With just 8 goals conceded in 18 La Liga matches this season, Atletico Madrid have conceded the least goals of any team in the ‘big 5’ European leagues this season. They are at the top of the table however unlike their La Liga title rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, and the other single-figure conceding teams in Europe this season, PSG and Bayern, Atletico don’t compete to break transfer records every summer. They’ve spent a net ÂŁ12million in transfers over the last four seasons.
A final played between two historicÂ clubs in theÂ Ernst-Happel-Stadion (named after the great innovator and coach) in Vienna, Austria. Both Louis Van Gaal and Fabio Capello were young coaches 20 years (!) ago at the time of this final. Neither team had any trouble reaching the final, as Ajax beat Hajduk Split 3-0 and Bayern Munich 5-2 – and AC Milan beat Benifica 2-0 and PSG 3-0 to reach Europe’s biggest stage. Though both teams were dominant on their road to the final, neither team played well enough to create more than a few chances – which resulted in the only goal coming in the 85th minute.
“The Special One” met his former mentor from their days in Barcelona on Europe’s biggest stage. Inter Milan had just come off of a legendary performance against Guardiola’s FC Barcelona, winning 3-2 on aggregateÂ with only 10 men on the pitch. Van Gaal’s Bayern defeated Lyon 4-0 in the other semi-final (and got to that point by defeating both Fiorentina and Manchester United 4-4 on away goals).
The all English final. All of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and United were actually in this seasonâ€™s Champions League quarter-final â€“ an impressive showing for English football. Manchester United were able to narrowly beat a struggling Barcelona with Ronaldinho on his way out, and Chelsea were able to defeat Liverpool in extra time to reach this final. It was a great game which was dictated by Manchester Unitedâ€™s quick possession and combination play.
This is easily one of the most memorable Champions League matches of Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson. United leave this Champions League quarter-final tie with one of the most dominant score lines in the history of the competition. In the first leg of this quarter-final Roma had won 2-1 at home so it was up to United to come out and attack to survive â€“ and thatâ€™s exactly what they did.
Pep Guardiola vs. Sir Alex Ferguson in the Champions League final. Two of the best coaches in the history of the game (and two of my personal favorites) meet on the biggest stage in European club football. Ferguson called this the best team he has ever faced â€“ and with good reason â€“ as Guardiolaâ€™s Barcelona was near its peak and their focus on controlling the center while maintaining the ball was too much for the Red Devils.
Chelsea looked like a different team to that who have been playing in the Premier League recently and put in a solid performance against a Porto side that were far below their usual standards.
Barcelona came into this Champions League fixture off the back of one of the club’s most memorable performances in the modern era. Could they repeat the magnificent display they provided at the Bernabeu?
Blanc and PSG showed why they are underrated with a good performance away to the European giant Real Madrid. Los BlancosÂ displayed some worrying qualities on defense while PSG seems to have improved their possession game since the previous season. PSG had some problems in defense as well, but their use of the ball resulted in a match where they were very unlucky to lose 1:0.
Bayern were issued their first loss of the season to an impressive Arsenal defence. Guardiola’s team were the cause of the majority of their issues with a possession game which lacked intensity and failed to have a good enough level of penetration as they dominated the passing stats but failed to convert them into chances.