
Who qualifies for UEFA Champions League?
Just like the title UEFA champions league states, the match includes champions from the best and competitive leagues in Europe. Football is the most popular game in Europe hence why media concentrates with the European countries who have great clubs.This means that countries with the best leagues get slots to play in UEFA after the draw and starts from the group stages. This time round it was not any different with most of the group stages being with giant teams which made it more competitive and thrilling. To make it to the UEFA cut therefore most teams in this championship needed to have performed in the top positions. This is for the winners of the leagues, first runners up, second runners up and in some instances like English Premier League and La Liga they get 4 slots.
When did UEFA 2017/2018 begin?
UEFA Champions League first games of the season begun on 12th September 2017 and has been eliminating teams through the group stages, last 16 (commonly known as knockout stage), quarter finals, semifinals and now it is almost time to know who the winner of the UEFA Champions 2018. Real Madrid who are in the finals and at the moment are the defending champions and according to many football sources and fans across especially in Madrid are strongly behind the team. It is interesting to note that Liverpool which has also made it to the finals a number of times and won it 3 times has strong energetic supporters. We intend to fill you in with what the UEFA journey has been like since the group
The Champions League results
The teams in the Champions league on 12th September 2017 were 36 and were placed in 9 groups hence the name group stages. The 4 teams in each group played six times which included the away and home fixtures. The teams were placed from group A to H through a random draw that was over seen by selected FIFA officials before the beginning of the league.
Football fans had so much to look forward to from the group stages because some groups like Group H had powerful teams : Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur ( English Premier League) and Borussia Dortmund (Germany) and Group C also had big names: Roma, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Once the heated group stages were over and the league was in the last 16 stage the teams that had come third in each group were promoted to the Europa League which normally has the teams in positions 5 and 6 and sometimes 4 depending with the league and its weight.
The last 16 or rather the knock out was filled with drama and shock as expected with teams like Napoli, Celtic, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid moving to the Europa League. Football faithful were also impressed because this campaign had 5 teams from English Premier League: Manchester City, Manchester United (who had qualified for UEFA having won the Europa League the previous season), Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham. This was amazing because the Premier League teams have been knocked out in the group stages a lot of times. The English giants all finished top of their tables apart from Chelsea who were second placed in group C with the powerful Roma that caused many problems for all the teams they came across but ended up losing to Liverpool FC.
The Champions league 2017/2018 campaign draw for the quarter finals was done on 11th December 2017 in Switzerland. The draw tries to ensure that teams from the same nations do not have a fixture together and here is how the draw was like:
Man City and Basel
The teams played the home and away fixtures which resulted to Man City proceeding on aggregate 5-2. Man City were actually favorites in this year’s champions league however their dreams were crashed by the stunning Liverpool in the Quarter finals where they were thrashed on aggregate 5-1. This was a big disappointment to City who had been impressive and confident, but this being football no one is ever sure.
Tottenhum and Juventus
Mauricio’s side was knocked out by the Italian side from the entertaining fixtures which ended with 1-2 goals from both the away and home grounds. Juventus proceeded to the quarter finals where they faced the defending champions league winners Real Madrid but lost 4-3 goals. This match will however last in most football enthusiasts more because of the drama that ensued after the Juventus legendary goal keeper received a red card from the referee on injury time which made Cristiano Ronaldo get an easy time scoring the penalty. This decision made by the referee ( Michael Oliver) who was in charge of the game then become a topic of discussion amongst football pundits and fans. Most of the fans wanted the legendary goal keeper to win the UEFA with Juventus but sorry guys it did not go that way.
Manchester United and Sevilla
Most football fans tease Manchester United fans and regard them as the loudest fans. Things did not turn out as expected since Sevilla beat Manchester United at Old Trafford leaving many frustrated and cursing out the players for a dismal performance. Manchester United being one of the best teams not only in Europe but in the world under estimated Sevilla the Spanish side thinking that it would be a total walk over for them which did not turn out to be the case. They ended up losing to Sevilla on 1-2. Their first fixture which was on Sevilla’s home ground ended in 1-1 draw and in the second fixture Sevilla scored leaving Manchester. The jubilations, cheers from the underestimated club were all over O.T Stadium summing it up as a beautiful night for them as their counterparts remained in shock, anger and disbelief. Those who had confidently placed tones of cash on Manchester United had a long night after losing the money whereas the betting sites had a good night.
Sevilla proceeded to the quarter final stages where they lost to powerful Germany side Bayern Munich 2-1 on aggregate. This match was heated up because in one fixture the teams ended with no goals and a red card was involved in one of the matches. According to many football fans and pundits the odds for Bayern proceeding to semifinals were much higher than Sevilla however much this champions league taught most people that in football anyone can win.
Barcelona and Chelsea
The strong English side met with mighty Barcelona in the knockout stages and they were totally knocked out by Barcelona on 4-1 aggregate. However Chelsea had a good game and fought till the last minute regardless of Lionel Messi showing Chelsea’s Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois no mercy.
Barcelona faced the underrated Roma in the quarter finals. In the first fixture Barcelona who were also favorites to winning the trophy got 4 goals against 1 from Roma. Disaster for Barcelona came in during the away fixture where Roma scored 3 goals and Barcelona did not get any score on that night. This came as a shock not only to the fans and pundits but also Barcelona were really disappointed. The morale, energy of how Roma scored the goals was epic. The Italian side won on away goals. Away goal policy has always worked in favor of some teams and not in favor for some and this time the away policy was not kind to Barcelona.
Beskitas and Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich had an easier time dealing with Beskitas since they had more control in the field and much more striking abilities. On aggregate the goals ended as 1-8 making Bayern proceed directly to the quarter finals where the team played against Sevilla and knocked them out in that stage. After the semifinal draw was done Bayern faced Real Madrid however they came out as the weaker team which left them to losing in that stage on 4-3 goals.
Liverpool and Porto
Liverpool gave a convincing and sound win in their first encounter with the Portugal side of 5-0. The second fixture Porto tied them to a 0-0 draw which either way made the Portugal side leaving the UEFA. According to most football enthusiasts this season Liverpool has been fantastic and currently have the most goals in this competition thanks to their team work and manager Jurgen Klopp. Salah, their main striker according to many is the goal machine that has propelled the team this far.
In the quarter finals the team faced English side Manchester City under Pep Guardiola who has won the trophy a couple of times with the teams he has managed. The team however surpassed many people's expectations and had another convincing win both at Etihad and Anfield. The goals on aggregate were 1-5. Machester City fans and their manager did not understand what transpired in the field because it was a huge shock. The good thing however for Manchester City is that they won 2017/2018 Premier League title since it was Pep Guardiola second season in coaching the team.
Liverpool team was drawn to Roma however things were not easy especially in the second fixture where Roma won 4-2 goals but lost on aggregate goals which ended 6-7 goals. This match was really interesting to have watched.
That being the Champions League ‘journey’ so to say football fanatics are eagerly waiting for the UEFA champions league in Kyiv. The two outstanding and smart teams will have the final show later on this month. The fixture which will be between English side Liverpool and Spanish Real Madrid will have a hard time because both teams have the tactical skills and visionary coaches Jurgen Klopp and Zinedin Zidane.
With the current break that is meant for players to finish with their league games and prepare with the final match some of the latest champions league news are:
- This year’s UEFA Champions league final will have more people than has ever been present during the match. Liverpool like we had said earlier is one of the oldest European giants with very passionate and supportive fans who do not mind taking the extra costs of getting to Kyiv to watch the game. On the other hand Real Madrid have been in the champions league twice in the last 3 years where they ended up as the winners. This has definitely promted the fans to acquire tickets and accommodation arrangements have been done because they are convinced they will win the league based on their past.
- The fans set to travel for this final have been provided with a travel guide that will ensure that they get to the stadium at the scheduled time.
- In ever final game of champions league there is always entertainment and this time round the beautiful DuaLipa will grace the event with her hit songs probably to try reduce the tension that normally surrounds final games. The 22 year old is excited for this rare opportunity accorded to her and will definitely make the most out of this.
- Milorad Mazic has been chosen to oversee the game which will be held in NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium. The Serbian has much experienced having been in the international football teams for a long time, he’s 45 years and that is quite a long time in the football industry.
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More interesting and exciting news will be surfacing as the days to the finals get closer. For now let us have a look at these two clubs that have made to the finals.
The English premier League side can be said to be in one of their best forms ever in a while now. Liverpool at the moment has been having a very good attacking combination with Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and the highly praised and talented Mohammed Salah. The team is has the most goals in the champions league against all the other teams this season. They however have a small issue with their defense which will have to be worked otherwise the champions league could remain with the defending champions. Liverpool has been conceding many goals which has cost them a number of times.
Jurgen Klopp has a huge task not only in choosing a strong team he also needs to conduct motivating activities that the players will enjoy as they train. England is totally behind Liverpool since they would want the trophy on their side which has been dominated by Spain through Real Madrid in the last five years. Chelsea were the last English team to have won the champions League in 2011/2012 under the powerful Di Matteo against Bayern Munich in their home grounds Allianz Arena.
The club which is currently and the most powerful is yet again in the UEFA champions league final. The great footballers who have great tactical skills and of course best players with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos, Brazilian Marcelo, Karim Benzema have been in the champions league for a record of 4 times more than any other team in this decade. This season Real Madrid have not been in their best form and it will therefore be interesting to see how they will play because they are lucky to be in the finals this time round. Zinedine Zidan has an uphill task of reminding the defending champion league winners who they are in the field and in the eyes of the football world.
Who will be the Champion league winners?
It is tricky to say which side will be going with the trophy in this year’s champions league. Most of the recognized betting companies odds are also tight with most of them giving Real Madrid (2.20) Liverpool (3.00) and a draw between the team in the 90 minutes of game time having (3.60). Real Madrid’s odds being higher can be because they are the defending champions or because they are just always lucky in this kind of games.
What’s your say? What’s your favorite of the two teams? We will leave you at that as we all look forward to the great champions league final in Kyiv at 7:45p.m local time ( Ghana) where the old teams will be meeting after a very long time. It will be interesting and catchy! Watch out for the Egyptian sensational Mohammed Salah. As Africans the more reason we should be behind Salah and Mane these guys are making Africa as a whole proud.
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